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A constantly curious and melancholic wanderer...

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

My secret affair

 On request of my writer's group... (some facts; we do have a wine fridge, we are married, we do give the Valentine's Day presents as mentioned, and those were some of my vows...but mostly fictional)

To make such a confession right after Valentine's Day, could come as a bit of a shock.

Or maybe it's quite fitting.  Does Valentine's Day  become a bit forced after so many years of marriage?  Does it actually point to what could be wrong in relationships?

I don't know...

I remember I used to find Valentine's Day cliched and I swore never to be sucked into the commercialisation and shallowness of it all.  But then I met my husband and suddenly I wanted to be corny with someone on the 14th of February.  I guess that's why this year I still made him the usual music mix and he bought me beautiful red roses.

But let me get back to my confession... my secret affair.  That thing I promised on my wedding day would never be an option.  "I promise to laugh at your silly jokes and make you feel like the most important person in my life (the words echo through my mind, accusing me of forgetting too soon).

It all started the day he told me he wanted to buy a wine fridge.  I did not approve.  It felt like a waste of money and space in our already cluttered home.  But I finally gave in and it arrived and my husband stocked it with a gallery of wines; white ones, red ones, different vintages and blends and selection wines from smaller vineyards.  Names I never heard before suddenly became well-known in our house - for instance; David and Nadia, Boschkloof, the Sadie Family and Mullineux.

I soon realised this was more than just a hobby.  It was becoming a hobby and an expensive one.

I was feeling angry and neglected... Isn't that how most affairs begin?

I would look at him as his fingers touched these bottles in such a tender way, exploring the suppleness of every new one he took out.  Undressing the bottle with his eyes, opening them with such care, scared to spill a drop of it's precious content.  Then pouring it into the glass, looking admiringly at the colour, taking in the intoxicating smell and finally bringing the glass to his lips, taking that first sip, getting completely lost in its taste.

I wanted him to look at me like that, to smell my hair like he used to, to taste me and loose himself in our embrace.

He asked me to drink with him and share in his new hobby, but I refused.  Maybe out of fear of loosing control or maybe because of the joy this seemed to bring him and how it accentuated the emptiness I felt.

After a few months, I could stand it no more.  It was time I took action... I needed some excitement of my own.  I wanted all my senses to be stimulated, reminding me that I am alive.

I waited until he had a meeting at the office that I knew would continue until late.  I showered and put on my new lingerie that I knew showed just enough to make someone feel enticed and wanting to see more.

I put on my favourite perfume and red, slightly daring lipstick to make my mouth seem fuller, more inviting.  I went downstairs slowly...my heart was pounding now.  I had no idea if I was ready for what I was about to do.

I open the door of the wine fridge and take out a tall, dark bottle.  It was a wine I was not familiar with, called Beeslaar Pinotage.

My glass was already out and I pour the velvet, deep red wine and watches as it moves from side to side, like waves in the searching ocean, before it settles.

I look at the colour - it appeared dark in the bottle, but holding it up against the light I can see that it is lighter than portrayed at first glance.  I take time to really smell it - like I have seen my husband doing so many times.  I close my eyes and forget about my surroundings while trying to only focus on what I can smell.  The subtle nuances of pomegranate and plum with just a hint of spice tease my nose.  I continue to keep my eyes closed and open my lips slightly, and take the first sip.  I don't swallow it immediately but swirl it around in my mouth, exploring the tempting taste with my tongue.

I feel a slight explosion of senses happening in me, creeping through my body, making me feel totally relaxed

I think back to the last few years.  My husband sometimes trying to smell my hair, but me pushing him away, because I am busy with a household task that cannot wait.  I remember so many times he folded his arms around me and kissed me in my neck, and me focusing his attention on something he didn't complete yet for me.

I take another sip - the first ecstasy wearing off and now leaving me with a content feeling - knowing what I have in the glass and the feeling it produces in my body.

I have what I need, I realise.  He wants to share his new love with me because I am and will always be his first love.  He wants to touch me and taste me and show his love to me...

I pour myself another glass and wait for my lover to come home.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Journalist for a Day

Sometimes I forget that I used to study journalism for a year before I settled on my Occupational Therapy degree.  I love writing and even though in the end I did not see myself as a journalist, it is still fun to sometimes have opportunities to use some of my skills obtained in that first year of studies.  My little writer club's assignment for the month was writing a newspaper article, so I decided to write about Meryl Streep's powerful speech at the Golden Globes as well as the fact that social media and the internet makes it easier to find and share information, but so much more difficult to find the truth.  

