Lavender Orchids For The Queen of Light
was born without sight in San Paolo. My dear parents went to God shortly thereafter from the tainted water in the street. I lived in a box of a house in the Thieves’ Ghetto. I had to beg for food or visit the garbage heap as a last resort. I always thought I could see shadows and light but probably not. The darkness was bad for the child and the adult as they had to lead me through the barrio to the piles of garbage that we ate. I had many illnesses and called for God to please take me home to Mama.
On a day of darkness as the carrion feeders circled, a smell of lavender wafted by my stoop. A voice like silk said to me, child, take a walk with me. The voice sounded soothing and trusting. She took my filthy hand in hers and the lavender began to overtake my stench. She walked me across the city to the houses with gates. I heard them open and we walked in like we owned the place. She did. Once inside she poured me some hibiscus tea with honey. It was so delicious and clean, and everything seemed fresh and smooth. I heard the maid say, the dueña is loco again. She took me up the stairway and called for a bath. The young maid drew a bath of lavender leaves and other herbs and almost scrubbed my skin off. My hair was cut and shampooed and my clothing burned.
The lavender lady then took me to the basement where she walked me into a room of death, or so it seemed. It smelled of the garbage heap, and I must have passed by many dying and dead. She guided me to a table, bade me to lie down and put the ether to my nose. I fell into a dream where I could see all of life, but it was uncanny, I had never seen before and all things weren't as in the mortal world. She rubbed my eyeballs with a liquid that burned like hot pokers and her men held me down on the table. She then plucked my eyes from my head. With a speculum she held my lids open and placed new orbs in my sockets and tightly bandaged my eyes.
I prayed for my life. The pain was immense but every night she sat with me and talked until I slept. She told me of the Sultans in Turkey, their jewels and their opulence, and how the beauty of the earth outside the slums was so gorgeous. Every night the lavender lady told me she was coming. One day she unwrapped the cloth and rubbed more of the ointment on my eyeballs and miraculously the light began to shine through. Suddenly figures appeared and I could make out objects in the room. And the lavender wafted about as if it was in my eyes or someone’s eyes nearby. Through the next month she showed me how to walk properly and use instruments to get things done, such as eating and cleaning myself.
She always looked at me with what I felt was immense love and as she healed me, I began to feel the depth of her caring in my heart. I always wondered why she chose me. One day she told me to sit. She said, Pablito, you have the eyes of my son and you were the first urchin we saw, there was no surveillance. You will now become my son and all this will be yours one day.
I flew from the house shedding the fine shoes, blouse and belt and ran back to the ghetto, where my nose led me and I ate my fill. I never wished to be pitied.
copyright by Michael (Miguel) Forbus