Lessons From a Hazel-Eyed Boy

The ferry docks as passengers step in, one by one. The pre-pubescent ferry driver jumps onto the front of the boat, almost as if in an action flick. Inscribed on his shirt are five words that read, “I am the evil twin” and a long red scarf wrapped around his neck. I’m exhausted but find it quite humorous and want to laugh out loud but I hold it in. All are quiet. It wouldn’t be appropriate. In his most authoritative voice, he scurries the travelers along instructing them to move to the back and make space for others coming on. About thirty-five people squeeze in where normally eighteen would enjoy the ride. 

The boat finally splashes forward onto the wild waves. A little boy sits at the front of the boat, squeezing his little fingers tightly onto the edge of the boat as it roughly moves up and down. His big hazel eyes smile, enraptured by the setting sun. His mother calls him to the back, but he insists on being in the front, where another man from the States sits, with a long wooden musical instrument resting on his lap. Feeling the end of the day tiredness, the women in the Mayan dresses and the tourists in the cargo pants, we all sit quietly watching the sun. The waves get wilder and start to splash the passengers. Everyone quickly pulls down the plastic on the side, the little boy giggles as water splatters on his long eyelashes. Once accustomed to the sudden moods of the lake, we continue in silence.

The ferry driver, now sitting on top of the roof hums to whatever sounds are coming from his head phone. The boy with the big hazel eyes watches him intently. And minutes later starts singing at the top of his lungs, a Spanish song that he feels so obviously passionately about. I am floored by this show of courage, oblivious to the thirty-five strangers on the boat and can’t help but smile broadly. Lessons in bravery and living every moment of the day, from a little hazel-eyed boy -- these are the moments I later remember, when I recall my day.

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