Monday, October 11, 2010

Skate The Snake

This is a story about our T and his friend Skate the Snake. Skate was the imaginary friend created by T when we lived in East Timor. T was 2 ½ years old when Skate first appeared in our lives. It’s kind of a funny story how T met Skate. You see, in Dili (just like in Rio) there is a huge statue of Jesus atop a hill (called Cristo Rei). So, on nice days, we liked to walk to the top of the Cristo Rei hill. According to T, he met Skate on one of those walks. Why I found this so funny is that my little Jewish son met a serpent on his way walking up to Jesus. The imagery of it all is too much, anyway. . .

The thing with Skate is that I do believe he was really needed by T at the time. At first Skate was just a friend who would play with him and help him “fix.” T loved to fix things, especially pretend AC units. Then the evacuation occurred when T was almost 3 years old. T and I stayed back home in the US for 3 months, while his Dad had to be in Timor. I started hearing more and more about Skate during this time. But, it was when we returned from evacuation that Skate really came into his own.

We were allowed to return to Timor after 3 months apart from S, however events in Timor were not always calm. We always received texts to stay home when chaos started. But, there were rock fights, rocks and poison darts being thrown at people and their cars, and most terribly, Timorese “houses” being burnt to the ground by rival gangs. Seriously, Timor was the only time in this career that we actually put an American Flag on our car so as to not be targeted.

There was a lot of discussion about events by everyone and, unfortunately, sometimes kids heard things parents did not want them to hear. One day, T heard a teacher’s assistant talk about her house being burnt down. Suddenly, Skate had to move into a secret house, under our house. Apparently, Skate's house had been burnt down by bad guys and T wanted our guards to keep Skate and his family safe. It was a rough time. We loved Timor for its beauty, the WONDERFUL friends we made, the awesome SCUBA diving and we still miss so much about it. But, definitely, for a short time, there were some real negatives and T picked-up on them. Things did calm down, I became pregnant with K and then suddenly Skate’s Mom was pregnant too. Clearly, Skate was something positive for T. When we moved to America, after Timor, Skate became less and less mentioned. I don’t hear about him anymore. But, if I ask T about him, he does remember him fondly.

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