Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Not MY son, but a guy named Son, - the cousin of an ex-boyfriend. When I met him, Son couldn’t have been older than 10 and I think it’s safe to say that in the ±7-8 years that I was in the relationship, Son and I pretty much grew up together. I’ll never forget when my ex’s 21 year old brother was killed in a car crash. I pulled up to the house for the funeral, greeted by scores of grieving family, cars parked everywhere, the smell of incense and the sight of Son waiting in the driveway for me. I barely got out of the car and he threw his arms around me and from that moment wouldn't leave my side.
Son’s all grown up now. He left his mom and sisters at the age of 19 to take on a job with a Spur franchise in Tanzania and has been there ever since. He now calls Tanzania “home” and a Danish girl his partner, and is as happy as could be.
When he smsed to say that he was in SA for the first time in 2 years and wanted to see me, I had my mind’s eye on that teenager in the driveway and my other 2 eyes on my hectic schedule at work. But I’m so glad that we made the time to have coffee. I’m so proud of the person he’s become!
I’ll admit, it was a bitter sweet coffee… seeing someone who was such a big part of the life I thought I was going to live… The life that society told me I should live from as far back as I can remember. As we said goodbye and promised to stay in touch, I was happy that we had parked on opposite ends of the mall. I don’t think I could’ve camouflaged the lump in my throat any longer. I wasn’t sad that things didn’t work out with the guy, - I’m glad that door has closed! He wasn’t the one for me. But I think seeing Son reminded me of a person that I once was, - someone I barely recognise. It scared me to think of how much I’ve changed and how narrowly I escaped a life that would have frustrated and destroyed me, had I matured the way I have now. I think of the sacrifices and compromises I was willing to make and I can’t believe how much of myself I was willing to kill in order to live the life everyone thought I should have. The life that I convinced myself I wanted too. Son tells me that he looks at me and at my ex, and it’s like something is missing… like we’ve each lost a leg or an arm. We were together for so long, and so very much “together” that it’s like we’re missing a limb when he looks at each of us. (It’s true. We were always touching when we were in the same room. It wasn’t a conscious thing. It just always seemed to be the case.)
I can’t tell you if it was a long or short walk to the car. I don’t remember it at all. My mind was too busy with the what-was and what-ifs of the life I turned away…