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Sunday, June 16, 2013


The Caribbean waves crashed on the shore near him, but he did not stop raking.  His wife was dead, but he did not stop raking. Nothing was the same, yet he did not stop raking. The oceans waves never stop, nor did his duties around the hacienda, no matter the turmoil spinning on his insides. There were expectations, after all. Every morning, he was expected to rake the sand. This is what he did and who he was.

She would say “You'll work yourself to death, Hacinto.”

She would say, “Your family misses you!”

She would say, “Please Hacinto, you are more important than any money you make.”

But he would ignore all her pleas, knowing full well how important money was in this part of the world – in any part of the world! He could not risk not being seen as a hard worker and possibly losing his job. What would happen to his family then? He could not risk it. He would not risk it.

And so it continued and year after year, his children grew, his wife conceded, and the distance between them all grew, until yesterday, unexpectedly, she died. And today, all alone, raking the same sand he has raked for 25 years, Hasinto finally stopped. He put down his rake, looked at the ocean crashing into the shore, feeling as though the waves were crashing onto his own heart and announced to no one in particular, “I am taking today off.”

“Okay,” the boss later agreed. It was that easy. Everyone trusted Hacinto and wished him nothing but good. He did not lose his job and would not lose his job. He did however lose his wife and would in fact, lose his children one day. But today, just today, none of that mattered. All that mattered was that he would stop working. For once.  For his wife. Rest assured, he would come back to work tomorrow and do exactly what he has done for the last 25 years.  But today, he went swimming all alone in the ocean, peaceful at last, thinking about his wife.

written by Kim Schultz

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