Thursday, 27 August 2015

All the luck in the world

I can hear the boats creaking, the waves clashing against their hulls.
Cars rumble past, at times with a momentary hint of loud music.
Then the up-and-down creaking is back,
Almost clock-like,
A thump-thumping in the night.
The occasional gull caws.
Voices of people walking past at this time, no longer today but tomorrow. 
Then the creaking returns.
And all of this life I listen in on 
from the comfort of my bed. 

Today I said the first "see you soon". I hadn't thought about having to say goodbye, about probably not seeing people again, about things ending. All the packing and panicking has been occupying my mind and my time. Moving is such bullshit. Throwing away things, wondering if you should be on Hoarders, packing things as efficiently as you can possibly imagine (the threat of having to move everything in one car always looming, the constant questioning of where everything came from, and then the stress of hauling the stuff around. Strange how we attach meaning to objects that we could very well live without. This sedentary lifestyle, enabling us to believe there is value in keeping things.

Tomorrow I pack up the last bits and move everything to the ground floor before friends come over for a last celebration. And on Saturday it is really goodbye. Damn. How time flies when you don't know what the hell you are doing.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Met jou klere aan

Skooltyd moes ons 'n internskap doen.
Vir 'n week was ek by Protea Boekhuis in Hatfield. In die oggende het ek met die bus stad toe gery, my Discman in my sak en die CD van die dag gereed vir die uur wat ons deur Pretoria sou ry. By die werk het ek nie juis veel gedoen nie. Ek het in 'n hoekie gesit en manuskripte gelees, meer kan ek nie onthou nie.

Een van die vrouens wat daar gewerk het het dié sin teen haar muur vasgeplak, en ek sal dit nooit vergeet nie: vir julle skryf ek susters, wat in die liefde geval het, wat gebreek het soos borde.

Nou, meer as 10 jaar later, kry ek die hele gedig van Sarina Dönges aanlyn:

My arme susters

vir julle skryf ek, susters,
wat in die liefde geval het
wat gebreek het soos borde
of dunner, soos Venesiese glas

julle wat die snykant
van nagdinge ken

aan julle deure sal kom klop
die woordgeleerdes en fariseërs
uitgeswel soos somervrugte, immuun
teen die steekvlieë van die sonde.

julle wat gesmul het
aan gesteelde pere

sal snags in Mosesmandjies lê
op 'n meer van Valiums
die lakens sal julle vasrank
soos plante 'n vermoeide huis.

julle wie se minnaars wortelskiet
langs hulle geil vrouens,

julle sal opeens weet, liewe susters,
(julle lywe uitgeskud soos meelsakke)
dat julle bloot 'n bestanddeel was
nooit met liefde gesuurdeeg nie;

julle was peuselkos
aptytwekkers voor 'n maaltyd

ag, my arme susters.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Now you're lost/Lost in the heat of it all/Girl you know you're lost/Lost in the thrill of it all

I grew up leaving, always leaving. Packing bags, moving again. New place, new friends. Not a bad life, right?!

But it also made me think that leaving was the only place I could go. After school all I wanted was to leave, to not see this city, these friends, this family, not seeing what had raised me. There was so much more to discover, there was this world of experiences that I wanted to have and which I imagined wouldn't be possible in Pretoria. 

I hadn't yet learned that leaving is a lonely endeavour. It involves a host of questions ranging from the banal to the life-altering: Where to go? For how long? What to pack? What administrative documents would be necessary? Would I be missed? Should the favourite books really come along? It also shifts between an attachment to things and an attachment to people. Leaving is selfish, leaving is choosing what you want above what others might need from you in staying.  

I didn't care. Because you see, I needed, desperately, to see - see anything, everything, absorb all the visual cues possible. These past two years, I have had my fill. There have been countless concerts, festivals and trips across Europe. I have spent hours in buses, trains and other public transport. I have lugged around my luggage and bought items as reminders of these travels. I have seen cities, gone to their tourist attractions, visited exhibitions, eaten the specialities and gotten lost. I have had films developed after a few months that spanned all of these roads taken. As I said, I have tried to gobble down this place because coming here needed to have mattered.

And it has. I may not have done much academically, but even the darkest days here have been a learning curve. Sure, I still don't know where or as what I'll find gainful employment after these wanderings. I still struggle with being an adult. But there has been a settling of my person, a certainty that comes with knowing who you are, what you like and being unafraid of wanting a particular life. Just as the centre of gravity shifted downwards to the pelvis from the Australopithecus to modern Homo Sapiens to enable bipedalism, my own sense of self seems to have reached an agreement with my insecurities. I know that I am not without value, not without wit and humour and talent (even if all it amounts to is quoting rap lyrics at appropriate times). What a thing, to start liking oneself at 27.

As I write, most of my furniture has been sold off and I am packing my things. Leaving, again. This time for Paris, again with just a suitcase and the hope of being a better version of myself in a new but familiar place. After three months, two flights will take me home to contemplate what comes next. All I know is I want to stop leaving.