When I showed the second week of April to Babu it was really the last passage, Sunday, that we spent the most time on. At first I tried to prod her about Drobey AKA “Caveman” and I think the only way I’ll ever know is if I ever find the previous year’s diary. All she told me, again, was that he lived in the same house and that he was a very nice boy. She said it in a way – that I read into at least – would have crushed the soul of a teenage boy. He was very nice seems to be all she was going to give. Friend zoned. Big time. I push a little saying – “It looks like he was sweet on you…” But she got distracted onto another topic. Usually I can tell if she is dropping the subject or has trailed off, but here I can’t.
She simply begins to talk about her father. “I had the best father. I was so lucky.” I tried to ask her what she thought that conversation that went “Dad and I had a talk over old times, present times, etc. Marriage” was about in more detail. But there was no way to know so I asked, “What kind of advice do you think he gave you about marriage?” She still simply shook her head. But she did have plenty in her memory banks. She remembers he used to teach her many prayers in Polish. “I wonder why it was my father who taught me and not my mother…” I learned once that anthropologically speaking, religion almost always passed from the maternal line. However, I could certainly understand why her father spent this time with her and not her mother. Babu’s mother worked full time in the mills downtown, walked home and spent hours in the garden, what I have in the backyard is a shame in comparison to what she had, she kept house, and she knitted, embroidered, sewed…She was always busy. And she liked to be.
“My mother was always…” She moved her hands fast around her head and made high pitched “oooo oooo ooo” noises “and he was always..” she let her arms down and little and swayed side to side slowly and made lower pitch “doo doo doo” noises. He liked to take the time to slow down and he took the time to teach these prayers to her. She closed her eyes and spoke the one prayer that she remembers, a long one. I amazed because some days she remembers this prayer and some days she can’t remember any of it. But today she knows it all and she takes a long time to think about the proper translation and tell it to me in the best way possible. At the end of it she came to a sweet revelation. More so than her mother being too busy to take the time for these kind of things, Babu deduced that her mother probably wanted her to have this meaningful time alone with her father. As different as the two of them were, they seemed to have a love marriage and raised a lovely family.