The “Choice” to Listen

They had a history of twisting words.

So, when one of the two girls told me that she was worried about a rumour doing the rounds, I was sceptical.

But, I chose to listen. Simply listen and make no comment. 

Then, the other girl mentioned the same thing to me two weeks later.  She actually called me and said that she “didn’t mean to cause any trouble”. She also told me that she “didn’t like to get involved in other people’s business”.

Both statements were lies.

But again, I chose to listen.  Simply listen and make no comment.

It only occurred to me AFTER the final version of the story was told, how in fact, I had actually entered the plot.

Yes, there were many versions of the “truth” now doing the rounds and yes, I was one of the main characters in the movie.  ME!? The one who had said nothing?   Yes, me!

The thing is, whether I liked it or not, I had entered their story.  I engaged. I participated. Simply by listening. 

Once I accepted that I was part of the plot, I needed to strategise.   The way I saw things, I had two choices:

  1. Ignore(and continue to be an UNOFFICIAL cast member in a story where my name was being dragged through the mud)
  2. Confront(and become an OFFICIAL cast member in a story where my name was being dragged through the mud)

I chose to ignore it.

And yes, perhaps I have no balls.

Perhaps I am just wise.

Perhaps I know how to pick my battles.

I guess the jury is still out.  Maybe one day I will be able to say with certainty WHY I made the decision I did.

Until then, Aluta Continua, as they say.  The road is still long (for me)

© A Heart Full of Stories, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lee-Ann Mayimele and www.aheartfullofstories.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Spotlight

His wife was a proud woman. 

She was a respected lecturer and a Minister of the Eucharist.  They arrived together each Sunday for mass.  Their car was freshly polished and their kids had on matching dresses.  Arriving early made them feel empowered.  They sat in the front row.   They listened attentively to the sermon and the mother always waved at her kids. They beamed with pride.

His mistress was the local widwife.  

She had delivered many babies in the community and had plenty of stories to share. She always arrived strategically late, just as they were closing the church doors.  They sat in the back row.  Arriving late made her children feel unsettled and they learnt to channel that feeling inward.  Shame and guilt were warm feelings and they knew them well.

After church, all the kids went to run around the playground.  They all relaxed.  None the wiser to the dark secrets everyone standing at the tea table guarded closely.

The mistress was committing the crime. Knowingly. So, she knew the price.  She stood far away from the priest and allowed the official couple to receive the praises.  Her kids were never central to the conversation about grades, sports and other accolades.

Many years passed this way.

When their kids entered their teen years, a cosmic smack was long overdue and the game changed in a big way.

One of the girls in the pretty matching dresses was pregnant.  She was 16.  She felt shame and guilt.  The spotlight was painful.

The son of the mistress was awarded a scholarship to a top university.  He was 17.  He felt pride and excitement. The spotlight was lovely.

The wife and the mistress thought they would escape the earthquake but the spotlight was not done with them either.

The midwife would have to deliver the baby and the lecturer would have to nominate her top student. The time would surely come.

Everybody braced themselves for the next chapter.

© A Heart Full of Stories, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lee-Ann Mayimele and www.aheartfullofstories.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The 12 Year Old who melted my heart (and then broke it)

He was 12 years old. He had lost both his parents tragically.  His grandmother was looking after him but he was really the one looking after her. She was very old and very blind.

This kid was exhausted.  Mentally and psychologically drained. 

Each morning at 6am, he dressed himself for school and then walked one hour to the bus stop. The bus took another hour. School was very important to him.  His parents would have been so proud.  He missed his mom every day.  She wanted him to be a doctor.

I felt his warmth instantly.  He was so full of dreams. 

He did his sales pitch within 12 seconds in my presence. He offered to wash my car.  I suggested once a week and he suggested the price. I tripled it and we had a deal.

My heart melted.

The deal lasted one and he never missed a day.  We talked about his doctor dreams and laughed lots.  My car was never really clean, but I was happy.

Around the 1 year anniversary of the Sunday sessions, he did not turn up at our agreed time.  I knew something was wrong.  The next week I waited again but my car was desperate for a wash.  I took it to a professional car wash in the area.  I recognised one of the guys who worked there. I had seen him talking to my favourite 12 year old before.

The other washer told me exactly where to find the 12 year old and I rushed straight to the local soccer field.   I had to find out why he no longer wanted to clean my car. 

It was worse than I had imagined!  Much worse.

His grandmother had died.  There had been a fire in their home and everything had burnt to the ground. He had nothing left and was living on the streets.  He did not turn up because he was so distraught!  I felt sick.

My heart broke into a thousand tiny pieces.    

When I finally got home that evening, I realised that something was missing from my car.  My house keys!  Damn!  I went back to the car wash.  I met the same washer who had done such a good job earlier.  He said “So?  Did you talk to him?” and just as I was about to say “Isn’t it sad? What on earth can WE do for him?” he said “His mother and father have to be strict, you know.  He needs to focus more on his schoolwork and spend less time doing bad things. Next time he will go to jail!”

It turns out my little friend had played me.  His parents were still alive.  His grandmother too.  She was not blind either!  And, their family home was in perfect shape, just 3 minutes from the local school. 

I felt numb.  Just numb.

I did not confront him.  I did not need to.

To me, the story was tragic enough.  I did not need reasons.  I did not need explanations.

To understand his motives would be to open my heart up again.  Fortunately, that was not an option. 

I reckon my 12 year old is in his twenties now.  I wonder if he still dreams of healing and saving lives.

The end

© Lee-Ann Mayimele & A Heart Full of Stories, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lee-Ann Mayimele and www.aheartfullofstories.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Two Sisters, Two Hearts

She saw her sister through the window.

She had to look twice because her sister was laughing.  She also gave the pig a high five.

Then, her sister came back into the house and said “He is such a loser!”

The feelings stung her hard. 

Her sister was right.  He was a loser!  A big one.  He had just gotten a third woman pregnant and had walked out on his own children. Plus, the tales of his violent ways and other affairs around town were all coming to the fore.

So, if he was such a loser, then why had her sister been laughing with him?  What were they talking about?  What was so funny?  What message did it send to him?  What did it say about her? 

The thoughts stung harder.

Her immediate reaction was to say nothing.  She was so good at that.  The ability to say nothing had served her well.  So well that no one knew about her abusive marriage of 25 years.

Then she made a decision.

Boundaries

She decided to close a slot in her heart.  Right in the uppermost corner.  The slot that her sister had always occupied.  She just jammed it shut.  She jammed it with anger and memories of  other indiscretions.  The combination of raw materials was very effective.  It weathered many sweet attempts at breaking and entering very well.  It just stayed shut.

Her sister is in counselling.  Something about a “distant sister”,family torn apart”,where did I go wrong?”

And the heart with one shut chamber is in counselling too.  Something about “having left things too long”, “drawing the line”, “creating boundaries” and “moving forward”.

Both sisters have my prayers for whole hearts.

Aluta continua, I say.  The road is long.

 

© Lee-Ann Mayimele & A Heart Full of Stories, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lee-Ann Mayimele and www.aheartfullofstories.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.