Where do the good men go?

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Lumepa Hald

In this terrible world, there is no time to fake a cry. When I think of the children dying in hopeless wars, and fading in poverty-stricken communities, I hold up my head to feel the sky.

I spend moments in quiet sadness for the things I cannot reach, as if the sorrows of the earth are in the same empty melodic fray as the child I long to hold again one day. 

If you can look into my heart of hearts, you would see who I really am from time to time. I am a grown Samoan woman, weakened by the rough ocean tides that threw me here. But do not feel pity for me for I am also strengthened by my own falling apart.

Like a stranded fish, I do not choose the sand I stray upon. But the island home I love holds me close anyway. And like the beams of her white moon, I touch the soft sea as she fills you up with the glow of the moonlight. 

If you get to know me as a friend, you would see the sameness we have, as Samoans, as women, as human beings. I am no shorter than five feet five. My own daughter begins to cower over me and I secretly smile about it, though I pretend it is not all right.

I love to laugh. I love to write. I love to love, because it is painful, and sometimes loving can be wasteful, nit gritty, silly goose like. But you know as much as I do that loving keeps us feeling this numbing life. 

I need not send you a love note to say that, “where there is no love, there is utmost emptiness and strife. “

But is it not easier to write of these things, than to hear of a grown man crying? For men are believed to be heroes the moment they are born. Yet who nurtures their loneliness and from whose eyes can their hidden tears be shed? Who screams out a man’s oppression and who speaks bravely of his softness?

Is a grown man like the blue bird that carries the weight of the sky on his back? Of sex abuse, is a little boy not a child? And when he has grown in the wild forest of manliness, of abandonment, of false hope, of ruthless upbringing, will he be protected with the rights we flag out as human.

Is he counted as a first or a second to the woman who needs him too? Is he no longer adored for his rawness, his untamed ways, his arrogance? But who among us broke him? 

So that when you ask me where the good men go, I point over the horizon. I seek my answers from the unknown days left for us to make a difference. I feel the fire in my feet and fiery as the whirlwind, I stop eventually. The aim of destiny, as you sense from my weariness, is to humble before the gravestones of stronger women before us. We must long for their wisdom too.

So dear reader, here we are eye to eye as Samoan women with a deep sensed duty to hold up our country and strong our sons. May I ask, if the wings of empathy were your own shoulder blades would you fly?

Would you carry a leaf in your mouth, soaring as high as you could, to find at the end of the sky, our stunning mankind? Would you have a heart to remember this rag, these soft words, these thoughts for a sunnier day upon our paradise? 

I am spent, as the day is done, thinking about how much we have encountered together on our small island. When I think of you, my fellow Samoan woman, sister, mother and daughter; our troubles, our defeats, I want to whisper in your ear, “ This life takes my breath away too.” 

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