November 22nd, 2009 15:18 EST
Her Name Was Elizabeth
The year was 1987; I was barely 15 when a woman showed up at my stepmom`s small retail shop. She was a new neighbor, one of the wealthiest couples in my village. Her husband an Arab guy was quiet and not very social but loved the people who always came to help when he needed help. She was gorgeous and beautiful with an Arabic English accent. Little did I know that down the road, she would be one of the most pivotal people in my life. Her name was Elizabeth.
That time as a young man, I did not know much about intimacy, love and though I had learned of it from school, physically I was inactive and so it did not dwell on me that she had spoken to me in a way I would have taken serious.
Then one afternoon while working in my mom`s shop, she came again and asked me why I was not going to school. I told her of my parents financial situation which was not in a position for all the children to be educated. I had been to high school and so they had wanted everyone to at least have an education and so I was asked to stay home I lamented. She did not believe me.
Why? "I asked. She then said; I know this is not your real mother. I did not say anything. She knew because my Stepmother treated like a maid not a son. Later she asked my stepmother to send me to her home so I can help her with some work.
When I arrived to her gorgeous mansion, a ton of dogs and five maids! I asked myself what she needed me to do after all these people that worked for her! She just wanted to help me-she said.
When I arrived, she ordered food and tea to be prepared for me. One of the maids brought me the eatables and I munched on them. I had taken ages with not any good food since my stepmother would not allow me to eat from her restaurant but left over from customer. She then gave me $100 and told me to go to school tomorrow. She advised me not to get bothered by my stepmother. She said I was way too smart to sit home and cook for customers in my mom`s-shop.
Now go. "She ordered.
I left and the next day without giving notice to my stepmother I was off to school. I had missed several months but I would catch up, I said to myself. At school I paid the fees, enough for an entire year at the time. I did manage to find some work later and after two years, I became a singer.
I had quit going back home and was staying at the theater sleeping in theater sits after rehearsals. One day during rehearsals I saw a track full of children my age from the window. Some children I knew! ohoo My God! "How did they know I was there?" A Man came out of the drivers` sit. It was my father. He had seen me on Television while my commercials of my upcoming show were being aired.
Elizabeth had seen the commercials and she had told everyone that new me. My father who always thought I would never amount to anything was not left behind too. He was thrilled. I was his son again. He had told everyone he was proud of me. Unfortunately at the Theater everyone knew I had no parents since I had lied my way out to get the job and to be able to stay at the Theater.
When he came to the box office, he asked to see me and identified himself as my father. Marion the box office lady refused. He told him; Nelson has no father! "He was surprised. He asked to see the Director who later agreed that he was my father after consulting me.
I explained why I ran away from home and was asked to sing one of my favorite songs on stage to educate our parents that where in the audience about child talent development. It was quite a moment, I cried.
With tears in my eyes, I hugged my father on stage and told the story and sung a song that forever captured people`s hearts. This time those who had been to my shows before knew why I had written the song.
Few years later while singing at the 25th anniversary of YMCA, Elizabeth showed up and gave me a surprise visit. After the show, we went for dinner with my entire band. She paid for everything and later that day we rode together at home to my parent`s house.
I was grown up, she murmured. I was looking good she complimented. All I could do was keep quiet. Later as we walked through our flower garden, she stopped me, pinned me on a tree and kissed me passionately. I could not resist. I returned the kisses back and the next two years we were to have an affair that blossomed into love that I will never forget.
Her marriage broke apart; she got pregnant later that year and few months later I came to America for a cultural Exchange program. She asked me to follow my dreams and not to worry about her.
As I worked so hard with a dream to go back home, and fall into her arms again, I got a fax transmission in my office that she had died a previous night due to food poisoning. Someone had put poison into her drink while at a bar. She had left me a beautiful son, Nelson Featherstonehaugh Yiga and three step children I came to adore and love like my own. Their father had abandoned them because of the affair and so they had become part of me.
During My recent trip to Uganda to speak with Elders about the Buganda Kingdom and the failing reconciliation with the central government, my son saw the strength and the pride his father has with the place so remote but with respect the old grey haired, 80 year olds stood in applause every time I spoke.
He was so happy every time my eye took a look at him where he was cited on a lap of one of the elders. An introduction of the Muzaana", a Princess appointed to take care of me, he stood and clapped and they both became fast friends and when time came for him to go back to school, he cried like a baby. He did not want to leave me behind. He did not want to part away from his father and I can understand after many years of not seeing me. The short time spent with me was so precious for him, he could not hold his tears back and that gave me my reason why I decided to live.
Prince Nelson Featherstonehaugh Balina-Omukisa Yiga, in a Blue shirt (the son left to sooth my pain)
A lonely man, sad and crying, I wanted also to die, but the children made my faith strong and ten years later I went home after becoming a resident Alien and we would meet again. In the river we all swim but my question was how many of us enjoy the swim. Some in England say, oh it was lousy a swim. "So fast one can never understand what they are saying and we here in America try to rephrase it by saying ohoo it was a lousy swim." And I ask who cares how we say it. We all are swimming lousy or not, I did my part to stand up to be a man with the help of a woman who I would never see again physically but in soul she will always stay.
It was lovely to see Elizabeth through the eyes of her only daughter Uhutudor Mohammed and the three sons, Isekndre, Amuza and Nelson. The only family I know. Rest in Piece my true love. You will always be in my heart. I say to myself every day.