Equal Partners
by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners

By Roland Ezri

"Women are the backbone of all societies. They do a substantial part of the work, and play a major role in raising the future generation yet they are largely powerless. The decisions that count are made by men and foisted upon women."

Writings by Roland Ezri

The Second Exodus – Egypt – III. A Love Story (2 of 2)

A kept promise

My father promised to abandon gambling after he got married, and he did.  Not completely though.  The deal was that he could occasionally engage in a poker or other card game when the opportunity presented itself.  And the occasion did present itself with great regularity!  He never engaged in games with high stakes.  My mother herself didn’t mind a game of Komkam (a game more or less similar to Gin Rummy).  Therefore, on that front, there was peace.

The races?  It was agreed that he would never go to the track again.  It was a promise that he kept – well almost.  When we went to Alexandria for two months, my dad lived by his mother and did go to the races.  (By then, the races were in Cairo and Alexandria).  My mother found tickets in pants and jackets that were going to the Makwagi (dry cleaner).  She never said anything and he knew that she knew.  Therefore, there was an unspoken understanding that during the summer he could indulge in his passion.

When he came to Canada, he lived within walking distance from Blue Bonnets (Montreal’s race track).  And he did go with my mother, and both of them placed bets!  The last time I saw him was when I went with my wife, Norma, to Blue Bonnets.  We had a wonderful evening and we won.  Five days later, he was felled by a heart attack at 62.  It was a fitting place to see him for the last time; he was doing something he loved, something he had abandoned for most of his life for the sake of the woman he loved.

A love story

I called this part of my account a “Love Story.”  Did they love each other?  At the beginning, no doubt.  But the important question is:  Did they stay in love?  I can say unequivocally that they did.

My parents didn’t have the garden variety arguments; they had some major fights, the kind that brought the neighbors down to separate the combatants; explosions that caused my father on two occasions to tip the whole dining room table down with everything that was on it.

Both had very strong personalities, and were incompatible.

For years, I played at the unpaid therapist.  I listened to my mom’s complaints about dad.  Rarely though did my father complained about Flora.  Whatever the case, I rarely gave advice, I was too young for that.

Yet, I am saying that they loved each other throughout their marriage.  Did I come to the right conclusion?

Nessim would have been totally lost without Flora.  It would have been nearly impossible for him to know any happiness has she predeceased him.  While none of us would have wanted to lose him at such a young age, it remains a blessing that he passed away first.

My mother practically collapsed when he died so suddenly. She cried for months.  She was inconsolable.

Time, however, heals all wounds.  She lived after my dad’s passing for 20 more years.  For a time she went to Florida to escape the Canadian winters.  She kept her young looks for a long time, and during those vacations, she was courted and asked in marriage by moneyed old men.  She turned them all down; ultimately, she never remarried.  While she never said it, I could read between the lines that she would have never considered replacing Nessim.

How could such dissimilar people love each other so much?  I don’t know.  Only our Maker knows the answer to such a mystery.

My story, however, goes back to the beginning.  A time when Nessim and Flora were two young people in love.  A time when Roland didn’t exist.  So let us go there.

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