Valentine’s Day

Z came over after between jobs. He brought me a flowering plant, which was a perfect gift. I love houseplants, but I’m too far cheap and austere to buy them myself.

Neither Z nor I have money for dinners out or anything like that, so we just went for a long walk, hand in hand. It was a bright, cold afternoon with a clear blue sky. We walked to an empty playground and sat on the swings. Z said it reminded him of his childhood.

“What will people say if they see us?” he asked me.

“They’ll say, ‘my what a tall, swarthy child that is’,” I replied, and Z giggled.

We lingered in the park for a long time, talking and crunching the ice under our shoes as we sat on the tire swing together. As the sun began to set, we headed to a local coffee shop and ran into the refugee resettlement crowd. For an hour or more, we discussed the usual things; the sorry electricity situation in Baghdad, the Roma Decade, human rights distance degree programs, treatment of national staff by UNHCR and IOM, fundraising for the office, preparations for World Refugee Day…

As Z and I walked back to my place, I thought about how much of the world and how much history our little, young group has collectively seen, and how much more we all have yet ahead of us.

Every step I take, I can feel the pull of the tide, of bigger but still unknown things.

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