Posted by: madamm | February 1, 2008

See me

When I was a child, my mother and father took Blanche and I to Namibia a number of times. On one occasion, we all went “duning” on the sands of the Namib. Windswept hair, midriff tops, sand in our eyes and ears. The ecstacy of flying down the exquisite, almost artistically sculpted dunes, eyes shut tight and holding on, was never captured on photographs.  
There is only one photograph of us, moving slowly in the merciless heat of this uninhabited place, barefoot back toward the car. My memory of “duning” has distilled with this image and I am left, some sixteen years later, only with the thought that it was horrible because my feet were seared in the scorching sand and if only aunty Lucille would hurry up to open the door of her car for us. 
Having grown up since, learning about the pancreas, World War II, Stanislavsky, Italian neo-realism and what words like “cunt” and “ephemeral” mean, I think I’ve reached a new (sandless) zenith. And there are countless Kodak moments stored away in photo-albums where you only see me at the top. See me here, I am smiling (too widely, in my opinion) because the school photographer made me laugh on the night the school gave me all those prizes. See me waltzing in a moerse pink ballgown (it was a really tight fit): Shall we dance…(one two three and…) on a bright cloud of music shall we flyyy… See me falling in love with the boy who sang me songs. He used to write me long letters, pretending he is away at war during Ramadan.  
A chubby girl, I was. Effens geset, I remember my bespectacled friend from Kraaifontein said. See me lose 18 kilograms and feel like a “hotty”. Another boy came and kissed my lips a thousand times. But he was taken away shortly before his 21st birthday.” Dress to Kill”, his invitation had said. A borrowed gift from God.  
A Spinster of Arts doesn’t quite have the same ring as a Bachelor of Arts, I suppose. But by the time I graduated for the first time, acquiring this degree, that was exactly what I was. Unattached. See me looking at you from my graduation photo now. I am smiling (just the right amount).  Before then, I had turned 21 and lost another person I had grown very much in love with. See me laughing in Grahamstown where he was studying, for the camera. See me at my 21st birthday party, surrounded by friends and family. Happy for my “inconquerable soul” as W.C. Henley had said. See me at another pinnacle where I gained one more degree and more importantly, some life-long friends.  
They were all at my wedding less than a year ago. I find weddings so moving, said a TV character once, two people, so naïve and yet so incredibly brave. I loved again though there was too much of everything else in this world. The allowance of affectations superceding the divinely simple. 
And when the mirror looks at me in this “foul clutch of circumstance”, I search and I search. Those eyes (unsmiling) and that incessantly chattering mouth speaking to you, meticulously pronouncing words just like the recipient, adjusting to every context of other beings but never silenced (still).  
The Namib dunes are never the same. The nuances and curves of the sand change daily as it adjusts also to the ebb and flow of the adjacent Atlantic. I remember appreciating that it will never be the same after I had left. But please see me smiling (almost imperceptible) as I walk away from this peak, embracing everything I am, the happened the unhappened. Thank God I was never alone. “Bloody but Unbowed”, Henley said. My feet welcoming the ephemeral scorches of sands to come.

Hello Everybody

This will be this blog’s last post. Aside from the fact that I have now penned a book bound in the form of a masters thesis (and degree!YAY!) on this subject, I should like the opportunity to close this chapter in my life appropriately. I never did have the chance to traverse the sky to live and be with the person I married, however the serenity God gave to me accept this makes the pain bearable.

This has been an incredible time for me and I thank you for yours.



  1. Bye. I seriously am going to miss your writing. As you’ve just displayed you are incredibly talented!


  2. Thank you Miss M. I appreciate your compliment.
    We’ll keep in touch nonetheless…

  3. Hi Mrs M,

    I really want to get hold of you as I stumbled on your site and want to get your permission to refer to it in my PhD research…


  4. Hey,

    Do you have an email address that I can contact you on?

    Funny, everyone is entitled to my opinion to 🙂

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