MICHAEL FLYS TO CAPE TOWN TO SEE HIS BROTHER FINISH.
This post is NOT going to David.
Michael and his brother Dave, have always been close.
They grew up together in Africa, a time that is fondly remembered by both.
When they are together, it is as if they were never apart. They instantly fall into hysterics when reminiscing over the many stories of yesterday.
The holidays on Lake Kariba, the New Years parties, the house parties and the mammoth cycles they attempted together with nothing but a couple of dollars in their shorts, are precious memories that they own.
I often say to Michael,
“It’s a shame you don’t have many photos of those times”
Michael of course, who has never been one in need of possessions, simply responds with;
“Babe, it’s all up here” ….pointing to his head.
Michael left Zimbabwe at the age of 19 when he was granted a scholarship to study any University degree of his choice, anywhere in the world.
Reluctant to leave home, he worked for a while and took a gap year, to think about this opportunity further.
His decision was to fly to Australia and accept the opportunity to study a degree in Engineering at the University of Western Australia.
His heart was broken in two when he headed off to explore unfamiliar territories, leaving behind his closest most dear friends and family. It was not a happy time.
As his scholarship only paid for tuition and accomodation, he had no money and no means by which to go home during the breaks.
So as Michael does, with a grand total of $1-25 in the bank, he made a plan. He worked so hard, that his University results were of the highest in the state, and consequently he was granted annual scholarships from engineering companies. This was enough to pay for one air ticket.
Not a cent was spent during the uni year on irrelevant items, his air ticket money carefully protected and set aside to purchase the ticket that to him, was worth a million suns. The ticket home.
A ticket home, every year, for four years, where his heart was nourished and his energies to finish his degree were re-built.
Dave and Mike had some golden times in those breaks. It was during this time, that Michael truly learnt the value of family, and how they were not simply people he was related to, but an extension of himself. They had been his whole life, the creators of his sense of self, an influence on his identity.
…and you know what? He has never lost that. He speaks to his parents once a fortnight and hears of David’s shenanigans on a regular basis.
They remain, and always will be, a part of each other.
So if we fast forward a few years, living arrangements are such that Michael is here, with us, and Dave is there, in Zim. There is a lot of water under the bridge for both of them now, 20 years later, as they pursue their careers and build their lives into their story.
I could probably count the number of times on one hand that Michael and David have seen each other over the past decade, and sometimes, in his quiet moments, I catch him staring out the window, quietly pondering what his family are all up to in that moment. That’s hard. Like a bottomless hole, that can never be filled.
Deep, deep, down, his heart is sore, as his brother, will always be…his brother.
This brings me to let the cat out of the bag.
Some of you may know that David is currently involved in an epic cycling journey. He is attempting to break the world record for the fastest human crossing of the African continent.
The world record is 41 days and 10 hours….
David is on target to smash it in 38 days.
Michael has been following his every move via the Internet, hoping he is safe and well at all times. I have caught him sneaking a peak at his iPad at completely odd times in the middle of the night, just to check in on his brothers progress.
Two weeks ago, he bought a golden ticket laden with heart and soul, hope and anticipation, to Cape Town, to meet his brother, at the finish line.
David does not know that his brother is going to be there, and I am certain it’ll be one of those moments in time that they’ll never forget.
So two days ago, Michael jumped on a plane, and he now waits at the finish line, for his brother to come.
‘Don’t worry about photos, babe. Just stand there and soak it up. I know you’ll keep it safe in your head, as you would say, for you to draw on freely, whenever you want.’
Selfishly, I long to be there too. To witness the joy and the relief and the outpouring of emotion that only family and close friends can truly feel, but at the same time, I understand this is exactly as it should be.
This precious moment, with his broken, beard clad, beautiful brother, irrespective of what others say or do, is owned by them.
They will be 16 again, for a few minutes, when they first spot each other, for ones heart never ages.
It’s important that they have this, and I am so, so happy that Michael, in perhaps one of Dave’s darkest hours, will be there to hold him up, when he is unable to do so himself.