A kiss is almost always more than just a kiss. It is a language with its own grammar…a recipe of love with unique ingredients. People actually have careers studying kissing; they are called philematologists. Kisses are classified into three categories: the “basium,” for the standard romantic kiss; the “osculum,” for the friendship kiss; and the “savium,” the most passionate kind, sometimes referred to as a French kiss.
But, in Nicaragua I’ve encountered another kind of kiss, which I’ll call “desolo” or the Latin word for abandoned. Eight years ago, I lent my camera to my 10-year-old neighbor, Luvy. Her mother was visiting from Costa Rica where she was working as a maid to support her family on Ometepe Island. When Luvy’s mother returned for a short visit, I told Luvy to record her most precious moments on my camera and I would print the pictures for her.
For most of Luvy’s young life, her mother lived in Costa Rica. Luvy’s elderly father cared for her and her household of siblings and extended family members. At the age of seven, Luvy bent over the cooking fire preparing meals for her family, as well as tending to the daily needs of her younger nieces and nephews who lived with them.
When Luvy was a teenager, her mother returned to live with them. Sadly, Luvy still lives with a feeling of abandonment, as do most of the younger Nicaraguan children whose parents leave them to find work in Costa Rica. Luvy turns 19 next week. She is following in her mother’s footsteps by moving to Costa Rica to find work. I desperately wish we could stop this perpetual cycle of abandonment.
The photo above has a happier ending. This is Bobby’s dog, Luna. Bobby died a little over a year ago abandoning Luna. She was placed in a loving foster home for a short time, until the woman could no longer care for her. Finding loving homes for pets in Nicaragua is not easy. First, most Nicaraguans don’t understand the concept of pets. Second, Bobby pampered Luna, again something unheard of in Nicaragua.
My friend, Carol, came to the rescue. She lovingly opened her home to Luna. Last week, when we were visiting Granada, we stopped in to say hello to Luna. Very grateful and sloppy Luna kisses smothered Carol with love.
Next time you happen upon kissing, remember that a kiss may look deceptively simple, but a kiss is almost never just a kiss.