Saturday, October 14, 2017

When an owl calls your name


Then in the last of the dusk, with bats silently on the wing, the icy wind stilled, the traffic on the main road that is the peninsula's spine lessened, we walked home in the descended peace alongside the demure lagoon.

I'd missed the last train back to the city and would spend the night here. In a house filled with passionate art, unfinished canvasses on easels, candles and books.

Muizenburg has not an uptight nor pretentious bone to it, although that's not always been the case. Yet, even while I'm told that danger lurks in its streets, I don't feel even slightly threatened, nor at risk. Perhaps it's the heady combination of red wine and the joys of an old and robust friendship that flood my veins, arteries, making me more unhindered than I should, perhaps, be.

I'm excited for the change in my routine that this welcome but unanticipated night in Muizenburg will afford me: other smells, sights, sounds; the moon too is different; another bed; foreign coffee.

While I'd left Vladimir Nabokov's 'Lolita' at my bedside, I had brought along his 'Speak, Memory' for the train ride (I'd finally gotten to Nabokov). Even so, once in the house, Kleinboer's 'Midnight Missionary' grabbed my attention and although I'd been resistant to reading it for years now, I took it to bed.

Also Ryk Hattingh's 'Huilboek'. Hattingh had died earlier in the day of a heart attack, in New Zealand where he and family had relocated to. Merely two week's ago he'd visited SA to collect an award and prize money for this, his latest novel. The novel, in Afrikaans, he had written in-between working as a cobbler and locksmith in Auckland.

My friend, she'd worked with him, recounted stories from his life, their life moments together; this was in-between fielding calls from the small circle of friends who were also recounting shared tales in-between expressing their grief, their loss.

This as my lids slid lower and bed beckoned.

When an owl calls your name...

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