Hello” the voice said
Its your sister, I replied.
A man came to the phone, I could feel the energy building up inside me. In those days we had a red pillar box to make our telephone calls, this one was situated like below, in a secluded spot at the bottom of my road, on another day I would have been concerned, but the day I made the call, well nothing mattered. I heard the machine beep to insert a coin. I fumbled for my coins to extend my call, but My brother told me to hang up so he could call me.
Trust issues screamed at me…
I told him it was fine, simply because I was scared that he wouldn’t call me back straightaway. I had brought with me a lot of coins with me that day. however, he insisted, and true to his word he called me back. I stood in the red call box, for what seemed like hours, in fact it was only twenty minutes, but we spoke about how I obtained his number, and my father, life in UK, my mum and about lots of things, we basically summarized our lives. He told me he had six children and the youngest was 11 years old. I was so excited. My brother was twenty years senior but I was happy and straight away thought of him as my savior.
I told him I wanted him to give me away at my wedding and he agreed, without a second thought.
I couldn’t contain my excitement, at the end of the call we agreed to meet up. He said he would come to my home to meet me, I didn’t tell him about my relationship with D. I didn’t tell him about the sad parts anyway, there was no need as yet. Somehow I felt embarrassed. Although it felt like we always knew each other. I’m not sure if it was because I instigated it or because it was a natural occurrence.
When I came off the telephone I ran home in a daze, the conversation going over and over in my mind. I had a brother the words seem to scream at me.
Naturally I told D, that MY BROTHER was coming to the house he didn’t seem to mind and appeared pleased. I can recall thinking yes, I have a big brother now, a big man just like you.
We had arranged for him to come the following Sunday, and I decided to cook traditional Sunday dinner. I ran around getting all the best ingredients and cooked our traditional rice and peas and chicken I wasn’t that good at cooking and everything I learnt was from observing D and his family. But that day I was careful, I prepared the best dinner all the love and care went into it. I was pleased with myself.
Dinner was prepared before he arrived, my heart was beating in my chest. I was excited, the children were excited, well D, he was just matter-of-fact, after all and after many years it was my sibling coming to the home.
I peeped out the window at exactly the same time to see him coming.
As I looked out I saw a man walking up the path, I had created an image in my mind but this was not what I was expecting; because marching up the path was a man that had my fathers face. Now, this moved me, here I was waiting to see my brother and instead I saw my fathers face. The difference between the two men was the height. My father was tall around 6ft’ x 6″ while my brother was around 5’ft and 7″. He was a carbon copy.
In a strange sort of way I was spooked, the last time I had seen my fathers face was when I left Jamaica, and now my fathers image was fading, but he restored my mrmory.
My brother walked towards me, I knew he could see my teeth shining as a lighthouse because I was grinning. He didn’t drive but he arrived early and I gave him the biggest hug, before he entered the house. I didn’t want to let go as it was if he had taken away the years of longing for my own family in that few seconds. He smiled as we went in and sat down. I noticed that although he had my fathers face, from what I could remember it was easy to put that aside as he had a completely different mannerism to my father.
After a while and my brother was comfortable, I asked him if he was ready to eat, we didn’t have a table at the time and so, I handed him his meal on a tray. He enjoyed his meal and said what a great cook I was. Someone was praising me for a job well done, and that someone was my brother; up to this point in my life no one had ever offered me praise, that would be my first time.
We spent a lovely day, with my brother and he had met all my children, and ironically he liked D. I called my neighbor over and introduced him to her, she said to me he resembled her older brother. I was grinning from ear to ear.
I was happy,
Well I was happy in the moment, something was deeply troubling me though as although I felt happy, I do recall that I wasn’t actually sure what happy meant, as I wasn’t sure at that point in my life how to be happy. I had become use to my life and I followed the motions on a daily basis. I definitely knew what sadness meant as those feelings of emptiness had created a hold on my life. leaving me a negative pessimistic individual, always expecting the worse to happen.
I had to tell myself this time…I was happy.
Yes! I told myself maybe this was what happy felt like. Therefore I enjoyed the moment. I thought to myself if the feeling of excitement, and the constant smiling was “happy” then maybe I was happy. To this day, I associated my first feeling of happy in the UK with meeting my brother.
My children had an uncle from my side for the first time, and this time they all shared the same blood. This was by far the one of the best day for me.
During our conversation my brother asked me where I was living when I first came to the UK and I told him the area Kensal rise. When he said he was living there too I was surprise he gave me the name of the road and behold it was the same road I lived on when I arrived in the UK; with my mum.
I lived at number 99…. My brother then said to me he lived at….wait for it .. number 101..
Looking at the image above, courtesy of Google images. I lived at the white house with the see through doors, to the right whilst my brother lived at the slight light pink house also to the right. This was shocking that meant we were direct neighbors from the first moment I arrived in the UK.
He said he lived there for over fifteen years before he moved deeper into London. As I calculated the date I realized we lived together until I was twelve years old I found it hard to believe my brother was living next door, that made me sad at all the lost years in between. I felt sad as I remembered being locked in the room during the Christmas period and asking Santa Claus to remember me. At this point I also remembered the children next door who would throw their balls into the garden, and I would watch as the landlords children would throw them back. The odd times I would dare to venture in the garden, I would watch the children playing freely wishing it was me.
Now I was being told these children next door were my nieces and nephews. I wandered how my life would have turned out.?
“Never mind he is here now”, I thought
As I write this I remember my favorite scripture.
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you saith the Lord, plans to prosper and not to harm”
But at that time God was not in my thoughts. ironic that at the time of writing this the verse should spring to mine. I guess God is trying to tell me something..
It was now time for him to leave, and I got up to put my coat on to walk him to the bus stop, as we headed down the street, I thanked him for coming and locked my arm in his, I was like a little girl. I was able to tell him how nice it was to belong. . We started talking about the area I lived, he said I lived in the country as there was hardly anyone on the roads. I smiled..
As I turned to answer him he said. “You look just like Zigg. “Whose that” I asked surprised
“your brother”. Was his reply, What! Another one.
“Didn’t you know you had a brother name Zigg??”