We followed the ribbon of tar that leads upupup into Africa to the desert, drove past the Ugly Duckling Beauty Salon and looked into the Lucky Lips Café in the small town that boasts that it’s the cleanest town in the country.Then we left it behind us and drove through fields of bright green lucerne, to the even smaller town, the one that doesn’t even have a petrol pump, the one where Tannie Anna stood outside the bottle store, red guitar in hand.
To a cottage with thick stone walls and a fireplace, surrounded by stillness. I could breathe, huge lungsful of clear, crisp Winter air, the sounds of birds twittering. We ambled over to the pub, me with my book, G to watch the rugby upstairs. The view from my window looked like a painting – two adjoining fields, one golden, one emerald in the fading afternoon sun before the clouds came over, bursting with big, fat drops.
She’s from Holland, so doesn’t speak Afrikaans, the pretty girl that walked in looking for Oliver. He was upstairs, watching the rugby, but she sat next to the bar and ordered a tomato juice. It was taken to the kitchen and seemed to be taking awfully long, which we started discussing. I asked if she wanted a Bloody Mary, because it seemed that was what was coming and she told me that no, she couldn’t, because deep inside her a tiny foetus is growing. I clasped this secret information to my breast, a beautiful little glimpse into somebody else’s life, as I explained to the bar lady in Afrikaans, feeling protective of this stranger and her little secret burrowed inside her, that just tomato juice was required, no vodka.
We chatted for a bit, then I returned to my book until a disappointed-in-the-rugby G came down and we ate tomato bredie in front of the fire to warm our tummies and cheer her up. A young girl and her boyfriend were entertaining the boyfriend’s parents in the next room and she kept escaping and coming to chat, exclaiming they were the only two in the village under 50-year’s old. We spoke of longing to be in such a place and her boyfriend basically invited us to stay with them, desperate for young(er) company.
And then back to our little cottage with its fireplace and rietdak ceiling, the rain playing music on the tin roof. Even the manager was away for the weekend so it was all ours. Blissfully quiet, woken by birds and the sound of the church bells up the hill.
Driving home we took a back road, through emerald lucerne fields dotted about with lambs, it was surreally beautiful and I wished not to go back to the city. I pleaded with G to turn left and not right, gulping air, feeling wistful. She was feeling the same as we trudged back into the city lights. My heart feels heavy with a longing that I fear may consume me.
World Penguin Day
1 day ago