You wake up early. It is Sunday morning. Church is as boring as usual but you wait patiently for it to end. As you walk out, chatting heavily with your long time friend, one of your little goon cousin walks up to you with a friend in tow. You know most of their friends because somewhere along the way, you became like a subjugate mother to them. They tell you things. They ask you for stuff. You scold them like it is the last thing you will do before you die and after you are done, they give you a high five and laughter so deep and true that you can’t help but join in.
The friend you are introduced to is short, slim, brown and young. So young you start gambling with yourself about how old he is. A sweet boyish smile seems to be fixated on his face. He is funny, that much you can tell. Somewhere along the way, you (of course being the elder and more sensible) realize that you have no sense of direction. He studies at Sagana Technical Centre. You live some 8.5 kilometres away from there, but right now you are standing at the middle. Of course, you can’t be allowed in at the Technical Centre so you propose the only logical solution that you have: you welcome him to come home with you. He enthusiastically agrees.
He is a joker. He makes you laugh. He keeps the conversation going. He is a jovial man by nature. He is a little below or above nineteen. You settle home and he fits right in like he belongs. Your mum loves him; you can tell. All of you do. And then duty calls. You are the only person in that house without a duty so you get to stay with him. He is talkative but you are a researcher; more like a social investigator. So you get down to business. He is easy to question and even more forthcoming with information.
He is a brave little guy, tough for a person his age, focused and intelligent. He has a short temper paired with a very long thread of finality. He is a man in his own league. He makes decisions and sticks with them; something rare in most men today.
But he is not like most men of today: he grew up without a mother. She died when he was around eight. He grew up watching his father and missing his mother. He doesn’t know the love of a mother. He doesn’t know how to be pampered. He doesn’t know emotional attachment. He knows how to be bland and decisive and ruthless in decision making. He knows how to stand his ground and to get what he wants. He knows exactly what he wants with his life and he goes for it. His father is rarely involved but is always on the sideline watching his son evolve, grow, mature. From your conversation, you can’t tell whether or not he can feel his father’s love but from looking at him, and the fact that his father raised him single-handedly, you can imagine the magnitude of love he holds for his only son.
His body language betrays him. You can tell that he wants what you have with your mum but he is afraid to open up to her. She is a stranger to him after all, and you understand. You feel him, want to touch him, tell him that it is going to be okay. But you can’t because one lesson life has taught you is that pity doesn’t raise hope; advice and support do. So, you and your cheeky cousin do what you do best, you suck him into a life of carefree laughter, you make him feel at home and you let him know that he is appreciated. Your mother does the same too, albeit in her own way. All of you let him know that he is welcome to become a part off the family, to come fill the gaps, to come be a part of you; to build himself.
He leaves for school, as does the rest of the gang. You think about him long after he is gone. Years of psychology have taught you to let the other person contact you first but you feel like you want to make an exception. You want to give him a family he can rely on, a sister he can count on and a house of laughter and love that is always waiting for him. But from years of experience, you know that he won’t accept it. So you let go but you send him off with your love.
As you watch the hormone filled gang disappear around the corner, you go back home with a smile. You know you will see him again because James will be back again. Home is a place we always come back to. And you know he will be successful and happy and strong. That is what he is already. Happy-go-lucky, confident, ambitious and appreciative Martin.


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