I was still wondering why I was here, there, in Norwood a small little Jewish Neighbourhood near Orange Grove in Johannesburg when I stepped on little pieces of my heart – shredded so thin they had filled up little holes in molten tar and concrete which paves the weathered street. Ouch. It was here. Then. When I received the call no one ever expects. How could I have forgotten? I thought it had been somewhere else in some other neighbourhood, somewhere far away but no. It was definitely here, right here at The Schwarma Co. We stopped to have lunch, a welcome break between our haphazard moves. From here to there. Our orders had just been taken, I remember still trying to be enthusiastic, to smile, while desperately searching for an appetite for this particular brand of Arabic fast food, hoping that somehow it would taste different to the last time I tried to eat, it. That’s when my blackberry started ringing, interrupting the many unwelcome ghosts which were starting to grow inside my throat.
It was mom calling, in the middle of the day, 11:00am perhaps? Only, it wasn’t her calling me, it was another voice I’d never heard before. The way that lady called my name. “Are you Jedi?!” Am I? I wondered. “Are you Jedi?” Yes I am. I said, I am. Her voice continued like echoes in an empty tunnel, her words tumbling on each other like bumble bees caught in a fierce hurricane “Your mother has collapsed. She’s unconscious. We’ve been trying to wake her up for the past 30 minutes. We called an ambulance. We’re taking her to the hospital. Are you coming?” “Are you coming?” She asked desperate this time. “Coming where?” I asked unintentionally. Silence. “Is my brother there?” I asked. Yes she replied. I asked to speak to him. He told me everything. I told him I was coming. Remembering the thousand times I had promised to come, when he asked “Jedi, when are you coming home?” But never did.
It is funny how a place can swallow secretes. It’s funny how the mind forgets. That which, it must remember. My life changed that day. I stopped seeing. I lived in another world. Where I pleaded for atonement, for forgiveness. Because even then I didn’t know where to begin to fix that which had gone so terribly wrong or right so many years ago. Grey Blue Eyes stared back at me. They too seeing nothing. In me.
I know that I have found no greater love than that which my mother poured out for me, so selflessly on that day, and every day since before our times. My walls came crumbling down, light flooded my heart and I became blind to the ordinary, to normal, to schedules and time. Is that what happened to you too? Did heartbreak dim the spark in your eyes?
Now I know why I am here. To collect my soul. My love. And take her home. To keep her safe somewhere, between the pages of a book, that we will one day read to our children, in a language of our own invention.
Money has made the word love sound so cheap, empty, even useless, but love is, excuse my language, as essential as toilet paper. And yes, you do need money for that too.
In all the ways that words will not permit me to say it I do. I love you.
See, I needed to be here, to see this place – again. To trace the entrails of my spirit, to pick up unshed tears which have melted in the rain. I needed to remember the shape of my heart.
What it once looked like. So I can appreciate this new one, with you in it.
I needed to know that silence, doesn’t mean, it didn’t happen.
See you soon.