Sneak preview… Ronchi78: When you wish upon a star, Chapter 1


“Ladies and gentlemen, please return to your seats and place on your seat-belts  we will be descending shortly.” I heard the announcement in the airplane. I was already in my seat with my seatbelt strapped and fastened around me because I noticed on the screen before me that we had moments left before we would land in South Africa.
I knew that my mother would be at O.R. Thambo International airport already waiting for me and I wondered how she was. “Was she alright? Is she heartbroken? At least my arrival would possibly make her happy.” I sat and thought while we were busy landing.

Throughout my entire travel from Malpensa Milan Italy to Dubai and then from Dubai to South Africa the air hostesses treated me like a queen. They all greeted me and called me “Misses van Heerden” and I truly thought that it was quite odd. “Were the air hostesses taught to know all of the passengers by their surnames?” I thought throughout my entire journey back to South Africa, but I did not analyze it at all because my heart was too broken to ponder.

After I collected my luggage by the conveyor belt, I took the exit out of the terminal where I found my mother standing and patiently waiting for me. My mother looked quite beautiful as always, she has blond and curly hair dangling on her head with perfectly round shaped and blue eyes and perfectly full lips.
She was dressed in her work clothing, professional and elegant but mostly dark and black colours and that was absolutely normal over periods if grieving.
Her face lit up like a sunbeam when she saw me and she approached me immediately. I hasted towards her too while leaving my trolley behind me and I gave her a very big hug. “[1]Hello mamma!”, “[2]Hello my pop, het jy lekker gevlieg?”, “[3]Ja dit was vrolik, is mamma ok?” I asked her out of my concern for her while we were communicating in our mother tongue. After my question my mother looked at me with a brave smile when she then nodded her head up and down “[4]Ja ek sal ok wees.” she answered.

I took a few spaces back to collect my trolley again with my luggage on and we walked towards the parking pay point machine where we paid for parking and as soon as we got into the car we were finally on our way to her home.

While we drove, my mother informed me that she and her deceased boyfriend had moved to a new home just before he passed away. I nodded while storing all of the new information and I slowly started to become tired because the drive from the airport had been more than an hour when my mother finally admitted that she was lost. I smiled and giggled when she confessed that she was completely lost because I remembered the countless times I had been lost in the Center of Milan and I then started to wonder if getting lost was perhaps in my genes.

Eventually after a while, my mother found her accurate sense in direction again on the busy streets of Johannesburg South Africa and then asked me if I wanted to go for lunch. I agreed and moments afterwards we parked in front of an Italian restaurant called Celestino’s. “[5]Is jy lus vir Italiaanse kos?” my mother asked me while I nodded and smiled but felt longing and heartbroken.

While we entered the restaurant I looked around and noticed that there were no guests. It had been empty with only the manager, a waiter and the kitchen staff present.
[6]Kry jy nie warm in daai dik, swart jas van jou nie pop?” my mother asked me curiously. I did notice that when I exited the terminal that the weather was hotter than what I had expected it to be. I was grateful because I already had a winter season in Italy, knowing that at that period I was entering the winter season in South Africa but luckily it was not winter yet on that day.
[7]Ja ek kry ongelooflik warm mamma.” I responded to my Mother’s question while taking off my coat and hung it over my chair.

After we sat down the manager approached our table and greeted my mother joyfully. “Where is your little dog?” he asked her, “ehehehe” my mother giggled uncomfortably, “No he is ok Angelo, this is my daughter Marilette, she just arrived back from Italy.” my mother kindly informed him. “Oh wow welcome and pleased to meet you. You know, your mother is a regular customer here as well as her little dog.” Angelo the manager informed me while flirting simultaneously.

My mood was not vibrant at that time because I felt exhausted and I knew that the dog Angelo the manager spoke about was my darling boy dog who’s name was Gizmo, my little Pekinese and my little blessing from heaven. I left Gizmo in my Mother’s care before I went to Milan Italy because my mother has an incredible connection with animals. I knew that my mother would look after Gizmo in the best possible way that she could because she also loved my little puppy boy with her whole heart.

