The simple life. Life is who you are, what you create, what you become. Life is creativity, what you live and how you present it. It is what you dance to, what makes you, what makes scream the most. It is not about what you can’t have but what you don’t have. It doesn’t take much to make a kid happy, all he/she needs is a toy and if you don’t have one, you create one. You make one out whatever you can find and then zig zag through the hood. It is life, it is what drives you, what becomes you, what makes you happy, a toy made of wire and wood. This beautiful expression of “leve leve”, meaning slow, unhurried definition of an happy and simple childhood emblemises the islands of Sao Tome and Principe in Africa. Yes, life made simple.
The wooden house sat in the corner of Billsboro and Fallbroader streets in the Kingdom of Euboiro, up in the hill behind some oak trees, surrounded by nosy gossip du jour deliver neighbors, bordered by trees and calm ambience, humid weather and raggedy terrain, characteristic of the tropical climate. The houses were built ceiling to ceiling, on top of standing wooden poll sticks in such razor-thin proximity the neighbors could hear each other’s sneeze. Like many homes built in the area, miss Madeleine’s was of the same design, resembling a tree-house or a hanging stool to escape the frequent rain and ranging mud.
She was acting strange, walking mercifully slow, like a grasshopper, going through the motions mechanically like a mummy, anguish piercing through her face.
Dragging like a robot commanded from afar, she took her time getting to the pew. Never quivering, strolling like a walking dead, always looking up straight at whatever infinite. She looked desponded, stoic, never cracking a smile.
I wondered what was pestering her as she kneeled close to me but I quickly set that aside as we were in church, praying, venerating God.
We stayed a while, I doing the rosary with the parishioners and she kneeling still, piercing the altar to the Holy Sacrament, as if looking for some kind of absolution to her suffering that never came.
None of us at the time had an answer for her suffering but many were in possession of a tool that could bring her some peace and comfort, prayers.
The rosary was over. We all sat back but she was still there, aloof, looking confused and dazed. Reflecting.
The mass was over, I stood up to leave but she stayed put, not blinking but heedless blocking me, unimpressed, looking down, mummified, her fatigued face transmitting through. She wasn’t deaf, she was just not “there”. She could not “hear” me.
I wanted to hug her but was scared out of my wits to even try. Politely, I asked her again to brush aside a little but she witless shoved me off. Surprised and confused, I forced my way through the broken being when I heard jarring hurried sniffles.
I looked down and there she was trembling, groaning quietly, unengineered tear drops genuinely pouring down her face in avalanche and she impotent to wipe them off. Without uninvited details, I knew something was heavy, planting its seed and there wasn’t a thing I could do. They were coming from a place of discomfort, hurt and she needed not to utter it to me, I felt it.
I left the church that day troubled, insects cocooning through my brain, disappointed I did not reach out to her. At least a hug but I didn’t. I hoped she was able to heal her heart. I am aware of how issues du jour can incredibly creep up and make a salad out of you leaving you too exhausted to even sneeze. I have met it.
It is never easy to mend a troubled heart but one can conquer wonders with the grace of the Almighty. I hope she is somewhere today looking straight at the infinite, smiling at the skies and counting her blessings just because Someone was listening to her that day and not judging her grieving soul.