I am driving down from the Island…….
I am listening to David Whyte’s CD “What to remember when waking” . He is talking about how to live fully in your everyday life. He speaks of the trauma of separation by death of a loved one and mentions that at some point after you have expanded the area around your grieved core you have to release the memories
Every year as July approaches I am confident that I have released the memories attached to the point of grief . Some people from my family feel that grieving is only allowed for three days, and it has been a long time to grieve for some one. I am not grieving I tell myself, I am just remembering and thankfully now I can remember without the debilitating pain associated with it. Perhaps it is too long to continue to remember and miss the person, grieve the loss. Perhaps in some traditions it is not allowed but does the heart listen to what is allowed and what is not?
When you think you are almost at the point of release of the memories, there is an unforeseen trigger…… that brings back the empty cubby in my heart, just like one in preschool which remains waiting for the absent student.
I think now I am almost there ready for release, and yet today as I enter Normandy Farms outside Charleston and go to the glass case showing all the goodies I am transported and rooted to the spot.
I stand silent. I am no longer in Charleston but in Savannah. We are soaked to the skin, after a soccer game played in pouring rain where the puddles were up to my knees. At the end of the game everyone is voraciously hungry, too hungry to wait out the two hour drive home.
Tariq, his two friends and I apologetically enter with our dripping clothes and broken umbrellas into this small corner café in a side street of Savannah. I feel I have entered another country. I could be in Cuba or Puerto Rico. They are playing lilting Spanish music, the cashier has straight black hair and the soft accent that comes from spanish english. I have to do a double take to remind myself I am in the deep south, redneck country, and not in Florida.
I have two other players with me besides Tariq. Each orders a sandwich and looks for the usual chocolate fix, but there is none. It seems the other soccer team has already cleaned out this little café near the field. “would you like one of the pies ?” I ask pointing to the last few pieces of key lime pie in the glass case. The two boys respectfully decline ” No thank you Ma’am”
I check out the key lime pie slices in the glass case they are not like the neat pieces you see in Sams Club, mass produced in a factory. I ask Tariq if he wants some, he is hesitant, the other two boys have already refused, peer pressure is warring with hunger inside him. I order one for myself as I have never been able to eat American sandwiches gracefully.
As we sit down, the sandwiches are inhaled in minutes and Tariq looks thoughtfully at my key lime pie of which I have only eaten one bite. I can see he is still hungry.
“Mom may I try that” he asks pointing to my key lime pie. I push the plate with the almost intact slice of key lime pie to him, and in seconds the plate only has a few crumbs left.
“Mom that was good! Lets get another piece since you did not get to eat this one”
We go back to the glass case and all the key lime pie slices are sold out.
“So sorry Mom but it was good, as you had said, thank you” I look at his happy twelve year old face flushed with the exertion of playing, his dark hair, rain washed, hangs over his forehead, his green/hazel eyes look at me in regret and a few crumbs hang at the corner of his lips. I smile, I am happy that he has added one of my favorites to his palate repertoire.
We walk out soaked but happy and covering the car seats with towels and foot mats with newspaper sped home leaving behind the little Latin restaurant in the heart of the deep south, clinging to its Latin culinary secret of the genuine key lime pie. The latin baker generously sharing his secret of home made key lime pie with the southerners teaching them the sharp sweetness of the Latin world where the bitter and the sweet reside side by side.
Memory triggers are strange beings. When they kick in a memory, it is replete with the sight sound and smell of the place………… a hologram of life. Life as you see it now recedes and you enter a hologram of the memory with all the senses intact.
I am sobered with the reminder where Allah says in the Quran and I paraphrase: I will show you your actions (like a movie or a hologram) in Akhirah and you will know what you earned in dunya.
I pray Tariq gets the best key lime pie in Jannah and that he can sit and enjoy it with his friends and maybe leave a bite for me to share with him in the blessed verdant arbor of Jannat ul Firdous. May Allah take me there!