My Village

It’s not looking well.

Words I hate to hear, especially coming from my father. This is a man who, given the option to sugar coat things, presents difficult information as a loving and tough fact. Since hearing these words a few days ago I am yet again, flooded with memories of her. 

I can see the mottled light in the forest behind her house, where I’d follow my brother and his friend who’s house we were dropped off at for the weekend. There is a pile of sand at it’s edge, and trucks that I adoringly drive around. She is hanging up the washing and on the line, and keeping a joyfully cocked ear to the chattering of boys. She gives a loving call out to me to ask what I would want for dinner, knowing full well but delight still in my answer: Han-ga-Burgers.

It became a long standing code word, representing this families loving remembrance of my time in and out of their house.

We have been blessed with our own village of friends in this city. My children look to our friends as aunts and uncles, neighbors and kin. Their children, a surrogate crush of extra brothers and sisters and cousins. Like the village I was raised in, the boys are given moments of neighborly love, a last moment ride, or a hangout to cover a gap in care. It’s what you do.

No more am I struck with this good fortune than when I go back home. I visit the cemetery, and sit and reflect. My eyes start to see the names on the stones around. One, A Friend of my brother. Another, a local business owner. Yet Another, a member of the congregation after who’s death I first learned of the word eulogy because of what my Father had to do in church. 

I sit in the chapel in the school. It’s big slanted beamed celling rising out of the darkness seems to be holding in the unusually cold air. For the first time since we moved to campus, I am there without the throngs of students squirming in the pews. It is silent and hard to focus. 

Please be doing well. I find myself saying it over and over. I say it right to her. I can hear her laugh, feel her tight hugs as she marveled how quickly I’d grown. 

I think of our close friends and how the younger one will run and give a hug to them. How I catch them looking adoringly at them run off and play. I think of the wonderful people that have cared for them as they have grown.

I remember my village and the people there that make up the threads of the quilt of my very soul. I can feel how they tug and pull, being stretched over time, and worn out with love. 

The email comes with a dull ache.

Tears.

Han-ga-burgers.

 

 

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About D.Jeinkins

a married father of two boys, trying in desparation to preserve his sanity
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