I got to Observatory just before The Night got there; we met on the unusually quiet Main Road. The streets, alleys, were more or less deserted and I knew that I had time enough to get in and out before the usual Friday night crowds ravaged the drag.
It's unique, off-beat and eccentric. A true melting pot that seamlessly blends all colours while ensuring that not a single soul loses its individuality.
Simple, sumptuous Afrocuisine. Fantastic music. Foreigners, and folk from all over the continent.
Took my usual candlelit table next to the tiny alcove that is the bar. It's the best vantage point from which to watch the passing parade; also the light from the bar, with my candle, provides enough light for me to write by. While, simultaneously, keeping me inconspicuous in the shadows.
I overheard a writer talking about another writer. Then he spoke, loudly, about himself: That he'd thrown up his university position because the institution stole his soul and the wasteful hours clashed with his writing time. Even so, it seems that his newfound freedom had come at a cost: I gathered that he was struggling. Of course, which now, he had all the time in the world to do.
This was overheard and gathered while I, myself, seemingly oblivious, was hunched over the page. Especially his haggling over the house wine prices was revealing. A sure giveaway. These additional insights into a man who's writing I deeply admire were indeed grist for another writer's mill.
I am most at home in this unpretentious establishment, drag (Main Road, Obs) and surrounding suburb.
However, what shook me the most last night while walking to Obs from Woodstock, was when I passed the home - where I've spent countless hours and shared as infinite conversations, meals and wine - of a now estranged and formerly best friend.
And his partner, we were all extremely close.
There was a 'sold' sign on the wall.
Seeing it there was like having a nail driven into my heart. I also knew then that there was no coming back from the edge of the abyss that was all that remained of our relationship.
The worst is that I still have no idea what happened to us, which is almost a year ago.
The days are getting longer. Despite the cold, summer is marching southwards, towards us.