At that moment in the restaurant sitting with my mother and hearing what the manager had told me I realized that during the time of illness and death of her late boyfriend her behavior proved that she missed me very much. The fact that she went to an Italian restaurant once a week with my little dog Gizmo brought to me the enlightenment that she truly needed me and missed me very much.

My mother was very fond of my boy Gizmo, perhaps it was because of his strong and extrovert personality, Gizmo was almost exactly like me.
From the age of 18 I moved away from my Mother’s home to explore this beautiful world and I settled in Cape Town South Africa. I never knew how much and how secretively she has always missed me until I asked her to look after Gizmo the one day while I was studying for exams that were approaching. Gizmo wanted all of my attention and with my preparations for exams I could not give him all of my attention. Gizmo thus became extremely naughty and left me with no other choice but to send him on his way with the airplane to visit my mother in Johannesburg until my exam period was finished.

My mother accepted Gizmo similar as if he was her grandson because Gizmo’s little personality was truly remarkable. I remember that whenever it was time for Gizmo to fly back home to me, my mother would cry. “Do you love Gizmo more than me Mother’s? It appears this way.” I asked her on the phone the one day after she dropped Gizmo at the cargo to fly home to me. “I love him because he is such an important part of you and just like you.” my mother answered.
I believed from that day onwards that my mother was perhaps British in a past life because she could show more affection to my dog who was like me than to me, ehehehehe, but allow me to share with you the beautiful memory of how Gizmo fell from the sky into my lap.

 At the age of 20, I went to visit a friend one night who’s Pekinese dogs just had a litter of puppies which were already 2 weeks old at that time. My friend also in the process of selling these puppies asked me if I wanted to have a look at them. I had no intention to buy a puppy over that period because I had no time to look after a pet.
When we walked through her kitchen to the back door that leads to her back yard I noticed when we stopped in front of the basket where the puppies were resting in that there had been only 4 left. The one puppy looked exactly like Gizmo the little famous gremlin from the movie Gremlins with a light brown and white coat and this puppy instantly became lively after I stroked him and from that moment onwards it was over for me.

My friend and I then decided to have some coffee and to return to her living room while closing the back door behind us.
It sounded as if a puppy was being murdered from the way the puppies were making a noise in the back yard and that was when my friend decided to rather let the little puppies come inside so that her two darling children could play with them and keep them company.
Once the light brown white Gizmo gremlin looking puppy saw me he tried with all of his might to get out of the basket and to get close to me, eventually he would cry from frustration when I the decided to pick him up and placed him onto my lap. This puppy wouldn’t stop licking me and his joy was overwhelming. When I stood up and wanted to go to the bathroom, he cried and ran after me and was only satisfied after I would pick him up and take him into the bathroom with me. As long as I stayed in his eye sight he was alright.
I was quite exhausted with this odd puppy behavior when my friend then admitted that she had never seen a puppy with behavior over a person like that puppy behaved over me. My friend then suggested that I must take the puppy home and look after him because according to her the puppy found his owner. “He chose you Marilette.” I still remember her telling me.
I did not have any choice but to surrendered and decided to be the owner as well as mother for this demanding puppy who was not going to leave me be until he got his way. Before I left to go back home I luckily remembered to ask my friend if I could have some puppy food just until the following morning when my little new pet and I would be going shopping for his comfort, luxury and nutrition.

 I awoke the following morning with the little Gremlin look-a-like hovering over my face simply staring at me while I was sleeping. Imagine waking up and the moment you open your eyes all you see is this puffy and adorably tiny face so still and staring at you. I had a great shock when little Gizmo rolled off of me onto my bed. I couldn’t allow him to sleep on the ground the previous night because he refused to be on the ground, he kept on trying to get onto my bed and then cried when he failed miserably because he was way too tiny and short to even think about it.
 After my new pet saw that I was awake he lit up like sunshine, so filled with joy and excitement and light and he licked me non-stop before he showed me that he pooped on the bed during the night. I was not angry with him; I was very impressed because he was very intelligent. I then took my bedding shook it out outside in the garden and placed it into the washing machine. Afterwards I ran a bath and while I was in the bath my new puppy sat on my lap while being bathed at the same time. From that day onwards little Gizmo loved to take baths and enjoyed his coat to be dried with a hair dryer.
During the day I officially named him Gizmo and we also went shopping when he personally showed me what bed he wanted, what blanket and toys etc.

