I had a home in Africa, a real home, with a garden and laundry drying in the back yard and friends who came over and stayed for dinner.
The little house that you see in the backyard, that's where Jerry Thebe lived. He was the son of the landlord. Jerry was a very happy young man who went to school every day to study computers. He often went to church and Bible study too.
Sometimes we invited him into dinner.
The twisty tree is a classic African acacia. Why go to a national park when I could see this tree in my own backyard?
My backyard -- sure I paid rent and I was a guest in this country, but at least for a time it was mine, and I could feel the peace and quiet.
Drying laundry meant domestic bliss to me -- something about the movement of sun-dried clothes in the afternoon breeze meant home to me more than anything.
And friends, sitting in the shade while dinner cooks over a fire. We had a proper electric stove in the kitchen, but this was a party, our wedding day, so we cooked the sadza in the backyard.
The man in the white shirt, sitting in the shade of the small tree, was a special guest -- Joseph was a waiter at the Palace Hotel and it was Joseph who introduced me to Precious that fateful evening in February, 1997.
You know, honestly, I have white-washed this story and taken out all the bad parts. This is a work of fiction and selective memory. Maybe the wedding and marriage was not such a good idea, but you can see this backyard and how undramatically lovely it was, and you can see how a fellow might convince himself that it would be all right. And it was all right, for a while.