Meryl Streep Trumps with Golden Globe speech

This year’s 74th Golden Globe Awards Ceremony had many memorable moments from the Hollywood stars but included an underlying tension about the future, in particular with the upcoming inauguration of the controversial president-elect of the United States, Donald Trump.  

Although there were a few jokes about Trump during the ceremony, it was Meryl Streep who took the opportunity on stage to voice her disappointment in the people’s choice during November elections.   Streep who received a lifetime achievement award and is called the greatest actress of her generation, used the podium to address what she calls “poor performance” by the man who is about to fill the country’s most powerful seat this Friday, 20 January 2017.  She specifically referred to an incident where Trump allegedly mocked a news reporter with a disability.  Streep continued with a powerful statement saying:  “This instinct to humiliate, when it’s modeled by someone in the public platform, by someone powerful, it filters down into everybody’s life, because it kind of gives permission for other people to do the same thing. Disrespect invites disrespect, violence incites violence. And when the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose.”

Trump had a quick response on Twitter saying that he was not surprised by Streep’s remarks, calling her a “Hillary-lover” and denying that he mocked the reporter, Serge F Kovaleski. Kovaleski, a South-African born reporter writing for the New York Times, suffers from a chronic condition called arthrogryposis, which limits the functioning of his joints.   Trump has continually claimed that he has never met Kovaleski and therefore could not have mocked his disability and stated he was rather referring to what a “flustered reporter” would look like.  According to Kavoleski, he and Trump not only met on a regular basis for interviews and articles, but were on first-name basis for years. 

Trump continued on Twitter, calling Meryl Streep one of Hollywood’s most over-rated actresses. This is just one of many occasions where Trump has made use of social media to respond to claims about his integrity, or to share his unconventional views on sensitive topics.  It is clear that social media played a major role in this presidential election and that Trump’s showmanship and raw unfiltered use of it, sparked interest in many voters and the 19.3 million followers he has on Twitter.  This, together with a general drop in trust of mass media, could have played a role in his surprising victory on 9 November 2016.  According to social media experts, less than one in three Americans  still have confidence in the media to “report the news fully, accurately, and fairly.” Among Republicans especially, trust of media is lower than the norm. 

Streep who has been nominated for 19 Academy Awards and 30 Golden Globes, holds the record for the most nominated actor of all time.  In total she has received 157 different awards internationally, 3 of them Academy Awards.  In her lifetime achievement speech she focused on the importance of diversity and empathy towards human beings.  She also asked the public to support the committees protecting journalists and the press who we need to “safeguard the truth”.  

The question remains what the future will hold for a world seemingly ruled by social media and unsupported tweets and feeds.  Where values are easily forgotten through internet shaming or trying to get more likes and shares and where people seem to lose the ability to find the truth amongst the noise of loud voices. We can only hope the truth will continue to set free, open eyes and break down any walls being put up.  

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Die ballade van Hannetjie L du Plooy

