Seven months to the day of Hurricane Maria, the forgotten community of Utuado inaugurated their brand new bridge! After months of being incommunicated, having to walk 4-hours into the nearest city center and still without electricity, they cheerfully branded their new bridge, celebrated with the construction and engineering teams in a generator-lit house. They brought music, beer and enough food to feed a small army, happily sharing the one thing Maria failed to take away from us: our happiness.
We sat around in circles to talk, drink and share the memories of survival and living in a pos-Maria Puerto Rico. All of us shared anxiously our fears as to the future of our island, overhearing every once-in-a-while someone commenting “and hoping another Hurricane won’t hit us this year” followed by a group-exhale: a PTSD remainder of the ordeal we all lived through.
Yet in that circle, amongst the loud Salsa, kids running around and occasional brindis of Pitorro, we smiled, laughed and mocked the absurdity of life that brought us all together. People from ALL walks of life just sharing their stories; people that under no other circumstances would have met.
Puertorricans always say “viste que pequeño es Puerto Rico” (see how small Puerto Rico really is) when we inevitably sit down and find an old friend (or a friend’s friend) from our past. No more evidence is needed than when I found an old friend who had came to help me cut down my tree and done some electrical work after Maria. Now we all sat together and laughed at our stories while drinking our national beer: Medalla.
Im forever grateful for the people I have met along the way and the stories, sorrows and laughs we have shared. Humanity isn’t and exoteric, exotic state of humanity. It is found in the most common of places, when we leave our differences aside and laugh at the ultimate absurdity of life and how it has come to tie us all together in friendships that would never happen in any other circumstance.
"I leave Sisyphus at the foot of the mountain! One always finds one's burden again. But Sisyphus teaches the higher fidelity that negates the gods and raises rocks. He too concludes that all is well. This universe henceforth without a master seems to him neither sterile nor futile. Each atom of that stone, each mineral flake of that night filled mountain, in itself forms a world. The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy” ― Albert Camus