A lovely German lady who lives in my estate. Small and strong. Determined. Soft white hair resting lightly on her forehead. Green eyes which sparkle with youth. Blue eyeliner. A gold broach. She smiles with love, with trust.
Yesterday I was almost at my estate gate when I saw Gisela walking along the road carrying two heavy bags. She marched on determinedly in the midday heat. I got out of my car and offered to drive her to her house. And she told me her story.
Her name is Gisela and she is 77 years old. She says she feels her age. But her eyes tell a different story. She grew up in a small town in the south of Germany and immigrated to South Africa in 1967 with her husband and their first child. She told me about her children and her grandchildren. Her one grandchild, Anais, lives with her. She also told me about the love of her life. She lost him a year ago over Christmas time. As she said that, she looked at me with her youthful, searching eyes.
“But I cannot think of that now…I cannot hold onto it. If I do, I won’t be able to speak.”
I put my arm around her shoulder.
We arrived at her house and I carried her bags inside. She turned to me and smiled. I can still hear her accent.
“I cannot believe that I am letting somebody else carry my bags!”
She laughed with absolute delight while she brought her hand to her chest.
She welcomed me into her home and we continued to chat. When it was time to go, she put her hands on my shoulders and pulled me in for a tight squeeze.
“I feel like you gave me Christmas!”