'n Uitbreiding van "Die ballade van Jakob F de Beer" deur Christopher Torr

Dit is 12 uur.  Die wind is stil. Hannetjie du Plooy sit by die tafel op haar stoep en kyk vir die stoel oorkant haar. Sy dink aan die hande wat die stoel aanmekaargesit het.  Haar Oupa se hande.  Dis al wat sy kan onthou van haar Oupa.  Sy groot, growwe hande.  Sy raakvat en skuur en skaaf.  Sy troos en lomp afvee van `n traan as sy val.  My hande het al swaargekry het hy haar vertel. Hulle het te veel van die wêreld se seekry gevoel.  Maar ek dra nie alleen nie, want dis nie net my hande nie het hy dan uitgebrei.  Dis God se hande.  
God se hande het haar aanmekaar gesit het sy dan gedink.  Het Hy net soveel tyd gevat om haar te maak as om haar sussie te maak?  Want net soms het dit vir haar gevoel asof sy dalk `n afskeepwerk was.  Iets wat God vinnig aanmekaar gesit het, sonder om te veel daaroor te dink.  Soms wanneer die perdekarre stof gemaak het oppad plaas toe.  En die stof was nooit vir haar nie.  En sy moes net tee maak en dit sitkamer toe vat.  En sy moes sien hoe die een wat regtig God se meesterwerk was al die aandag gekry het, al was sy jonger.  
Hannetjie L du Plooy.  Haar middelnaam gekies deur haar Pa wat mal was oor opera en die naam Leonara.  Sy het gehou van Leonara, maar sy was vir almal altyd net Hannetjie… Hannetjie du Plooy, byna byna mooi.  Haar sussie se eksotiese naam het haar naam net nog valer laat klink. En met haar lang bene, klokhelder lag en vingers wat op die klavier kon toor, het sy gestraal… en Hannetjie het met die jare meer en meer in die agtergrond verdwyn.  
“As ek maar vlerke soos `n duif gehad het” , herroep sy die woorde van `n Psalm.  Dan het sy weggevlieg…  Weg van hierdie plaas, met sy dorre vlaktes met die spatsels groen hier en daar.  Weg van die Kamdeboo kontrei wat al aarde is wat sy ken.  Weg van hierdie houtstoel wat haar aan haar oupa se hande laat dink en van haar swart rok wat sy  daardie oggend met `n swaar hart moes aantrek.  “ Daar na waar jy vir my wag.  Daar waar die liefde vir ons lag.”
Sy is lief vir die aarde, hierdie dor streek land wat al vir vyf geslagte aan haar familie behoort en nou net aan haar.  Sy het die grond bewerk -  in die veld met son en sweet, en ook in haar kamer op die vloer, met bid en smeek.  Want na haar ouers se dood, moes sy alleen aangaan op die plaas.  En teen daardie tyd het die bank alreeds te veel gebel.  
Was dit die moeite werd?  Al die jare van afsloof en opoffering.  Sy het grond gekies en dit het haar te veel gekos.  Meer as die geld wat haar pa’le geskuld het. Meer as net haar jeug.  Haar siel, haar soeke na iets meer as dit wat voor haar was.  Sy soek nie meer nie.  Die wind het al haar soek weggewaai.  "Draai draai westewinde draai." 
Dit was ’n donkiekar se stof wat haar hart laat klop het.  Want toe die stof gaan le het, was daar ’n klop aan haar deur.  Met sy hoed in sy hand, en sy oë wat te blou is teen die bruin van sy vel het hy daar gestaan.  Sy plooie het meer vertel as wat sy verslete klere kon.  Hy het sy naam gese en dit is nou nog ’n refrein wat oor en oor deur haar spoel.  "Jakob F de Beer, het jy my van die liefde kom leer?"
Hy het min dinge besit. Sy donkiekar wat die pad na haar huis toe na ’n week geken het.  Sy trots oor sy vernuf met windpompe.  En na ’n rukkie, ook haar hart.  Want vir die eerste keer het iemand na haar gekyk en  haar regtig gesien.  Hy het so baie vir haar gekyk.  Aan die begin skaam as sy opkyk en sy blik vang.  Maar later intens en meer intiem, sonder om weg te kyk.  En as sy vir hom koffie aangee, het sy vingers aan hare geraak en dit het haar hart laat dans.  Sy wat altyd alleen moes sit terwyl die ander dans. Hy het net na haar gekyk.  Hy sou net met haar wou dans.  "Draai draai draai tiekie tiekie draai."   
Die wind steek op en sy onthou weer dis vandag.  Sy onthou dis haar laaste keer op hierdie stoep.  Die laaste keer wat sy koffie drink uit haar beker en die bekendheid van die veldreuke om haar gaan geniet.  En die windpomp wat so klap klap klap in die verte met haar praat en vertel van die Water wat tog weer lewe bring.  Selfs na die dood.  
Vir ’n laaste keer laat sy haar gedagtes terug gaan.  Na die rit op die stofpad en Jakob se sing-stem. Die ring uit draad en die growwe-sag van sy soen.  Haar hart wat oorloop en uit haar lyf klim en vlieg saam met die voëls en draf saam met die donkies.  Die opgewonde beplan van ’n lewe saam.  Van asemhalings wat een word.  En nooit ooit meer hoef te soek nie, maar net altyd mekaar vind.  En toe ’n maand daarna, ’n dag voor die groot dag - opgewonde vir die windpompman wag.  Hom na ’n hoeveelheid ure gaan soek en toe wens sy het hom liewers nooit gevind nie.  "Draf draf donkie donkie draf."  
Sy staan op en loop na binne.  Trek stadig die swart rok uit en gooi die ander rok wat reg hang oor haar kop.  "Hannetjie du Plooy - in wit is jy tog mooi." dink sy somber.  Sy kyk af na haar hande, die draadring om haar vinger wat grof genoeg is om te pas by haar hardwerk-eelte.  Hierdie hande wat die afgelope tyd te veel trane gevang het. Wat dan net vir so kort ’n ander hand kon voel.  "Is dit dan ook God se hande?  Het Hy dan ook my trane gevang?"  
Sy trek die deur agter haar toe, klim op die donkiekar en ry in die stofwolk in. Sy dink aan ’n ou gedig.  

“Wilde wind, jy wat orals beweeg.  
Jy wat vernietig en wat behou.  
Hoor jy dan my klaaglied nou.”  

Elizabeth Kendell©