Monday, April 6, 2009

Collected memories: Trois

I find myself typing and smoking at the same time once again. It’s all very Sex and the City. Except that this time I find myself at O.R. Thambo International, 24 minutes before boarding my plane back to Cape Town. I am in the Wimpy, smoking section, and I am alone. So is everyone else, and resultantly not a word is being said. Not that that bothers me: I have The Kills to keep me company. And the coffee is great, despite that it is served with a plastic spoon. Though I suppose the scene overall is a bit of a sad sight...
I mentioned before I am not wild about Johannesburg or Pretoria. But I had a good weekend. Well, Thursday and Friday anyway. Largely owed to Liam [I swear I will stop blogging about him soon!]. On Saturday morning I piled in an overly-full car with my sister, Nadya, and her husband, Eric, as well as their month-old child, my niece, Erin. We drove down to Bethlehem to celebrate my aunt’s 50th- and my grandmother’s 75th birthday. We stayed in a lovely guesthouse/villa, and I got to eat twice as much nougat as anyone else, thanks to the fact that my invisible boyfriend does not eat the stuff. Nonetheless, it is Bethlehem and the only thing good about this place is that a Black Label costs you R8. So the weekend was fairly family-orientated; I saw almost my entire extended family [minus Christine, my dear cousin who is studying in Nebraska]. I even saw my cousin Yolandie, who has kept her distance even more since the death of her brother [my cousin, Ian] just over a year ago. It struck me that, with people moving abroad, my grandfather’s illness and the fact that the older we get the more people in our lives pass away, this may well be our last big family get-together.
I confess, however, that I have never been much of a family person. Judge me if you will. I really have nothing in common with the majority of them; in fact I don’t know all of my cousins’- or uncles’ names. Shocking, je sais.
I am also not much of a children person. I suppose it is a lack of exposure to them until now. I also struggle to think of any man who would commit to me ‘until death do us part’, and that, combined with how career-orientated I am, has made the dream/notion of someday having children a lesser-featured brain activity. But I digress...
Liam is all about his daughter, Brigid. He mentioned what it is like to see his father, who was away from home a lot when Liam was a child, being very [grand]fatherly towards Brigid. And I feel the same, with my father. He has a one-year old daughter with his new wife, Lanie, and another on the way. When I come home once a month I see him being how I know he never was with me or –my siblings. It is a little odd, but nothing I am likely to dwell on. Anyway, with all of this there are babies everywhere. My brother is also engaged so I am the only one in the family who is not engaged/married/pregnant. Just in case I need more reason not to fit in.
I recall recently having a conversation with André. It was while we were driving to their house in Bellville, after an Ashtray Electric gig and mid-party, at around 4am I would guess. Playing in my car was the Die Heuwels Fantasties album, which I have played through countless times. One of my favourite tracks on it is Leja. It was written for a future daughter, thus not your typical love song, but a love song nonetheless. André told me that he had written a song [titled Leja too, believe it or not] with the same idea behind it, and then he discovered this one. A pity, but I doubt we’ll never hear his version.
On Friday, just before heading off to the Johannesburg Art Expo, I walked into my sister’s room and saw this magnificent rocking chair. Oh-so-old-school, I had to get pictures. I hate to quote Liam quoting Juno, but this post screams ‘it started with a chair’. So I spent quite some time watching my sister with Erin. Nadya looks tired, and the inherited perpetual rings we all have under our eyes are a little more pronounced on her of late. But she is so beautiful. I have always thought that, and I always will. And watching her with Erin was even more beautiful! She is so in love with this being, this child she brought into the world, and I am starting to get that fascination with birth and ‘new life’. So, seeing as I always take pictures of musicians’ feet [Inge Beckman and Rudi Cronje jump to mind as favourite snaps], I thought I would put up some of Erin’s. Who knows, maybe someday she will be a rockstar.
For now, I recollect a new-found like for Pretoria, swishing it around in my mouth to wait for the aftertaste, and I eagerly anticipate returning to Cape Town and Stellenbosch. First stop: Bohemia for a Black Label with Melissa. It’s been too long.
She’s only been gone three days, but still her mind’s a fucking haze...

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