“The bondage of the rosary.”
What strange words the old woman had spoken, what a queer turn of phrase.
There had been no malice in her tone, no intent to harm. Just a simple statement. Her eyes, sharp with the clarity of perspective had looked earnestly at me. There was something about the piteous look she gave and the sadness of her tone that had alarmed me – much more that any word of disapproval could ever had done. It was as tough she was privy to a truth that I was not aware of. But something inside of me rose up determined to defend my faith and find out what that was.
“You wouldn’t be defending your faith, but rather your religion. Works, that’s all that it is. And terrible works at that.”
I sat there, cup and saucer in hand, flabbergasted.
“To repeat the rosary and to pray are two very different things.” she ended.
Pass me my cape! I’m a superhero. Read the t-shirt of the small boy who stood before me. He looked up earnestly, eyes round with wonder and a little bit of fear at the new turn of events. Instinctively, I crouched down to enable me to be at his level.
“Hi.” came the faint reply.
“Are you ready to go?” A quiet nod.
As I leaned in to help him with the small leather suitcase beside him, I caught him shyly turn and look behind.
I righted myself and looked towards the door. A small brown hand grasped the door frame and one eye cautiously looked on.
“Go on.” I said as I looked back to him. “You can say good-bye.”
As I walked out of the Faith Children’s Home a few minutes later I mused. I always knew that i’d adopt. The thought remained and persisted in the back of my mind through the years. I just never imagined that it would be under such circumstances.
Holding Jonathan’s hand, a being I was now responsible for, the weight of the responsibility came down, and simultaneously from within, strength from some previously unknown source swelled up.
To everyone else in the world, ‘Maasai’ was a Kenyan tribe. To me, ‘Maasai was the fleet of trucks that my father owned.
I still remember them, lined against the boundary wall of the company parking lot; short, white corrugated bodies with the ‘Maasai’ name emblazoned in red unmistakably on either side. On the driver’s side, the imprint of a moran warrior next to the owner details on the door. This last touch had been my idea. Dad had been delighted. He always said that I had lent to it a touch of sophistication.
“…Sophie?” called the lawyer, drawing me out of my reverie.
“We’ve agreed to sell the company interests.” reiterated by brother – a slight edge of irritation in his voice – when he realized that I hadn’t been paying attention.
Looking at my siblings seated around the lawyer’s table. It was then that I was finally able to understand, it would be me. I would be the one to continue my father’s legacy.
“No.” came my reply. And all hell broke loose in the room.
Walk along the street and to your right appears a small lane at the end of which sits a building. Concrete and grey glass facade gleaming in the afternoon sunlight; it’s mirrored effect reflecting the last of the sun’s rays, blue October sky above and the jacaranda tree in bloom beside it. High above in one of the uppermost floor, an errant indigo curtain flutters, a beautiful and stark contrast to the soft lavender blooms below.
Such is the beauty of everyday life.
“I came to the end. And I never got…”
The voice at the end of the line was abruptly cut off. Sharon hurriedly made her way up to the bedroom where she knew the network connection to be better. Excepting for the slight sound of static, the line remained silent.
“And so that’s all that I can advise you.” Came through the stranger’s voice. And with that, a final ‘click’ as she hang up.
Her one chance at discovering the truth about her past, her very self. Gone.
Incredulous, she remained there and all her mind could do was re-trace her attempts to get a clearer signal.
“Mom! Relax. It’s just entertainment.”
Elsie’s mother, who had been making her way out of the living room after issuing her instruction to switch off the program she had walked in on her watching, abruptly stopped and turned around. She looked at her now 14 year-old daughter with a curious look on her face; a mixture of incredulity and surprise.
Then after a short pause spoke.
“It’s not ‘just’ entertainment. Entertainment influences culture. Culture stems from learned behavior …and you’re being taught. I haven’t just now asked you to switch off a program, i’m also trying to tell you to watch the company you’re keeping.”
“…People who end up ‘first’ don’t actually set out to be first. They set out to do something they love.”
And with that last remark the Secretary of State stepped down from the podium to take her place among the rest of the panelists.
The crowd’s reaction was overwhelming. She sat down to a standing ovation. And whatever their reason for attending the forum, not one could deny the weight, the wisdom and the truth of her words that night. Condoleezza Rice had distinguished herself among friend and foe alike.