Friday, January 15, 2016

Looking backwards so as to contemplate now

Hiding behind long white cotton curtains, despising the bleached glare and heat of a city scoured by torrid temperatures and smoke from the vegetation fires on the distant peninsula, I take a peak at this view. 

It was the view that I could almost touch from my bed in the wonderfully dark, cooler room beneath the swirling fan in the apex of the A-frame house. How I wish I was there. Now, On the monkeyed hill above Hibberdene on KwaZulu-Natal's south coast. 

I spent the week that ended in Christmas there, visiting my ageing father. But he was an alien there, hiding in his corner, trapped in a spiral of negativity. 

I've spent much time there, when the house was unoccupied. Many times alone. Mostly in the extremely short but champagne days of winter. Or at Easter (often). And in September. Keenly I would listen at night, beneath the whirring fan, to the Indian Ocean thundering against the rocks, imagining the moon dropping a lighted ladder to the shore. 

Or, my favourite, beneath the dripping, misty rain that would comfortably muddle my mind into a contorted zone of dreams and unreal distractions. This is possible only when life's handbrake has been jerked up. The always-green grass wet and matted like a dog's fur after it's just shaken itself from the sea. 

I could live there.

There I've shared the space with precious, important loves of my life; their faces are slightly blurred now like teary glass that's dribbled slowly for a century-old. The Love - my memories of whom are the deepest-scratched-and-picked-and-tooled into the rockface of my soul - remains a heavy beautiful paperweight pressing down on a corner of my life's map; I was so broken at the time. Things can never be the same again, there's no going back, all that I can do now is strive to be the person that I should've been then, now.

My father. I came to see my ageing father. He brooded in the corner like a black widow spider; the king has lost his castle, dreads death, is depressed by a country he no longer really understands. It's the first time I've experienced him like this. I have forgiven myself for resenting him and spending so much time in the bath, reading.

Only now as dusk turns to ink and the ink evaporates The Mountain does my mood lift, slightly, and life, with the slight drop in temperature, becomes bearable. Alone I sit at this screen and keyboard not needing anyone, knowing that I could slip away unnoticed for days. The thought of going through the year's paces again, pouring energy into desperate, stubborn youths, depletes my battery in advance. Tonight that contemplation's bleak.

I'm sure tomorrow that I'll somehow be fine. 

Although I linger as quiet as a midnight mouse in the bottom drawer of my memories, I long to extend my arm and to touch that subtropical view, to drink in deep the passion and welcome of the Indian Ocean, also that perfect blue sky.

This life's been a good one.

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