Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Home is where I want to be, but I guess I'm already there.

I fall asleep with images swirling in my head.
Blustery days, unexpected meetings on the street, abandoned gloves on the sidewalk,
the photographer in black.
Sean Penn in This Must Be The Place.
The view from the 26th floor of a building on the foreshore - windows with latches, now screwed shut.
The long legged man under a pomegranate tree.
Fragments of old porcelain from a park in the Bokaap.

My neighbor is such a bad piano player. Discordance wakes me, interrupting my dreams of animal metamorphosis. That white horse again - eating red apples in my kitchen, the floor a mess of juice and pulp. I lie there wincing, waiting for the next false note.
I think of Salieri, shouting at Mozart.
And I wonder...
what does one read after Murakami's 1Q84?
1318 pages, so few notes,
such beautiful simplicity.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Girls with pink boots and some horses I know.

Years and years ago, before I had a car, I used to catch buses and walk much more than I do today. So it had been many years since I found myself on foot, walking past the big bus terminus near the Grand Parade. The same queues of bored-looking people, a large woman sitting with her legs spread wide open, shouting at the passers-by. The hustle and the bustle. We passed a shallow doorway and two thin and tattooed men were crouched there, the one meticulously shaving the other one's head with a naked razor blade. We strode across to the Castle of Good Hope, to see a photography exhibition.

you stole the show.
Happy Birthday!

A few nights ago, I had a dream about a grey horse. Since then I have been feeling a little sad. But there are other horses out there. Bigger ones.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Does your heart beat true to me dear...

Post cards, letters, inscriptions in books... by people I will never know. Recently I bought a second hand copy of Don't Try This At Home, subtitled Culinary Catastrophes from the World's Greatest Cooks and Chefs.

On the flyleaf it has this inscription:
Dear Lawrence
Happy Christmas
xxx Love Me xxx
(with many hand-drawn hearts)

Surely, if Lawrence felt the same way about Me, he'd have treasured the book - it's a beautiful hardcover, with thick cellophane over the paper cover. The book is so pristine in fact, I fear I am the only reader.
That Lawrence.

I found two old postcards today at the boot sale. They are mysterious and touching. Written 98 years ago by C, to an undisclosed sweetheart. The copperplate fades and darkens, as the nib gets dipped into the ink.

The first, dated 14/9/14:
Does your heart beat true to me dear
You have not answered yet
But by a smile on your face dear
My answer I shall get,
C x

The second, almost a month later, simply reads:
Lots of Love dear
to you
C. x

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Ode to Vicky Leandros.

 In South Africa, ownership is a really big deal. People want to own their houses and their land. You grow up thinking that it's really important, and you feel a lack when you don't.

But what do you do when you just can't afford to buy a house or an apartment in the place where you want to be? You rent from friends with trust funds, you find something in the paper. You live in a place you could never afford to buy, not in a million years.

I'm the kind of person who likes a bit of space around me, especially over my head. Low ceilings are the Devil's work. I rent a place in the city that would cost close to R 2 000 000 to buy. It has skylights that leak when it rains and I can hear the neighbors sneeze. But it's up in the clouds and surrounded by giant trees and when I walk in the door, I sigh with happiness.

I have friends who rent a house on a curve in the road, overlooking the bay of Fish Hoek. When I walked into their house the other day, everything seemed to fall into place and make sense. This is why we do it. It's a dream, but we're living it.
The garden slopes up the mountain, seemingly forever. Covered in fynbos, with birds darting in and out. There's a serenity there that I would find very hard to leave in the mornings.

And for dessert, there was pumpkin pie.