This is an open ended book, I will keep writing in honor of the strongest woman I know.
The pecan nut tree
We were the seeds, the delicious seeds, growing and living in a world of seasons and as the seasons changed so too we changed, it determined our utmost extremes of sorrow and delight.
Its winter 1989, the year where so much changed in South Africa, i'm six years old with red cheeks, soft hazel hair with a greater understanding of what sorrow was, than the optimistic view which should have been sprouting energy of innocence. For as along as I could remember mother was independent, the kind of woman most men would find intimidating, the scars of her past were well hidden, a beautiful young mother of three.
Veronica was the eldest daughter at 13, intelligent, artistic and rebellious, a heart of a lion, and my second sister Eleanor was 10 always a bit of an attention seeker, the middle child, I always felt that she was scarred by something deeper but she cared deeply for us, she was sensitive and brutal all at once. We were the prefect storm, nothing could stop us, it was just the four of us. Life seemed seamless.
Growing up in Verwoerdburg South Africa was bliss, it never ceased to be beautiful, traditional, and very Afrikaans, a leafy suburb where most of my childhood would play out. It had a warmth to it, familiar and it was hidden from the world.
We were weekend kids, having been brought up by my Mother and our domestic Anne, Anne was Zulu and brought with her a sense of order, she was hard working, caring and smart. She took care of the house and of us whilst mother was out fighting for a place in the dick swinging world of IT, however, we lived in a beautiful house and had what we needed and some more, I could not want for anything other than a father figure to instill the manuscript of patriarchy to balance the overwhelming female imbalance.
For a single woman to achieve what she did with three kids, a rottweiler chickens and domestic was hard, but she did so well at it. She was our provider and her LOVE for us was infinite, I remember the warm cozy living room which sunk into the floor and was covered by a white lush carpet. The times we spent in there were memories I would hold onto for the rest of my life.
It was just us, the three strongest woman in my life, the intimacy of having so much love and happiness around. The patient teaching of shoe lace tying was mastered with their guidance. I was happy.
My father divorced my mother when I was just 18 months old, in later years I would find out that he just fell out of love with her, also something I learned the reality of not too long ago but we found the golden cord which kept my wife and I together.
Its summer of 1989, and Mothers heart was yearning for a stable relationship, John was tall with penetrating eyes, deep blue (even when I write about this I can still see the oblique front he put forward), but she fell for it and he knew that the next chapter for him and his three sons, together with the four of us would complete a need within him. The need to destroy, control and erode the very thing that was keeping us together.
How could she have known, he was introduced to her, she had no idea who he really was............
The day is sweltering hot, mother passes me a plastic cup with cream soda in it, and in the other hand I have a wet soaked crisp, all sticky and salty, but heaven could not get any closer as we all soaked up the blissful front garden complete with a spread of picnic nibbles freshly laid out for all the guests when suddenly our dog lady awkwardly lifts her front legs up and hops up to attack the car at the front gate.
It was a Ford pick-up, and peering out the window was a boy my age, blonde, blue eyes with the biggest smile on his face minus a few front teeth, a kindred joyful lad and a possible friend! I could not believe my eyes, this day was just about to hit its zenith.
As the car pulls in, I am intrigued by whom they are and step closer pulling away from mothers hand on my shoulder whilst feeling the slight hesitation in letting me go to greet these strangers.
Standing beside the car, you could hear the heat tinkering off the hood, the cooling fan still running and four figures with stretched necks scurrying to get out the car. First out was Little John jnr, followed by curly haired older boy called Ronnie and then the eldest Andre, a striking young man with a softness in his eyes not seen by me before.
Little John immediately shakes my hand, pulling it up and down in a clownish way, tucking his chin in and tilting his head to the left, its not the way they did it in the TV show Dallas, those cowboys being my only example of what men acted like immediately contradicted this over eager decorum. As quick as it happened I suddenly found myself taken to the back of the pick-up, where we climbed in and I was given the grand tour of all his toys which was nowhere near as good as mine, I was not about to extend the same courtesy to him in showing him my toys.
We return to the picnic not saying much other than him talking non stop, I was never a talker, I just watched people, intensely and tried to learn as much as I could before opening up, "Nicky"! mother calls and before I could answer i'm presented with Mother on one knee, both hands on my upper arms before she turns me to face John Snr. and introduces me to what later I would hate for the rest of my life.
The smell of sweat, mixed with cheap old spice cologne hits me and with a nicotine filled "hello"! as he bends over slightly and wraps both my hands in his, they were clammy and just as sleazy as his blue chequered shirt and white shorts, with those god awful blue flip-flops. He wasn't my dad and the way she looked at him and me, I could feel the desperation in wanting to see if he was willing accept all of her baggage.
I was naturally arrogant as the world revolved around me being the youngest, but I saw how much it meant to her and caved, he was in.
That mother fucker caught a break and he took it with a smile.................................................
The smell of coffee and breakfast pancakes travels through the house, slowly greeting each of us, drifting and winding through the air, bird song and distant dogs barking, the side of my face is soar, rough, and numb.
I've been hiding biscuits in my bed and it inevitably ended up on my cheek, not to mention the pieces of last weeks chewing gum still stuck in my hair, mom cut most of it out but left a bit as a reminder not to do it again. I woke up loved, warm, it was really the best feeling, we never felt uneasy, mother made it special and Anne was always there to hug and give us the same motherly love as she would her own. If I could wish for one thing , that would be a world where every kid could wake up like this, feeling loved.
Saturday's were spent playing in the garden, where Anne would catch pigeons and cook chicken feet, her sons used to visit and we had a ball, even at this time we were aware that we came from two different worlds, you only had to switch on the TV to realise that it was cotton white, but I never realised the political system was so draconian, that as young as I was, I was classed as master and superior (mind fuck)
Mother didn't see it that way, the acceptance of everything and everyone ran in our blood, forgiveness and compassion with a deeper understanding of the world around us was always the order of the day, shielding us from reality as deep down she knew it wouldn't last long, the country was changing......
A scream, and nervous laughter echo's through the house, Veronica spotted a spider, "a spider" Veronica exclaims, mamma !! a spider, just outside my bedroom there he stood, legs up and ready to pierce anyone with its needle sharp fangs, hairy too! it was a rain spider, Eleanor runs to the kitchen and gets a whisky tumbler to place over the spider, but we didn't think of what we would do once it was captured.
As soon as the glass went
There's more where that came from!