Thursday, November 25, 2004


Switching my body and mind on automatic pilot, my soul decided it needed a break. So while the world kept spinning, I watched my week go by from the sidelines. Avoiding anybody and any kind of talk that would remove me from my comfort zone, I gave myself the time-out needed to recover from the rat race. You’ll be surprised at the things you pick up, when you begin to watch your life as the audience of a movie. Things become more objective and emotions are forced into neutral, making you feel that in some small way, time for you has stopped. And those twenty-four hours that don’t seem to amount to much during any other time in your life suddenly seem sufficient for all the things you need to do.

I’m finally being educated on Portuguese music! A good friend of mine took pity on my ignorance and decided to make me a copy of some of his favourite Portuguese albums. Although I was given three CD´s… I haven’t gotten past the first one. An album called “Moments” by a character that sings, eats and sleeps in his sunglasses; has put the sound to my mood. Music that is neither sad, nor happy yet empowering is all I’ve been listening to since I got it. The artist seems to know how to add words to feelings that are hard to express. He sings of moments and time and eternity… a space of existence that every human being can relate to.

Have you ever forgotten a memory so special that when you’re reminded of it, you scold yourself for ever having forgotten it?
This usually happens when we pass a difficult stage or period of suffering, that we try and erase that time from our memories. In doing so, we often block out some of the good memories as well.

The dreams I love the most are those that you can watch from the sidelines like a movie. You’re not required to think or participate, your only function is to watch. Two nights ago, I relived one of the most significant moments of my life through a dream. I dreamt that I sat on the side of a swimming pool with my legs dipped in the water. Looking around me I recognised the pool and the house as belonging to friends from South Africa. There were kids around and the chubby little girl with long thick hair that was playing with them was none other than me at fourteen years old. It was clear by my tomboyish behaviour that at that stage, I still hadn’t noticed the “attraction” of the opposite sex. Making bombs and telling snotty jokes with the boys still came naturally to me at that stage and the scenery I observed was a hot day in summer where I’d spent the whole of my Saturday from morning to evening in the pool with the boys. Being the only girl between them didn’t bother me although I was the one most picked on and not cut any slack for being of the “weaker sex”. I was dunked and thrown in the pool like any of them and I enjoyed every moment of it. One of those boys was my cousin and another was my “worst enemy”. Being the son of my mother’s best friend, he was to be my childhood torment… and my best friend; I called him Scorpio due to his nature and astrological sign. As punishment or whenever I didn’t do what he wanted (which was most of the time… I was stubborn girl!), I would get punished. In the pool, I was dunked.
Definition of a dunk: he would grab me in the pool and pull me down into the water.
There was no use fighting against his brute strength (although that didn’t prevent me from trying) and in one day I’d be dunked approximately 50-80 times.
I watched myself play with the boys until finally the evening set in. At around eight o’clock and after being inside the pool the whole day, hunger finally set in and everyone got out the pool in the direction of the kitchen. Everyone excepting for me and Scorpio. At first he decided that I couldn’t leave the pool without being dunked another 15 times… and although I put up a darn good fight, he still got his way with me. I watched myself walk out the pool and reach for a towel but then suddenly stopping and turning around. Scorpio hadn’t followed me like he was supposed to; instead he smiled and asked me if I wanted to be dunked again. This time, he wasn’t threatening, he was simply asking me as if it were something I wanted to do. Maybe it was the full moon or the bright stars, for I watched myself drop my towel, look back at him and instead of putting up a fight I moved towards him agreeing to his proposal.
At this point, I stopped watching from the sidelines and decided to get into the pool move closer to the two people, oblivious to my presence. The younger version of me looked insecure, probably expecting to be violently shoved under the water at any moment. Instead, she put her arms around his neck without any resistance and he pulled them both up and down the water until they were dizzy! Finally coming up, I watched myself looking him straight in the eyes and feeling confused. Back then I thought that the funny feeling in the pit of my stomach was hunger, how could I possibly have forgotten the very first time I felt butterflies for the opposite sex?

I woke up with a smile of satisfaction of remembering a special moment that I thought I’d lost. That joy was replaced with melancholy after sitting up in my bed and remembering the road that had followed that memory and the destination I found myself now. Isn’t it funny at how things turn out? I recall a stage when we stopped talking to each other, and then the phase of reconciliation and then the separation. I remember that my mother took it upon herself to inform all her friends on the day I bought my ticket to leave South Africa and yet Scorpio’s mother and father had taken six weeks to try and find the courage to tell their son this news. The night before I left, they’d still hadn’t found the courage to tell him so when I entered his room to say goodbye, It took him a while before he realised that there was something different in this goodbye. When I finally found the words to tell him that I would be leaving for good, I had to fight back tears. His girlfriend left the room after an enormous pause of silence. And for the last time, he held me for the longest time and wished me good luck.
I remember the look in his eyes, the words that he said… even the cologne he wore.
I remember a phone call six months later where he asked me with a serious tone if I was happy.
I remember the first day I met him, the day he taught me to skate, the first English word he taught me and even the first time our mothers went shopping…
I remember songs, words, and conversations… moments, priceless, timeless moments that make up the person that I am today.

Not so long ago, I thought that I’d never be able to think in Portuguese… that I could talk but not think in Portuguese. I thought I’d never understand the language or appreciate its music. Nowadays, I find that it doesn’t matter either way. Whether the word comes in English, Portuguese or Afrikaans, I find that it’s the significance behind it that carries all the weight and the fact that we’re all human, makes emotions a universal language.

Two hours ago, if I’d been asked what I’d been up to. My answer would’ve been “Nothing much”. After reflecting, listening to some great music, spending some time with myself and counting down the days until Christmas… I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ve been busy: living my moments.

Live your present so that in future, your past becomes your most valuable treasure.

No comments: