I have always been known to be a huge sushi lover. In fact, when I want to let my boys know that I love them more than anything in the world, I tell them “I love you more than sushi.” So true to my sushi addiction, I found myself in our local ‘Chinese take-away store’ on Saturday evening, ordering the ‘usual’.
A quick lesson on Sushi: Sushi originates from China and NOT Japan as commonly believed. The original type of sushi was first developed in South East Asia and spread to south China before being introduced to Japan sometime around the 8th century. Fish was salted and wrapped in fermented rice, a traditional lacto-fermented rice dish. Sushi said to have originated from China between the 5th and the 3rd centuries BC, as a means of preserving fish in salt. Narezushi, the original form of sushi has been made in South East Asia for centuries, and nowadays, there are still traces of it in some parts. We think of Sushi as being interchangeable with raw fish. Sushi is vinegar rice topped with other ingredients. Sashimi, which is slices of raw fish alone, is not sushi because it isn’t accompanied with rice. … The word “sushi” means “it’s sour,” which reflects back to sushi’s origins of being preserved in salt. So that’s your sushi lesson for the year!
So anyway, I ordered my sashimi, nigiri, spring-rolls and hubby’s beef chow mein, paid, got my number and then waited for them to get my order ready. As I sat down, I saw a young man enter the store, and my heart missed a beat. He was about Kevin’s height, same build and had a cap on that is very similar to one that Kevin owns. I could not take my eyes off of him. He ordered and paid and then came and sat right next to me, giving me a wide Kevie-grin as he sat down. It felt like I was going to pass out. I half-smiled back and then just sat and stared in front of me, trying very hard not to listen to the cheerful conversation he had with someone on the phone.
His order was ready before mine but as he got up, my number got called as well and I got up. The young man was waiting to collect his order but there was a mix up with our order in the kitchen, the owner apologised and said that we just have to wait a bit for him to sort it out. The Kev-lookalike glanced in my direction, shrugging his shoulders and giving that grin again. And then, before I could help it or even think about it, this woman took over my body and I burst into tears! And I watched myself turn to this young man that looked so much like my son, tears welling up in my eyes and saying: “My son is in New Zealand, and you look so much like him and I miss him so much, please can I give you a hug?” He stared at me in disbelief for a split second, but the next moment he opened his arms and give me the longest, warmest bear hug! ‘n Regte boerseun drukkie!! (I can’t even translate that to English!) Everybody in the shop stared at us but I really didn’t care and he was still smiling so I assume he was ok with it too. And then of course, there were tears! Furiously wiping my tears away, I smiled at him and asked him what his name was and where he was from. We chatted for a few seconds and then our orders were sorted out. He took his bag of food, turned around and said, “Bye tannie, ek hoop jy kan gou vir jou seun gaan kuier.” (Goodbye auntie, I hope you get to visit your son soon!”) He quickly walked towards me, gave me a quick hug again and then that Kevin-smile before he disappeared around the corner. The poor child! I have no idea what he must have thought of this crazy woman!
I grabbed my food, mumbled a quick’ thank you’ to the owner and rushed to my car. I locked the door, and then went into the ugly cry! I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed, put my head on the steering wheel and then cried some more. After about 10 minutes I decided to leave as the security guard stared at me a bit too long. Just now someone phones the police, or even worse, an ambulance! So I made a hasty exit. My husband gave my red, swollen eyes just one look but didn’t say anything. It’s not like he doesn’t know why I’m crying lately!
I am not a shy person and I have been known to do crazy stuff, but approaching a total stranger in a shop asking for a hug is a new high for me. But boy, did that hug heal my aching heart – even if it was for only a moment! Of course he’s not one of my boykies and of course it could never be the same, but with my two ‘big boykies’ far away – one son being in Cape Town and the other in New Zealand, the ‘stand in’ hug was really very, very much needed and SO appreciated!
So this is a huge shout-out to Ruan from Hoërskool Oos-Moot who matriculated in 2016 (if my memory serves me right) and who helped this mom’s aching heart feel just a little bit better on a busy Saturday afternoon. You are an awesome young man and your mom should be proud of the beautiful human being she raised. I would be.