Gizmo has always shown his feelings and emotions, it was so clear through his personality and his little face. He had a little bit of an identity crisis too because in the mornings while getting ready in front of my mirror doing make up, drying my hair etc. Gizmo would sit and look at himself in the mirror with a sad face glancing to me and back to himself. Every morning when he did this he would look at me afterwards, give a lick in the air letting me know that I looked beautiful for the day but also looked at me as if asking me silently “Mom, when am I going to be a real boy?” This questioning look normally broke my heart because I could not turn him into a real boy; I was not Ghepetto or a fairy godmother.

I would love to tell you everything about my little Gizmo because he was incredible!!!! His courage, bravery and protective heart over me was miraculous but this book is not called: The adventures of Marilette and Gizmo so let us continue with the original story shall we?

After Angelo the manager took our drinks order my mother started to ask me about my time in Italy. I told her everything, well not exactly everything but I told her the basics about Milan Italy, Rome, Pisa, Giaco and Marko and also about Marko’s sons.
[8]Wat het gebeur met oom Wimpie?” I then asked her because I was curious as to what happened to her deceased boyfriend and what she was feeling emotionally.
My mother then explained to me that after they moved into their new home her boyfriend started to cough. The cough worsened after a week and when she took him to the hospital the doctor kept him there because his lungs were starting to deteriorate at a very fast speed. They could not figure out what was wrong with him, all that they knew was that he was dying and fast. Apparently within his last days they diagnosed him with a type of lung disease that one in a billion people die from. From the day he was taken into the hospital he died about a month afterwards and there was nothing that they could do for him. I think that my mother was still in shock because it must be difficult to accept that the partner you care about is still healthy, fit and happy and then a month later this person wastes away in front of your eyes and is suddenly gone forever.

[9]Ek is baie jammer mamma.” I told her sincerely. My mother has witnessed all of the deaths in our family and in her own life. My mother was present when my Grandmother (my father’s mother) breathed her last breath, she was present when my father died instantly of a heart attack right in front of her and she was also present with my grandfather’s passing. She has seen more death and funerals than weddings and celebration. I felt very sorry for her because she didn’t deserve it.
[10]Ek’s ok pop moenie worry nie, maar wanneer ons by die huis kom, verskoon net asb dat dit n bietjie deurmekaar is, ek het nog nie tyd gekry om behoorlik te organiseer en skoon te maak nie.” my mother explained to me. I completely understood and knew that I was going to have to help her to re-organise her life and to guide her to work through her loss and pain.

Our lunch finally arrived and was placed on the table and after we were done and settled the bill we were finally on our way to her home or so I thought.
[11]Mamma, ek het al my boeke en my boek rak nodig so gou as moontlik asb?” I told my mother as we drove. My mother then nodded her head up and down letting me know that she understood completely.
I noticed then that we turned but we stopped at a vetenary hospital and I wondered what exactly was going on.
My mother then stopped in a parking and turned her body posture and face towards me. “[12]Marilette, Gizmo moes ek eergisteraand laat in bring want hy het vreeslik gehuil van die pyn en hy kon nie

