Literary Activism

Harriet Levin Millan

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Measureless Magnitude

Before we knew it, we were standing at the fence before the house at 597 Moggill Road waiting for Michael's mother to come out.  We heard someone on the other side fiddling with the latch, then the side of her face, then her whole face wet with tears rushing toward Michael to embrace him.  She hid her face from us, too shy for us to witness her tears.  She buried her face in his face. She would not let go.  We watched.  We stood there.  We imagined another person beside her--Michael's father, then his image faded, and it was Michael and his mother again, finally together.Then Michael's sister, Aweil,  came out and Michael's mother made room for her to embrace Michael. Then Awiel let go of Michael and made room for her mother again. Then Awiel approached each one of us--Rick, Tedra, Josh, Ellen and me--and embraced each one of us tenderly.  Then Biar, Michael's seventeen year old brother came out, red-eyed, weeping and ran toward Michael, then Michael's youngest brothers, Dut, aged 7, and Riak, Aged 11--all born in Kakuma Refugee Camp. Then the brothers made room for the mother again and each of them came toward us and embraced us, sweetfully, thankfully.


Dawn and Evan said...

Ahhhh....... This was the scene I wanted to read about that I was afraid would be bypassed. Like his mother, Michael must have been having difficulty containing all his own strong feelings. The event was so finely crafted in it's retelling, that I felt I must be there, with all the emotion (and tears) dripping off the page.


Katie said...

Wow. I've been meaning to comment on this entire blog for some time now, and I still can't even think of anything to write.

It seems so trivial, when faced with such an epic story of Michael and his family, to sum up my reaction in just a few sentences.

Very rarely am I left completely speechless, and yet this goes above and beyond what I could ever even begin to comprehend. I think I can sum it up like this: If out of such tragedy can come such beauty, it is absolute proof of two things: the absolute power of hope, and the resilience of the human race.