A few days ago I came across a flippant social media entry I posted a few years ago, thanks to timehop which serves up your past social media posts, along these lines “I don’t trust a God who would prioritise someone’s love life over important matters such as world peace, and global hunger.” I do not recall what prompted the post, but reading it now without any context it seems to mean that God/dess isn’t or shouldn’t be personal, our little human dramas are not worthy of her attention.
This morning I was reading a book called Serpent of Light, where I came across the following declaration; “Earth is not a rock; she has a name and a personality in the cosmos. And believe me, she knows your name.” This concept that Mother Earth knows my name immediately filled me with love, awe and respect. This sentence and my reaction to it occupied my mind as I drove to work, then seemingly out of nowhere two memories from many mes ago (I have evolved quite a bit since) came flooding back.
It was the morning of new year’s day. My live-in love and I were driving back from a New Year’s Eve party. For some seemingly illogical reason, we had a passenger, another friend. I didn’t question why he was tagging along, even though he lived pretty far from us and the intention was to go home and sleep. When we arrived at our house my boyfriend announced that he was going to drop our friend off. It struck me as odd, but I was too tired to question any of it. I got out of the car by myself, looking forward to some good sleep. I woke up a few hours later, to an empty house. My boyfriend still wasn’t back. I realised that I had left my phone in the car. A sense of dread cloaked me. My boyfriend liked booze and cocaine in large quantities. He’d had a stint in rehab. We’d spent the past few months pretending that he was clean even though he was far from it. It dawned on me that the only reason we’d had a passenger was for him to have an excuse to leave without me.
The idea of spending New Year’s day alone totally ripped my soul apart. This was a huge possibility. I knew from experience that he could easily be AWOL for hours or even days. I decided to embark on the 20 minute walk, in the blazing January sun, up to the local shopping centre, in the hopes that they had public phones I could use. It was my car he’d gone off in because he’d written his own off, driving from a club high and drunk. Fortunately the shopping centre did have public phones. I called his phone and it went unanswered. No surprises there, but you know, hope. I called my own phone hoping that wherever he was someone might hear it and pick up, it too went unanswered. After too many attempts at calling both phones I swallowed my pride and called my mom. The only other numbers I had committed to memory were a friend’s, who was of no use to me as she was away for the holidays and my mother’s. Mama didn’t pick up either, so I left a teary voice message and made my way back home fighting my tears back.
As I walked back I prayed silently “God, please don’t let me spend the first day of the year alone.” A few moments later a driver slowed down as he went past me and called out to me. I ignored him, I was in no mood to be hit on, and he was driving a GTi, you know how those guys are like. He continued to drive at my walking pace. I stopped and scowled at him. He asked; “Why do you look so miserable on New Year’s day? Would you like a lift?” I turned him down. He persisted, introducing himself. He started making small talk as he maintained his slow driving pace. I finally relented and got into his car out of sheer emotional and physical exhaustion. The temperature was in the high 30s. His name was Bongani, he’d gone to get some supplies from the shop. He asked again why I looked so miserable and I found myself sobbing my way through my predicament. He decided that I deserved some cheering up. When we got to my house, I brought out some drinks, made food and we hung out. He was very funny and brilliant at keeping my mind off my disastrous relationship. His girlfriend called, wanting to know why he wasn’t back from the shop so he went to pick her up and they came back to hang out with me. My mom had received my message and showed up a few hours later with my cousins, by that time Bongani, his girlfriend and I were having a blast. It turned into a full blown party. I didn’t spend the first day of the year by myself.
I wish I could say that I dumped my boyfriend shortly afterwards, I didn’t then but I did eventually. In the aftermath of that break-up which had taken a huge toll on me, I was pouring petrol on a Saturday afternoon. I’d just driven back from work, where I’d been hiding from my life. A car drove into the petrol station full of a crowd who appeared to be having the time of their lives. I looked at them longingly, and silently asked God/dess if I deserved such joy. Seemingly out of nowhere, a man knocked on my car window and handed me a bouquet of flowers, told me that a beautiful woman like me deserved beautiful flowers, got into his car and walked away.
God/dess knows my name. I bet she knows yours too.