This is a story based on true events that occurs around Halloween time in Bogota, Colombia at the end of October 2012.
It's almost the end of October and Madre, Daniella and Rio are travelling on Bogota's green Transmilenio Alimentador bus to attend a wake of a close family friend who died.
“The bus that we are on is an Alimentador and this means its a small feeder bus that takes people to the main portal. This bus goes to the portal de la Ochenta… Ochenta means eighty in Spanish.” Daniella is explaining to Rio.
Rio nods his head in understanding and asks, “So that really means we are heading to Terminal 80?”
“Exactamente…exactly,” Daniella says in both Spanish and English.
On the way the bus stops to pick up passengers and out of the blue some young people dressed in ingenious halloween costumes appear on the bus. There is a tingle of excitement right through the bus and Daniella hastily reaches for her camera to snap some shots. As if by cue several other people are also taking pictures.
“Dia de las brujas,” Madre is commenting.
“Day of the witches,” explains Daniella.
“So in Colombia it's not know as Halloween?” Rio inquires.
“Yes, people also know it as Halloween in Colombia,” clarifies Daniella.
“We are not human beings on a spiritual journey. We are spiritual beings on a human journey,” Rio is thinking about something he read or heard recently.
Daniella looks at Rio with a quizzical look. “¿Qué estás pensando?…What are you thinking?”
“It's intriguing that we are on our way to a wake and we encounter these cultural and historical acts that show our allurement with the spiritual world,” Rio is trying to explain what is going through his mind.
“Well in the rush of life we do tend to remember only the mortal aspects,” observes Daniella.
They have now reached their destination and are climbing the stairs to the second floor of the funeral home. The air is filled with mournfulness as some people embrace and others wipe silent tears off their eyes. Others engage in tranquil conversation and they revive the memory of happier times.
“She was on Dialysis for many years. Her suffering has been immense,” Daniella is explaining to Rio.
On the way back home they are passing an area that is famous for the Mariachis.
“Do you know about the Mariachis?” Danielle is asking Rio.
“A little…they are the musicians wearing the wide hats and elegant decorative costumes.” Rio responded with a slight hesitation.
“Yes…the Mariachis costume is all about style…the decorative embroidery can be made sometimes with silver or gold threads…and silver and gold buttons can compliment the outfit.” Daniella added.
“I had once seen them in Mexico and they were using instruments such as violins, trumpets, harps, and guitars,” Rio commented.
A lady Mariachi now appears on the sidewalk walking with distinction and each step promising a glimpse of her cultural heritage. The bus accelerates and Rio looks back and he sees her slowly dwindling in the abundance of Bogota's people and traffic.
“The dance and music of life goes on…and we wear distinctive costumes to suit each occasion…Halloween that pretends to make us take a glimpse at a another dimension….Mariachi costumes and music that can thrust us back in culture and history and send our spirits to soaring heights…and the realities of death…some dressed in black…true tears, true grief, true loneliness.” Rio is reflecting in his mind.
“And all this can happen in one night,” Rio hears himself saying out loud.
“¿Que?…what?” Daniella is asking inquisitively.
“Nothing…nada,” Rio says with a reserved smile.
They have reached back home and step off the bus into the night. Rio looks up and see the stars sparkling with exceptional brilliance.