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Evelina

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FrogAbroad

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She stands tall and fair and impossible to overlook in the Managua airport’s duty free shop.  Her ash-blond hair and heaven-blue eyes cause more than one head to glance a second, a third time in her direction.  Her name is Evelina.  She’s 18 and Nicaraguan, but bears only latent genes from her tropics-born mother.  Instead her features carry the memory of her East German father, long-returned to his homeland.  Perhaps her delicate cheek bones and milky complexion are the only memories her mother has of her lover, one of hundreds of military advisors whose tour of duty brought them to this hot and dusty outpost.  Evelina is a woman-child born of a brief union between a soldier chilled by loneliness and a woman burning with a desire to escape a nation destroyed by war and political intrigue.  Her hair is pulled back and fastened with a black bow, exposing her ears and throat, emphasizing her whiteness next to her light bronze coworkers.  She is tall and slim, nearly a head taller than her Latin companions, an especially beautiful flower standing a bit more lovely than the others in their little garden.  Evelina sells watches and perfumes and T-shirts and American liquors to departing international travelers.  I sit observing her from the chairs in front of her shop.  I see her watch the departing passengers standing in line to board their plane.  I wonder how much of her heart leaves with them.  Does it seek someone like herself?  Does it seek a country where she does not stand out so emphatically as being different?  She shares a joke with Marvina, their laughter mingling on its way to where I sit.  Marvina’s laughter is like thick, sweet honey, Evelina’s like water bubbling from a cold spring.  Even as her lips grace her admirers with a smile, there is a distant look in her eyes.  How cold is the loneliness of her own heart every time she looks in the mirror and thinks of a father she never saw?  What are the passions that burn within as she works in a menial job, earning barely enough to pay her tuition as she seeks to escape the same desperation that entrapped her mother?  I feel drawn to her, to ask her these questions, to listen to her open her heart.  But...no…for now I hear my flight called.  I rise from my watching-place and cast a final glance her way.  Good-bye, fair Evelina.  May you someday follow your heart to find whatever it is you seek.

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