eleven years ago - johannesburg, by the lake westdene
yesterday morning i had the most perfect day.
it's one of those sunny and cool african autumn morning . it was quiet except for the sound of the wind kissing the leaves of the trees and the birds carrying on a symphony not unlike the jazz band in mellvile the night before. i was lying on the grass in the garden. a pussywillow (or is it poppies? cattails? he called them "fairies" to my endless amusement) landed on my cheek.
i'm stoned. smoking my ciggie. a cup of warm lemon tea next to me. i'm still feeling a little tingly from the good sex last night. and i watch my man reading le carre's the constant gardener next to me. smiling, chuckling quietly to himself and wiggling his toes on the grass. he looked away from his book intermittently as if to check i was OK and not floating away like the faeries. he asked me if i was content. i just smiled.
i was happy. it can't get better than that.
but as i am writing this, M is in a plane on his way back to the uk. he arrived jo'burg last thursday and he stayed with me for the weekend. against my better judgment i brought him to the airport. managed not to cry in the airport. but bawled shamelessly in the car on the 45 minute drive back to town.
i dont regret it though. knowing how terrified i am of the airport goodbye's we decided to talk before we left the garden. i told him 4 things:
1. i thanked him. told him he came in a very trying time in my life. and what he gave was probably exactly what i needed the most.
2. i lied. the night he arrived i promised him i will stop loving him from that point forward. (this is because he insists i shouldn't. he said he didn't want to cause me pain.) but i admitted i will continue love him for some time. and he shouldn't be afraid. it comes with no demands.
3.that it's ok that he doesn't love me. when i think about how he treated me and how generous he was of his affection. (i.e. when he arrived in jo'burg the first thing he said was "you realize i'm here because of you", kissing me in a mall to thank me for a going away CD gift, holding my hand whenever we are on our way home each night this weekend and holding me tight, looking to my eyes with his as moist as mine and kissing me at the airport, etc.), i think its a very good standard for a person who is not in love with me. i told him even for a person who will say he loves me - how he treated me was not a bad barometer at all. it's just that we had too little time.
4. that i hope we can be friends too. that i hope we will find a way to keep in touch and inform each other about the major developments in our lives. because i'll always wish him well.
he was silent for a while. and quietly he said he was amazed at how grown up i am at handling this. he told me 3 things:
1. that our "relationship" did him good. before us he was inclined to say that the last 2 months he had in africa was shit (he wanted to stay till the end of the year but his college booted him out primarily because he's too white). but that's not accurate anymore. he said he's a better person because of us.
2. that he will miss me but he hopes that i don't. (when i asked why, he said again he doesn't want me to be hurt)
3. that if i come to the uk and he's there we should hook up and he'll introduce me to his parents.
so you see i feel there's nothing left unsaid between us. but it still doesn't stop this mammoth weight in my chest from pressing down. so i wrote him today to say i'll have to stop writing to him for a while till i get to the point when i won't be so hurt by losing him so soon.
you may think i'm optimistic about thinking we will keep in touch. the fact is i realize people lose their way all the time. in the airport the only thing i said to him is just in case we don't make good of the "let's keep in touch" thing - he should have a good life. and he should remember that i will always wish him all the best life has to offer because i think he deserves it.
so don't worry about me. he was a good man. and even if sometimes he doesn't think so, he's a good person to love. i think about the rather unfortunate situation we found ourselves in and the countless times when it's so much easier just to be nasty to each other. i'm amazed that we stayed kind and treated each other with a great deal of respect and affection. although this is probably the first time i'm not the one who's doing the "leaving" in a relationship, i think i too am a better person because of him.
as i was waiting for the bus this morning, what he called "fairies" were flying all over the road. thought it was strange but it gave me a great deal of comfort.