When I was a little girl
there lived a young couple
above our house
a young woman with short hair
just as I have now.
How we tend to find ourselves
in places we had seen someone else!
Many evenings while I played in our yard
she’d lean on the balcony
watching me
the sky too held her eye
only for so long.
Sometimes mama and the lady
had parties to plan
not that she was interested much
but my mama was the boss’s wife.
So, she smiled at us
and brought us cakes
even stitched me a Miss Universe sash
for a fancy dress competition
that I nearly won.
All those summer afternoons
she fascinated me
her fetching smile
those gentle eyes
as a six-year-old
I had never seen a lady so pretty
yet, so sad.
I asked Mamma
‘What’s wrong with her?’
To which she replied
‘Her baby had a hole in the heart’.
Mama tapped her chest
and I felt scared
could I get one too
a hole in the heart?
The story came piece by piece
the baby had died as a baby
she never grew up.
And so I thought
I know why the lady looks so sad
now she was the one with a hole in the heart.
Nearly four decades later
I think of her
life has taught me much
everyone I know has a hole in the heart
I check mine
and it’s right there
just sitting in a corner all by itself.
It’s as if life has made a vow
that yes I’ll be good if not perfect for you
I’ll keep you safe
I’ll give you wings
You can fly
but just remember that hole in your heart
It’ll bring you down
If you try to fly too far.
And there, I thought
of the lady above my house
with the pretty smile
that never reached her eye.
It was time to do
what she had done
make peace with the pain
and not drive it away
it isn’t possible the pain will stay
only peace will fill that hole
and make it whole someday
I sure hope so…

Photo credit: Anand Om, SBA