Hope Floats


Aaron’s movements are dictated by the radio’s reedy sound waves, which ebb and flow over and through his frame. His elbows swing outwards as his knees sway rhythmically. His little body, which seemed as hard as flint on the soccer field, now wobbles and bobbles like rubber. His eager limbs respond to the pulse as rolling sea swells. Aaron is pulled into the tide and other children follow, shimmying in his wake.Even the tiniest toddler in this place learns to swagger before he learns to walk. The children at the Veronica Home astonish me with their athletic ability, their endurance, and their rhythm. They are buoyant, animated, and oh-so-joyful as their bare feet rain down on the rust-coloured dust. In that moment, one can forget that they are sick or that they depend on antivirals. How they thrive despite their circumstances.

Aaron begs me to join and I find myself caught up in a dance where I have to outleap my partner. We become a heaving wave of jumpers vying for height, lurching upwards like bubbles trapped on the ocean floor. Aaron nicknames me the White Masai. I’ll take it.