Them: “Layers- you’re going to need to just get a lot of thermal tops and uhm, leggings yes, plenty of those” …
Me: “Ok, I’ve got some already actually, and scarves and quite a sizeable amount of differently designed coats and jackets”.
Me to myself – yes, there are coats. Trench coats, hooded bomber jackets, longer coats that have seen the inside of many suitcases from university days to “vac” * (vacation breaks per semester), to the mothball infused wardrobes in my childhood bedroom and to the ‘modestly sized yet bulging cupboards of adult life in Joburg.
The collection had increased, since moving to Johannesburg, admittedly more for aesthetic reasons than the severity of the Highveld winters.
Them: “Oh, my G-d , it is going to be freezing”…
Me: “ Oh and I have quite a number of beanies too”.
Me to myself: again, a collection that goes back to university days – different colours, different styles, and shapes –
I think I’ll be fine.
I’ll be fine
And so the conversations ensued with those who would suddenly walk into my solitary workspace.
The conversations ranged from love, both romantic and platonic, to work, to creating, to uncertainty,to career goals, to perpetually waiting, to taking chances on yourself, to black tax and familial ties, to truly LIVING and not merely existing.
I’ll be fine
There is nothing like being in limbo.
The constant ebb and flow.
Oh, the fear, the kind that weighs your feet down like lead balloons.
I kept firing up north from the south. As I fired, there were moments when I would leap and run, moments when the lead balloons loosened their grip. Oh how great it was to move my ankles around.
Just as I was carefully running, the lead balloons would bring me down again.
They weighed more than me…
They weighed me down.
When I landed, I would wriggle the thread that so steadfastly held those lead balloons tied to my ankles.
The wriggling was meant to set me free, damnit!
Shoot from the south to the north, hit, leap, run, miss, land, and wriggle.
I’ll be fine …
Him: “ You can do this, A”
“Keep making me proud”
“Do it for yourself”
“Let me help you with a cover letter”
“Here’s a link to a job , you should apply”
“Email these people, contact that person”
“Come with me here and then you can also meet other people”
“Listen to the people who actually love you”
“It’s me, I’m here “
“I love you “
Calls, texts, e-mails, WhatsApp conversations, likes, comments, and more private and intimate connections.
Work , work , work
Tick- tock- tick-tock
Many aeroplanes, foreign destinations but a familiar love.
Tears, laughter, smiles, bubbles, kisses, arguments, conversations, slow dancing to no music in the early hours of the morning, brainstorms, arguments, the tightest hugs…
That’s love it’s all of the things, yes all of the things.
Fierce independence, career goals and a guard – these needed to let the love in.
These needed love.
These still need love
Them: “You’re young… You should”
Me: “It’s not about age”.
Them: “You should go and try , but what about” …
Me to Myself : -but , what if, if only , let me just , in a few months
I kept running, the paces varied, hell the mind was also running marathons of its own.
I’ll be fine ….
Tick- tock- tick-tock
I’ll be fine.
The silence was deafening
The love was and is still there.
So is the guard, but we learn about vulnerability.
We learn that vulnerability is not a weakness.
We learn that we have the ability to outweigh the lead balloons.
Now I am here.
I am here Now.
We begin again.