The email, the twitter, and then all the facebook posts,
the death of a young girl in the forest, it’s been a horrific affair
I came downstairs to make some tea and saw Milly sitting on a chair.
I sat down next to her and watched her with the eye of the needle, an intense gaze,
and we chatted about age
We were both on the stoep looking out on the day. I heard bird cries and building drills, the bark of the dog.
The navy blue cotton thread peaked through the tiny hole, I grabbed at the end,
She said, ‘Aai I must go and work now , but this hem
…it’s all out …it looks horrible.. and the same under the arm ..
I looked at her hard working hands as she gathered up the dress.
It’s Granny K’s birthday today I said, she’s 73 …can you believe the time, Mil?
Aai, tsss, she said.
Do you want some tea?
I flipped the kettle switch and grabbed two mugs, drew the sugar bowl closer and dug in for some rusks.
On the radio people were talking, I have no clue what they said. I thought it was weird that this was a constant sound in my head.
Of voices and people in a language still so foreign to me and yet this is my crazy Africa,
it’s so much part of me.
I took out the tea and she asked after some my friends,
She asked after granny, grandpa , Aunt Omi and all the others she knew. And we chatted awhile about people and places from our beautiful view.
I could sense her task was nearly complete, I didn’t want her to go.
I said, ‘Wait Mil, I’m going to get my laptop, I want to come sit next to you, it’s so beautiful out here, have you finished your tea?’
She took a sip from her mug as I took my brief leave.
In a sec I was back, with my bum in the chair, that’s what we writers have to do, it’s how we get there.
Are you finished your book?
No, not even half way I shrieked as I kept tapping away, her presence still near.
And then it was over, the quiet moment was gone, our vastly diverse and yet shared lives
to which we both belong.
I told her we’d had quiche last night, she asked how did I do it?
We spoke of the cost of red peppers and I asked how did she?
Earlier in the morning, we’d talked of the girl killed in the forest and I told her to keep Sussie, her daughter safe, don’t let her be alone.
She told me she was nervous sometimes living amongst poverty and drugs,
There’s lots of skollies there she said, the drugs make you mad and they just want to kill.
They really are dangerous thugs.
I’ve been thinking about this all and what it all means,
This thing about people who are close to you and how few there actually are, and the ones who you barely know and spend time on and who are all really so far,
In the end there’s not many of them, the really precious few.
Take time in your day and tell them how much they mean to you.