My day began when Justice, who I wrote about in this post, surprised me by coming to work with Christine this morning. I have not seen Justice since his last day of work for us at the end of September but I have been chatting with him over whatsapp. About a month after he left us, Justice got a job! He is now working security at some type of estate or housing complex. I didn't help him to get the job but I was able to help him with a few things he needed once he had the job. He told me recently that he wanted to come by one day to say hello and I guess today was the day. I was excited to give him some Christmas gifts that I brought back for him from the U.S.A. First, was a Yankees cap which he loved and second were some seashells that I gathered for him on the beach in Florida. Give most people over the age of seven a gift of seashells that you picked up yourself from the beach and they will be like what the F$%& is this? But I knew that Justice would really like them. And when I gave them to him Christine said it perfectly. She said "Justice loves decorations." And as much as he loved the hat, he loved the shells and he spent time looking at each one and said how beautiful they were and I knew that he meant it.
We talked for a while and then he began cleaning my windows. The American version of me would have tried to stop him, telling him it wasn't necessary and making a big fuss about how he didn't need to work for free or running to the ATM so I could pay him, but South African version of American me just let him do it because I know he wanted to repay me for some kindnesses and this was his way and to stop him or pay him would have been rude. When I got home this afternoon and he and Christine had already left so I sent him a note to thank him for my gorgeous and sparkling windows and he replied, "you deserve good things."
Also today, I spent time with Gift. I went to his house and met his sister and his brother in law for the first time. They were so nice to me. I think a lot of cynical relatives in this world might have been confused and wondered what my motives for being friends with Gift might be. Am I some kind of recruiter trying to bring him into my cult? Do I work for immigration? Am I a sad and lonely housewife with wild fantasies about younger African men? If they did wonder these things or had questions about me they didn't let on, instead they accepted me as being genuine and welcomed me into their home, giving me a piece of corn on the cob to eat (called mealies here) and chatting with me for an hour. At the end of our visit they told me I was welcome to come back any time to visit.
I brought Gift some clothes and shoes from the U.S.A. When I gave him these items he acted like those people we have all seen on the publishers clearing house commercials. He was happier than any grown up adult I have seen in a long, long while and possibly ever. Later, he wrote me a note saying he was "so much more than the word happy" and that I was his "first friend of white." And I replied to him much like Justice replied to me, and told him that he deserves nice things.
Finally, at the end of the day and I saw our neighbor from across the street, Brenda, standing outside of her house. We hardly know our neighbors except to say hello or to chat briefly if we happen to be outside at the same time. I needed to talk to her today because I had a timely question concerning what, if anything, we should do for the guards at our estate for Christmas. Mr. Deep had suggested I ask her for input. We chatted for a bit and she asked me if we were going to be here for Christmas and what our plans were. I said we were just going to stay home and braai (grill.) By the way Mr. Deep and I don't really celebrate Christmas and we have have spent many, many Christmas days just making dinner at home and hanging out. We also generally don't give each other birthday presents or celebrate any holidays (except Thanksgiving which only involves making dinner) so it's not like we would be sitting at home sobbing, missing the U.S. and feeling suicidal but she of course doesn't know that. So once she heard we had no real plans she invited us to come over for Christmas. The American version of me would have been horrified thinking this poor woman really doesn't want us to come over, she is just being nice and later she is going to have to apologize to her husband for speaking without thinking and tell him she invited us and he will say, "dammit Brenda, do you even know their names?" But the South African version of American me said, "great what time should we come over" and wondered (briefly) if this is what good karma feels like.
|Justice at our house wearing his new cap. And yes, it totally matched his jacket.|