La Famiglia

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La Famiglia

By Hrydai Sampally
2 March om 15:39 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 2 March 2021
om 15:39 uur.
March 2 at 15:39 PM.
Last modified on March 2, 2021
at 15:39 PM.

At first glance, it’s a stack of canned sardines. On closer inspection, it’s the habitat of that ill-fated species- the studenticus groningae. After a longish stint at my parents’, I recently returned to my sixteen square metre fiefdom. I squeezed past the door, suitcase and aspirations in tow. The place needed a thorough dusting.

We lost twice as many younglings to the February cull season this year. A week in isolation provided me subtle clues as to why. Pacing up and down the room soon lost its charm. Breaking out into musical lament staved off madness for a while, till there were no more songs left.

Even the neighbourhood cats began mocking my captivity, lounging leisurely by the window. I couldn’t shake the feeling that I’d left my family behind for a pipe dream.

Nature would have taken its course, and I was sure to rot away behind a screen or two. That is, had it not been for a cherub with a sack of goods alighting at my doorstep. He’d probably object to being called that, but my friend really brightened up my day. Another swung by just to see how I was, and still others called and messaged. It was from a distance, but it was as uplifting an embrace as any.

Even the neighbourhood cats began mocking my captivity, lounging leisurely by the window

Savour those little moments of joy that pepper the day, they’re few and far between. In old Grunn, that mindset seems to live underneath every cobblestone.

That realisation struck me hard years ago, when I first set foot here. People smiled at me in the street, and went amicably about their lives. Yet something was amiss. There was clearly deep compassion, but at arms-length. Thankfully, it’s just what the doctor ordered.

Above the rabbit-hole, the city’s been on war footing. An army of volunteers man the foodbanks and helplines. Tens of students check-in on the elderly week on week.

Shelters and other establishments have thrown open their doors to the homeless, at great personal risk. Incredible people that have never sought a pedestal. The great upward march might well have come to a halt, but Grunn’s spirit is none the poorer.

Kindness, and copious amounts of tea kept me chugging along to the finish. Dazed, dishevelled and glad as a lark, I stepped out into the afternoon breeze. Eight minutes later I bolted indoors.

Spring’s still ways off.