Highs and lows [part I]
It began babbling over pebbles & acting more like a creek. Further along, the pace picked up. For the first time, little rapids formed and I heard its flow. Up ahead, Gammiel zig-zagged closer to a precipice 40 feet high. From our vantage, the lengthy swimming hole came into view. As I neared the edge, I also noted the massive, gray boulders with scars cut into their faces. Now the “stagnant pool of water” surged on its course.
I put my faith in the 23-year-old Puerto Rican & grabbed his hand. Although we moved in alternating baby steps and my tennis shoes skidded every inch of the way, we safely arrived at the first stone terrace. We each peeled off our equipment and another top layer of clothing. With the calming cadence of the cascade in the background, our spot really was perfect for digging into our almuerzo and bird-spotting.
I respected Gammiel’s integrity, understood his frustration with el gobermiento a.k.a. the government, and related my most aggravating stories about the system. Gammiel was not surprised. In fact, he told me the stories only affirmed his disgust for el gobermiento. This conversation streamed into Gammiel inquiring about the black box attached to me that resembled a pager – a question I am frequently asked. I lectured Gammiel with the same spiel I gave everyone because it was watered down & -- in my 15 years a type one diabetic -- the script was committed to memory. Basically, during my freshman year of high school, my white blood cells decided to mutinously attack my body. I blacked out & awoke in the Intensive Care Unit, where I remained for a week. The first three days in the hospital were the longest I have ever survived without food or water (not even ice chips). My life had forever changed. Every minute of every day I now needed synthetic insulin since my pancreas was defunct.