We will get to the memories eventually – I am inching my way back there. But be assured that this relates to the wife because for me, everything does now.
Like all people today I am a hardened cynic. I do not believe that anything, ever, that somebody says or does, is done or said in good faith, and like all people I think everything that is said or done is an attack on my particular subculture (or for the racists among us, superculture, probably). But occasionally I can’t help to like something.
The company I work for has a bake sale tomorrow to support a former colleague; he is a Pakistani who helped to uncover cases of government corruption, and who had to flee his home country when he and his family were attacked as a consequence. He has to support his family, and he has a hard time doing so. I do not know him personally but I like the idea to support him a lot.
He reminds me for some reason of a student of Siobhan, if you want to call him a student; when the old school building in the neighbourhood was used as a facility to house refugees Siobhan helped out a little with language lessons, and accompanying people to the doctor and stuff. Strangely enough our right-wing factions like to complain how “those do-gooders think everyone is nice” and other nonsense; in fact the do-gooders usually have a far better insight into the problems of refugee work because, well, they are actually work with refugees instead of sitting at home and wining, and when deciding how much work to put in Siobhan usually focused on the more promising candidates.
One of them was a young man from Afghanistan. He had to leave the country because during the war he had worked for a company that provided logistics support to the coalition troops. He came under threat from the Taliban and was sent to Germany for safety. Now, no matter where you stand on the topic of immigration, you have to admit that somebody like that should not have to fight for a permit to stay in Germany, because as Germans most of us enjoy the advantages of a classic education and are aware that there is a special circle in hell prepared for those who turn their backs on those who helped them (Germany has since decided that Afghanistan is a “safe country” and refugees can be sent back there). What stood out was how normal he was – after listening to media reports you half expect every Afghan to be a religiously fanatic goat herder with dusty feet and a Ak-47 under his kaftan; but here was a young man who likes Bruno Mars and beautiful clothes and wants to carve out his niche in the world, only not today because there is some urgent hanging out with friends to do first and can’t we go easy on that crazy German grammar today (no, because you got to know the language if you want to make it here).
When it came to helping others Siobhan always would come up with some sensible and eminently practical idea. I am fresh out of practical ideas, and for all that I am a good cook I am pretty bad when it comes to baking. But the wife would have done something, so, to proceed with life in a way she would approve of, I can at least try to come up with a cake for Mohammad.