I lost my heart in winter

Submitted into Contest #120 in response to: Write about a character who yearns for something they lost, or never had.... view prompt


Creative Nonfiction Latinx Drama

We crossed borders. We traversed countries. We walked. We ran. We hid and went down on our knees countless times. I remember that day, the day Gloria and I had to leave the warm weather and the palm trees far behind. With the fear of the unknown, and our shoes were already broken before we even started to walk.

It was summer when we left. It is always summer in the Caribbean. A precarious wooden raft took us without any guarantee of survival. Through the harshness of the sea, we prayed and asked the Lord to keep us safe. The waves were relentless.

I can still see her when I close my eyes... my partner, my everything.  

As much as I wanted to, I couldn't keep her with me. As her memories come and dance playing with the curtains, swirling around me like a powerful wind, I get weak. 

Alone in my dusty room, loneliness is unbearable.

Sometimes I forgive myself, I know I tried to save us. I wanted us to escape the hunger, I wanted her to carry our babies. But self-compassion doesn't last much. I know deeply that she would be alive if it wasn't because she followed me blindly. 

It was me who convinced her. I took her by the hand and sealed her lips with a kiss.

I had lost my job. Sometimes I couldn't even bring bread to our table. I took her with me because I knew she deserved better. Her beautiful soul deserved the world.

I told her that people were speaking about this promised land: The icy roads, hot chocolate, and a white Christmas.

We made plans and left with nothing but our backpacks. We had to be there before the cold, we had to arrive before the first snowfall. We left our homeland, knowing it wasn't going to be easy. Three countries were keeping us apart from our destination.

We departed Cuba and made it to Guatemala. Then came Mexico. 

We lurked and escaped, with our heads down. We moved through the land where women were sold like cattle. Every night we feared the coming day. Every day was a new nightmare. The hunger was strong but our ambitions were as well. I was unable to sleep, I needed to be vigilant.

Strangers we were, but we hugged each other. There were tears, but there was also laughter. We became family. We sang our old songs and felt human heat. There were times when the women braided each other's hair and it was delightful to hear them quietly chatting. Asylum seekers we were. We cared for each other. We were brothers and sisters.

The land of the brave was waiting for us, but it was still quite far from our destination. I had heard before about the captive children and the dirty floors. Men were being treated like dogs. All I heard, all they said... It was nothing but the truth. 

The armed men had, for some reason, a little bit of compassion for us. They took us in and released us hours later. They knew how to find us.

GPS devices they call it. We agreed on wearing ankle bracelets that tracked us while on their land. On American soil, we were bound, but it felt as if freedom was almost around the corner.

I told the love of my life. She needed to resist. I worried about her. Sometimes I felt her body so still. I worried she was going to give up. 

Each day she lost more and more weight, her feet were cracking, and her mind was drifting. I couldn't tell sometimes if she was with me, or if she was daydreaming about palm trees. 

 Her beautiful hazel eyes, oh those eyes, they were so tired then and still so pure.

The day we decided that we needed to run our last run, I didn't suspect that was going to be the end for one of us.

Beaten up by the past, but blinded by the light of a promising future, we held hands again and started our new journey.

 I felt I failed her when I saw the first snowflakes falling. I thought, and I was sure, we had to make it before that happened. Now it was too late. The harmless snow we had seen, became a cruel blizzard that made each step more difficult.

I looked at her and I still saw trust on her face. A little sparkle of hope that shone like a beacon the night. It was enough for me to know that she still trusted me... Enough for me to strengthen myself up and break our chains.

The dogs were barking, flashlights pointing in all directions. The night was young but dark. We fell so many times that our knees bled. The adrenaline ran through our blood and our survival instincts kept us going.

We finally did it. My love and I were out of sight. She asked me to rest holding her breath and I couldn't say no. 

The weather was fierce. The wind was blowing. The landscape was unfamiliar for us. That night the cold froze our bones. My little Angel slept there. Her eyelashes were covered by the frost. Her eyes shut. She looked beautiful like a painting.

I held her in my arms, as I promised in the past, "Until death do us apart".

My love, she is now free at last. My tears fell washing her alabaster skin; they froze as they touched her face. I wish now that time had frozen for us that day.

My love, peacefully she lives now in an eternal dream. My little ghost will come each December to visit me. With grief in my heart, I look at the first snowfall. With anguish, I wish no one had found me that night. They saved me, and life feels like an everlasting death sentence.

You see... I remain, empty of hope, as this doomed heart shrinks each winter more and more,. Sometimes I don't hear it beating. Memories, only memories come to lacerate me and I hope they would just fade away. I wish I just could fade away.

November 17, 2021 20:07

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.


Boutat Driss
09:24 Nov 22, 2021

well done!


Flore Lazcano
14:16 Nov 22, 2021

Thank you! 🙏🙏


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Mike Panasitti
22:34 Oct 28, 2022

This is very emotionally raw and compelling prose. You've convinced me to follow you. Viva Cuba libre! Viva el mundo libre! Sin racismo ni discriminacion en sus mil y un formas.


Show 0 replies