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If you ever loved somebody…

August 24, 2011

This morning I packed my tent and my mattress and left Kakata.  It felt like a dream.  All day yesterday David was singing a “Goodbye Auntie Leela” song but I kept making him stop because it made me sad.  “You can sing to me tomorrow!” I said.  And he laughed and smiled.

We ran the generator the night before and made popcorn.  I stayed up late listening to them tell “spider” stories and savoring every moment.  Was I really  leaving?  Was this really the last time?

Time was too short this morning.  I hurriedly gave my mom the card I made and the lapa I got for her and my dad and passed her a pile or colors and books for the kids.  She beamed.  She asked for my parents’ address and phone number so she could “thank them for you” and said she wanted to get my mom’s measurements so Prince could make her a suit.  “You will know someone going home in December?  They can take it.”  It was the sweetest thing.  She cooked food and packed it in my new thermos and on top was a card addressed to “My Baby Leela.”

Outside Krista took our picture, my dad rushing in on a pen-pen just in time.  I tried to say my goodbyes as the taxi driver waited and everyone got solemn and teary.  Princess stood with her back to me.  “Won’t you look at me and say goodbye?” I begged.  She shook her head.  I looked over and saw Sattah crying.  “Princess, give me a hug,” I commanded.  She turned around and buried her wet face in my shirt.  As we both cried I looked at David.  “You can sing now.”  He shook his head.  “It is too sorrowful.  I cannot sing.”  I told him I had left him a copy book.  “Keep reading and keep writing,” I said.  He nodded, crying.  The last week he devoured the Dr. Seuss books and laughed more than I’ve ever seen.  “Fine stories, Auntie Leela!”

Remembering at the last minute my mom ran through the garden tearing branches off the trees.  “My daughter needs flowers for her garden!”  I tore myself away and climbed into the car with my lap full of leaves.  I missed them already!

On the way to Krista’s we passed through the market and I jumped out to say goodbye to Titus and Samuel at the shop.  Nelly’s “Just a Dream” blasted from a nearby shop as I rushed down the narrow aisle.  I greeted Samuel and asked where Titus was.  Samuel pointed and Titus turned.  He grinned and sprinted to me arms outstretched.  He’s always had a little puppy crush on me and I lost it as we hugged in the middle of the market.  I said goodbye and pulled myself away.  “Will she come back? No one knows.  I realized it was only just a dream,” the bass thumped as I walked away weeping.  “If you ever loved somebody put your hands up… and now they’re gone and you’re wishing you could give them everything…”

I sit in my tent in Sanniquellie right now having had an amazing day, but still crying at the memory of this morning.  I miss them so much!  I wonder what they are doing right now and if they’re missing me.  As the day wore on and we started getting settled in the house I found myself looking for Luke and half expecting for him to run in, giggle, jump, and run out cackling.  Or to come to me with big eyes and a solemn face and ask for colors, miming it with his hands.  I left the duck book for him.  I hope Latricia lets him have it.

As I was leaving I tried to find words to express my gratitude, but came up with only, “Thank you so much.  You are real brothers and sisters to me.”  I was grateful I’d written letters to Latricia and Princess so they knew what I couldn’t say.  There is so much love to be had out in the world if you are only brave enough to let it in.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. September 30, 2011 1:16 pm

    Oh B, so begins another chapter in your great journey. Blessings to your family and friends there in Africa, here in the states, and to you! I’m sure this new chapter will bring many more new lessons, loves, and people happy to receive you!

  2. Andrea Penn permalink
    October 1, 2011 7:29 pm

    What a beautiful love you have for the people you have met…I’m sure there is more love in store for you where ever you go!

  3. Elaine permalink
    October 19, 2011 2:53 am

    Oh, Bekkah!!!

    There is so much love to be had out in the world if you are only brave enough to let it in. (!)

    Our lives have been busy with the littlest of things and I never want to rush when reading you lovely words, but I have let it go for too long! Luckily this story is timeless…

    I am so happy for this sadness, which comes from such rich experience. And I am in awe. And jealous.

    Love from all of us in DC, but especially me.


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