Reub's journey

22 November 2009

Dark moons

Today I sorted through a 2-week old bouquet of flowers and picked one out that had a brown center. Holding it, I was reminded of my own brown-dotted fingernails, the last remnant of the henna painted on my right hand one stifling hot August evening in rural Niger. There hasn't been a week gone by when somebody hasn't asked about the dots on my fingernails. They wonder if I have done this with nail polish to signify something, or if possibly I am following some new trend. No, and no.

The dots were painted at the very base of each fingernail, like small dark moons, by an ebony-skinned teen-aged girl in Jessica's Peace Corps village. They were an afterthought to the rest of the elaborate henna swirling around my hand and wrist, but they turned out to be my favorite part of it. As time goes by the moons have risen up. Eventually they will reach the top and I will have to clip them off. I imagine that they will reach that point in mid-December, exactly when Jessica comes home; they are kind of like an advent calendar moving towards the anticipated event.
That's why I wasn't too surprised this week when J was presented with the sudden possibility of flying home early, and yet she decided to stay. She isn't ready to leave; her mind and heart need the full allotment of time. The threats of extremists can't change this. The calendar knows what's right, and the little dark moons will be obeyed.

She will be safe, and completely ours on December 18, the day I look at my clear fingernails and miss the brown dots.


  1. A lovely analogy. I am sure tht you miss her but when you look at your nails you are back there with here.


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