How very sweet and thoughtful of you to send a hand written card. You know how much hand written letters mean to me. So much more than an email can convey. So, thank you. Your choice of cover, however, conveys more than your words – ” change partners and dance” and dance we most certainly do!
I have decided I couldn’t stay in the north any longer. The rains had washed away a lot of the crop again and frankly, I was too desolate to try again this season. I know we have enough to harvest but not as much as I would have hoped. In times of desperation and despair I head for home. Our spiritual home .A spontaneous thought made easier as I had managed to catch a flight to Windhoek with ODR who was flying down for more crop spray! I laughed. Well we both did when he told me. It’s a long way from where he started.
We also spoke of you. The road you are currently on, which lies in the direction of “Madness”. The road to love two women. We exchanged a glance. He had tried it once.
The drive to Swakopmund was long, but uneventful. Samuel had met me and I dozed fitfully in the back as he drove the miles in silence. Silence back towards the house. Or maybe just silence. Backwards in memory!
Stopping off for food in the town full of Bavarian houses, which all seem more than incongruous and each year more ridiculous. Relics of a time long gone for most. I walked along the Pier and ate, as you would expect, at Jetty 1905. In your honour of course.
The renovation and repair work has been completed and the glass floor a delight to view. And yes, there was fresh kingclip and salad. My favourite white wine slipping down more easily than it should. And No – I didn’t drink a bottle. Why would i?
I remembered when we saw the penguins. You paid a fisherman to take us out to the island just off Luderitz. I was convinced they would have gone. You were convinced they would be there. And they were. You told me of the story of the male penguin giving the female five stones as part of the mating ritual. I didn’t believe you but it would appear it was true. The male gives the female five stones to seal their relationship. Who did you give your five stones to, Hadji? .
Coming back we drove past the hospital at the top of the hill. No longer the small country hospital with a noisy tin roof which deafened us during the rainy season, but now a brick built residence with rather modern facilities. I thought ” that will serve me well in my later years..”
I had thought that time would heal the trauma you put me through and its true, there is a restfulness which has settled upon me. I don’t think of you with her and I don’t question it. So your letter professing love to both of us was cruel. I am too old to be in competition with a young girl and I am certainly not of a character to share. You spoke of first loves; second loves and last loves,, but I, I am only interested in “great loves”. Who is yours, Hadji? Who is yours?
Your decision was made and so it must stand, regardless of who you love now and how deeply.
As we turn the corner I see the bungalow looming up ahead of us. The iron gates in need of a paint but otherwise it looks magnificent rising out of the morning mist. I get out of the car and breath in the air. Fresh. Cool. Clear.
We stand at the gate and Samuel shouts ahead. ” Not long now, Mrs” . He knows!
And then from out of nowhere, the two Akitas run up to greet us. Not our original Walter and Fel-ix, of course, but their grandsons – but still, Akitas all the same.
I shower and then ride out to the “Kameeldoring tree. Do you remember how we used to sit under it – shading the horses and us from the midday sun and sipping greedily from the water bottles, no longer cool? Sometimes you would slip the Gin into it and see if I had noticed. Of course I never did. I was so intoxicated by us. I could not have got any higher. I still see us there, in my mind’s eye, looking across the veld. Broken dreams now, but I would not have thought it possible then
In your letter you told me to remember Namibia. How could I ever forget it? It was, after all, my suggestion we move here all those years ago. We would read poems by candlelight out on the verandah.
Port and cigars. We shared them both. Searching out new poets until we found Ingrid and reciting her poems whilst watching the sun set out in the veld. She saw “Afrika” as we did. Your Afrikaans was shocking but you understood the context. She was a close contender to Rumi.
I have little else to say of merit, save to quote this. A long time ago we had decided we would have this on our Headstone. Will we still, I wonder?
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass the world is too full to talk anymore
RUMI – who else?