Sunday, November 8, 2009

Collected Memories: Growing Old

This is a story about my people- family, friends, acquaintances, enemies. Everything is a story of the people in it.
At the end of this year, I am moving from the Cape to Johannesburg or Pretoria [my plans are still a little vague], and in the future I plan to spend some time living in China, France, Germany and England before heading to Russia to explain to them that I was a Russian princess in my former life. I am mooi emotional about the immediate move, though I have put the tears on hold while I deal with my final exams.
Most people who were at school with me ended up studying at Stellenbosch University, UCT or some or other college in either one of these towns. I lost contact with most of them, whether by choice or circumstance. But every so often I stop and think of our days at school. Hilton vs Michaelhouse, stargazing on front lawn, midis, horseriding, boyfriends and breakups- the myriad of things we went through together in our five years at boarding school.
Similarly, I think of the past three years at university. I remember living in res, making new friends. JOOL, drinking too much, making the mistakes we were supposed to make but wish we didn't. I remember gigs, festivals, drugs, coffee dates and cramming for exams. Wine tours, rainy weekends at the beach, changing our opinion of one another unexpectedly. Sickness, paranoia, reconnections and midnight texts when we are feeling at our most honest.
I also remember a handful of deaths, and the realisation each will not be the last one. No longer being a teenager, and ignoring the realities of the future, something we convince ourselves is a faraway thing, possibly even a myth.
Tomorrow night I will attend my first farewell, for someone else moving from here, going on to bigger places and other things. There are many people who live in the same area as I, who I don't see nearly often enough. There are many people I may never see again, as we leave this bubble and start a new chapter in what has, unitl now, been a fairly sheltered life. It saddens me that it takes a departure to realise the importance of a person. It saddens me that it takes death to realise you have no idea what your last words were to a friend, that you beat yourself up as you try recall the reply you received when you carelessly waved a rushed goodbye, never knowing it would be the last. But it turns out we sometimes realise things too late.
So I would like to spend the last few weeks making time for every person who has, in any way, been a part of these three years. I may call you, or contact you in whatever way. I may have lost your number, I may be too scared to call. I may be waiting for you to call me. I may take a while to formulate the perfect day to create the perfect memory of you. Call me, and let us have our last cup of coffee, that last cocktail at sunset, the last afternoon of swopping music and watching illegal DVDs. Send me a message, and let's get drunk, eat dodgy pub food, eat junk food at three in the morning as we walk down the street singing songs from Moulin Rouge, and laugh when we get the words horribly wrong. Let's dare one another to eat something we would never dream to eat. Call me, and tell me what you may remember, what you always hated, my most annoying habit. Let's discuss what we have in common, how complementary our differences are. Let's make plans to meet up again in five years, on Table Mountain or Jammie Stairs, with a bottle of vodka and five years' worth of catching up.
More importantly, do this with other people. Old friends, new friends, family friends, ex-friends, morethanfriends. In the end the memories will be all we have, so we may as well make them great ones.

A life of glory,

a little taste of fun.

But beware it's only just begun,

Begun to take you away.

Let's be gone,

away from here.

-Thieve: Getting Old

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