There are some people that you meet in this life that you never quite forget I’m not talking about celebrities or politicians I am talking about ordinary who give the best of themselves to the world and the people around them. One such person in my life was a wonderful woman by the name of Virginia Mavuza.
Virginia – a twenty-year-old young woman with eight fingers and one thumb – she chose to have her other thumb cut off and have her cheeks scored with a dull blade as part of a rite-of-passage that every African woman of a certain age must partake in – came looking for work as a housekeeper in my home even before I was born so Virginia is a part of every one of my childhood memories – she fed, clothed us and sung to us. My mother would never admit it but, I think she was really hurt that we never shed a tear when she left for work, she would be like “okay guys I’m leaving for work now” and we would be “Virginia can you sing us a song”. I remember this one time she put a hot iron on my right thigh – totally by accident – the poor thing apologized profusely but, the burning of my skin wasn’t the real story, the real story lies in the fact that even after she ACCIDENTLY put a hot iron on my thigh it never once crossed their minds that they should fire her because they knew that she would NEVER intentionally hurt either me or my sister.
When my parents chose to move us to the ‘big city’ we asked Virginia if she wanted to come with us, she said no – she wanted to live close to her son – so she stayed behind and worked for my aunt and her husband – who lived next door – and every time Virginia heard we were coming back to visit my aunt she would literally be waiting to open the gate for us – it was the sweetest thing. I will never forget our last conversation she wanted me to tell her everything that was going on in my life and I remember being so annoyed because I wanted to get back to the movie I was watching anyway before we knew it the weekend was over and it was time to head back home she help me put on the seatbelt, shut the passenger-seat door and said “see you next time”.
A few months later, we receive a call from my aunt saying Virginia had been hospitalized for complications of hypertension so I’m thinking they are going to give her medication and she’s going to be as-good-as -new but, two days later we get another call from my aunt telling us that Virginia had passed – in that moment I knew the true meaning of heart-break. I was crying for days because I believed there was nothing left of Virginia and then one day I was in front of a full-length mirror – naked – and I caught a glimpse of my right-thigh – with the ugly burn mark that I had been trying to erase for over half my life – as I was looking at my scar it occurred to me that just like the scar the love that Virginia and I share will never disappear and now every time I look at my scar I remember just how much Virginia loved me