I look at them
These two whenever they reunite it’s like no time has passed. By looking at them you would think they have NO knowledge of loss or pain nor do they intend to speak of grief.
They are like a ring and it’s finger (far iyo faranti) as we say in Somali, inseparable. They finish each other’s sentences look after one another brother and sister. No, more like a mother and son.
My mother and my uncle. Orphans, child labored refugees just mention a few. They rather not speak of grief. But they will tell you alhamdulillah all thanks to God for everything.
Laughter now that is their language. Ow how they laugh, they laugh loud and until tears run down their chins. I and whoever lucky enough to be around them also join in laughter for there is no other way. Their laughter is contagious.
Memories of childhood where they were the children and the parents for one another. “Abaayo, abaayo do you remember that time when we were so tired and walked for hours?” Qalo, my uncle would ask, tilting his head to the side as his silky hair tilts with it. “aah and the UN driver wouldn’t give us a lift” my mother continues with a sigh and smile while she rubs her knee.
“No is not that time, I mean the time we jumped on the backside of a car and hanged on for dear life” mother starts coughing and laughing as she slaps her thigh again and again.
Now, uncle is clucking “kakaaaaq and the fly… and the fly flew right into my mouth and… and I let go of the car and fell off”
I gasp’ why are they laughing at this I just want to know how old he was my poor uncle. Did he hurt or break a bone?! I wonder.
I am always taken aback by wonders… why do they smile and giggle at times when telling heartbreaking stories? Could it be the shared memories and joyful moments in between hardship? or could it be the stubbornness they both share resisting to give up hope? Or perhaps the strength and love for one another.
Or even the fact that they are both alive today alhamdulillah to tell their stories.
Either way I have learned the best time to know about their journey is when uncle comes to visit. Which is quite often if you ask me not that I am complaining. I bet mother would beg to differ though. I am certain had it not been for the fact that they are parents/grandparents and live in different countries they would not be spending a day apart.
I watch them, study them and the longer I watch their beautiful faces wrinkles and scars given to them by wars, disappear as they shrink into tiny bodies and become children. Carefree able to laugh and chase one another blissfully unaware of the destiny and journey that lays ahead.