Giving Thanks

Last night, arriving home late I made some hot chocolate and settled down to catch up on BBC’s news of the day.

Mr Putin and his merry men were amusing themselves hurling 83 missiles on cities across Ukraine. They aimed at civilian targets as the screen footage showed: a seesaw speared upright into the ground, in the middle of a gigantic crater that once represented a playground; a hole the size of a double-decker bus blown through the middle of an apartment building… I switched channels.

This morning, my shower packed in. I called my friend the plumber. “I’ll be there within the hour.”  I cursed. Now I’d be late for work. Like a wave returning from the sea, snippets of interviews from last night’s BBC kept bombarding me.

“I was lucky. I escaped with my seal bag of passport, credit cards and phone.”

“Our car got blown up before we got into it to get to work. Thank God for his mercy.”

In Chasing Aphrodite, a Filipina showed up to sit beside me on a Cypriot bus from Larnaca to Nicosia. For years she had worked six days a week. On the seventh, she was expected to wander the streets all day and not return until the evening. By the time she waited in line at Western Union to send money home to the Philippines, say a brief prayer at the local church and perhaps bump into friends at the plaza, it was time to return to work. Sitting beside me, she explained this was her red banner day. She was getting three days off in a row—the weekend and Monday—because her senile employer was visiting his son. She was off to stay with her friends-caretakers, all from her village of birth.

“How blessed I am,” she said..

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Written by Emil Rem

An eccentric accountant becomes a writer of eccentric characters, in exotic locales, with each chapter taking us on a trip into the fascinating twisted world of Emil Rem. Born to a close knit middle class Muslim East Indian family in Dar-es-Salam in the 50’s, he is then moved to Maidenhead England at the age of five. The next twenty years are spent shuttling between England and East Africa, wearing a St. Christopher’s cross one minute and attending church, to wearing a green arm band and attending Muslim religious classes in Africa next minute. Moving to Canada, marrying a woman from the Philippines and having two boys only adds further texture to his stories.


Giving Thanks