Thursday, December 26, 2013

Twice shy.

My family is scattered, and it has been so for many years - since the death of my father - who was the glue that held us together. So I find myself celebrating Christmas on my own,
or with families who are not my own.

Someone once told me that the world is divided into two types of people. He said to me you have the pigs and you have the wolves. So it was that this Christmas, I found myself in the company of a clan of wolves. Tall, lean, long of limb, straight of nose.
Beautiful creatures.
A little boy popped up in the fig tree next door. He whistled and he growled. One socially challenged, medium sized pig longed for a time when things could be that simple.

Merry Christmas, belated.
And happy birthday to my Ouma Eva.
You are missed!

Thursday, December 19, 2013


Last night I lay awake listening to the curtains breathing in and out, in and out. Amplified, magnified: a flower unfurling. Or a woman's skirt from a long time ago.

When I was little, I'd hear the beating of my blood when I pushed my ear against the pillow. Even though my father explained to me about the workings of the heart, all I heard was footsteps.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Fight shy.

It's been a week of fighting. Fighting the elements, fighting for enough money to do the job well, fighting with myself - searching really hard for the good things about this job that I do.

We danced an awkward ballet, trying to save sets in raging winds, napkins swept up into the gale and forever lost in the Maiden's Cove sea. Glasses and plates swept off tables and bursting upon impact with the lawn. Until the tables themselves went flying. Chairs shunted themselves from one side of a balcony to the other, palms were ripped from their pots.

Someone I hadn't seen in a long time, upon my question "how are you?", replied: "Calm as a land mine." The perfect analogy.

People regularly make remarks about my calmness, my "serenity", the fact that I don't sweat, my air of "mystery". 
But here's the truth, unfiltered: it's just a shell I've built. And sometimes it feels so transparently thin.
I sleep fitfully, if at all. Some mornings I get up and there's a stone where my heart should be.

In any spare moment of time I have, I read and I read. Better than any drug for escape from the world, I devour words. Right now, Donna Tartt's "The Goldfinch". It's thick, densely written, and I don't want it to end. For her to write this way about loss… surely she has experienced things in her life that have torn her heart in two. 

I yearn for my own lost parent - to hear him say: "Everything will be alright my darling". I yearn for calm, uninterrupted sleep.

Then wake me gently, like on the north sea ferry.