meer loop nie. Die Vet se dat dit R30 000 gaan kos vir sy operasie. Die operasie het n 50% kaans dat dit suksesvol sal wees, wat wil jy doen?”I sat looking at my mother stunned and in shock after what she had told me. I knew that I needed to make a decision. Should I pay R30 000 for my boy Gizmo to get an operation that had a 50% chance of being successful or should I sign his death certificate right there at that moment. I was in complete shock, overwhelmed and exhausted from my travel but I needed to see my little boy, my little Gizmo.
I got out of the car and as I entered the Animal hospital all I could say to the receptionist behind the counter was “Where is Gizmo?” she looked at me with a sad expression and then told me to follow her.When I entered the room the receptionist lead me to I noticed that he was kept in a cage and I also noticed that the tip of Gizmo’s beautiful and fluffy tail started to waggle and that was when I knew that my darling boy knew that I was there.When I came to a standstill in front of Gizmo’s cage he was so excited to see me and he tried with all of his might to move closer to me licking into the air into my direction, I noticed that he was incredibly happy with my presence but also in physical agony. The bottom half of his body could not function anymore, he couldn’t move his bottom half of his little body at all.
I slowly opened up his cage and I embraced his little body with my arms. He hugged me with his little face around my neck and licked my face continuously with joy and excitement mixed with his tiny moans from the physical pain he was in. I looked at him and tears started to fall down my cheeks, “Boy, what is wrong, show mom what is wrong?” I asked him silently and he then pointed his little head towards the lower part of his body licking in the air and showing me that something was not working properly and that he was soar.I went hysterical and cried, “I want him right now and I am going to take him home with me!” I told the lady who was standing close to me. I couldn’t let him go, I was not able and prepared to let him go, I loved him too much!!! “Miss he is in incredible pain, he cannot use his lower body anymore, we need to operate on him and even if we do there is little chance that he will survive afterwards, you cannot take him home. All we can do is to operate immediately or to put him into definite sleep immediately.” the lady explained to me.Tears fell down my cheeks while I continued to hold Gizmo and to comfort him. Gizmo started to lick the falling tears on my cheeks as if trying to let me know that I must not be sad. I kissed him on the top of his little head and walked away to go outside and to get fresh air because I couldn’t leave him in such pain and I couldn’t bear to see him like that either. It felt as if I was going to go crazy.
I walked back towards my Mother’s car and got into the front seat where she sat waiting for me. “Decide mom because I can’t decide, I can’t see him in this type of pain and I don’t know what to do!!!”My mother looked at me, got out of the car and left me be for a moment and she then returned moments later when she told me that she gave instruction to let them relieve him off all the pain forever immediately.Tears were falling from both of our cheeks when we then then left and returned to her home.

[1] Hello mamma – Hello mother
[2] Hello my pop, het jy lekker gevlieg? – Hello my darling, did you have a nice flight?
[3] Ja dit was vrolik, is mamma ok? – Yes it was lovely, mom are you ok?
[4] Jae k sal ok wees. – Yes I will be ok.
[5] Is jy lus vir Italiaanse kos? – Do you feel like having Italian food?
[6] Kry jy nie warm in daai dik, swart jas van jou nie my pop? – Aren’t you hot in that thick black coat of yours my sweetheart?
[7] Ja ek kry ongelooflik warm mamma. – Yes I am boiling hot mom.
[8] Wat het gebeur met oom Wimpie? – What happened to uncle Wimpie?
[9] Eks baie jammer mamma – I am very sorry mom
[10] Ek’s ok pop moenie worry nie, maar wanneer ons by die huis kom, verskoon net asb dat dit n bietjie deurmekaar is, ek het nog nie tyd gekry om behoorlik te organiseer en skoon te maak nie. – I’m ok sweetheart don’t worry but when we arrive home please understand that things are a bit unorganized, I haven’t had time to organize and to tidy up yet.
[11] Mamma, ek het al my boeke en my boek rak nodig so gou as moontlik asb? – Mom, what I need as soon as possible is all of my books and my book case please?
[12] Marilette, Gizmo moes ek eergisteraand laat in bring want hy het vreeslik gehuil van die pyn en hy kon nie meer loop nie. Die Vet se dat dit R30000 gaan kos vir sy operasie. Die operasie het n 50% kaans dat dit suksesvol sal wees, wat wil jy doen? –Marilette, two nights ago I had to bring Gizmo in very late because he cried continuously and he was in a lot of pain. The Vet said that the operation will cost R30000 but there is a 50% chance that he will survive, what do you want to do?   
Posted on: January 14, 2014, by :

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