I Fell in Love, by Arnold Dates

Who could have known in just two days a seventeen year old boy could form an unbreakable love with a seventy-six year old woman? The love I have experienced is of a supernatural one that floods from a well that ceases to dry. By well… I mean Victorina Maria from the village of El Junquillo, El Salvador.

It pains my heart to know that I will never see her again, but her impact on my life is one that will be cherished for eternity. Each morning Victorina wakes me and my bunkmate Osman up by gently rocking our hammocks and simply whispering in the softest voice, “Levantanse, Levantanse” (Wake up, Wake up). In the afternoon she dances with me barefoot on her dirt floors as Latin music plays to tunes that only she understands. In the night, she makes it her priority to help us into our hammocks so we get a good night’s rest. Her acts of kindness only help to justify her as the sweetest person I have ever encountered in my life.

Her patience is unmatchable as she showers me with questions in Spanish only to get the response from me, “si”, over and over again. Her generosity is unrelenting as she wakes up from her sleep at two a.m. to hold a flashlight that illuminates my path to the outhouse, to make sure I have made it there okay.

Her smile… Her toothless smile brings forth tears to my eyes as a warm surge of chills hits me to the bone. I can only reminisce of her tender presence, but I can vividly picture images of her smiling that make my stomach churn as I smile a smile of endearment.

Late at night she told me that I was one of her own children now, and she would miss me more than words could describe. Upon hearing this I turned my head and grunted as I tried to hide the warm tears that now had stained my face. I hugged her for a minute and laid my head to rest knowing I had to break up with the love of my life in the morning.

Writing this is nearly impossible as my heart longs for her and there is nothing I can do to fulfill my hearts desires. The love she gave me is one that settles in my heart, breathing, as I journey through life trying to find this unparalleled love again.

5 thoughts on “I Fell in Love, by Arnold Dates

  1. Arnold,
    Amazing to know the feeling that a once stranger would sacrifice all things to make sure you were cared for. That’s why Victorina is Christ in your midst. And now, you love her in that same way. You are living the most powerful yet simple theology.
    Thank you for the joy of your reflection.

  2. Wow Arnold! Your words are heartfelt, articulate and everlasting. Not only were you blessed to have met her, she was as well. If only everyone could experience what you both have. I’m proud to know my son is blessed to have you as a dear friend.

  3. Arnold,

    I have not met you but my name is Matthew Zacher ‘18. I just want to say that your post made me feel El Salvador all over again. I met an older woman named Santi and she stood above the rest as a model of love. Your words are beautifully crafted and reflect genuine encounter. Thank you for sharing.

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