I remember the day I landed in Sweden. It was early July, and the Scandanavian summer was in full swing. I was so excited to finally be away from Johannesburg where the winter seemed to drag on forever.
He came to pick me up from the airport and we drove along with the radio playing in the background. I always love being in Sweden. There's this distinct feeling that reminds me of everything that we were ever taught that we should want and aspire to be.
I was so lost in my reverie that when He asked me what I planned to do for the time I was there, I said without a second thought:
"Anything. Everything. I'm on vacation. I can do anything I want to do, and I can be anyone I want to be. I can even be 'Maria' if I want to be".
Noah sat at the back of the car, half asleep, silently observing rolling hills through drooping eyelids. He was quiet as usual; brooding as usual; his mind far away. As usual. It's always evident in his eyes. The entire universe dances around his irises, the depths of which seem to never end - as he stares out. I turned back to face the front and said to Him, "he has too many emotions and thoughts for a 5 year old".
The rest of the journey was uneventful and passed by rather quickly. It wasn't long before we reached "home" for the summer, where the weeks dragged on like a dream. But like most things in life, what had become a lovely routine had to end, eventually. We said some heartfelt goodbyes, shared hugs, kisses and promises of another time together. Soon.
It's always difficult for me to leave.
Four months after that day. A month of video calls later, we fill the spaces with timelines of things said and done, talking about life and what lies ahead. More kisses and promises, this time caught in the air, travelling through fibre optic cables at lightning speed.
I had sent my regards to everyone, and wanted one final goodbye with Noah. I blew a kiss from afar, waving, saying: "Heido Noah. As-salaam-alykum".
And without even looking up from his Super Mario video game, he said: