My Child, My Life
Sometimes we tend to forget that people older than us have lived basically the same lives as us. They have loved, was loved, had the trial and tribulations of children, they have lived in a different era and could be a fountain of information, yet we tend to look for our history in books.
I was born in the second decade of the twentieth century. I lived through a world war and after the largest stock market crash in America's history, a great depression.
I lived in a time before television before the internet. I lived from the beginning to the end of Apartheid. I lived all the way through the rise and fall of Nazism.
I was born when the Benguela-Katanga, Africa's first cross-continental railroad line, was completed, when the Empire State Building, then the tallest in the world, was completed, and when the longest bridge in the world opened over the Zambezi River.
I was born in an era when The Queen Mary crossed the Atlantic in three days, twenty-three hours, and fifty-seven minutes, when the population of the United States was a mere one hundred and fifteen million.
I was a toddler when Gone with the Wind won an Academy Award, and the Wizard of Oz starring Judy Garland was released. I was born at the same time as Mickey Mouse, and Alexander Fleming only then discovered penicillin.
Now I am old, almost ninety years old. I sit here in a silent miasma. I have so much to share, so many stories of a time long forgotten that I could tell you. Once I was young. Once I loved and once, I was loved. My life has not been easy, and I was never rich. I tried my best with what I had.
I am always cold and most of the time I just fall asleep. Deep in sleep, my toothless mouth hangs open, and if not for the faint fall and rise of my chest, which you so often look for, I might be mistaken for a mummified corpse. My skin hangs loose from my bones and eczema makes my life hell. My hearing aid bellows all day—I am online, the sound announces to the world, but no one is in the cubicle. I have cataracts on both my eyes; I can hardly make out shapes. No one talks to me.
Sometimes I hear you, for whom I have sacrificed so much, arguing amongst yourselves – who will be paying for the old aged home, or who should look after me next.
Did I once consider putting you, my dear child, into an orphanage, because you spilled your tea or because you would not eat your food? Did I reprimand you sternly when you could not sleep at night? Did I turn against you? If ever you felt unloved – I am so sorry.
All my life I lived for you, I sacrificed for only you. I loved you from that moment I felt you flutter in my womb.
I know at times I might seem needy; I might seem unappreciative and I might seem obstinate. I might spend hours in the bathroom because I fell asleep on the toilet, but I will try harder each day. I will do my best, if you let me stay, if you do not send me away. The rest of my life is in your hands.
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