It had been a year since I had seen Don; a friend and lover and even earlier, often my stalker. He was never ashamed to admit it. We hadn’t planned on spending this long apart. It was cruicial that we were never seen together.
Like life or death.
Now, I was late, after his hurried phone call, risking all, when he told me that he had to see me. My anxiety related to the situation I was leaving behind was mirrored by what I was going towards. But the excitement of being with him soon replaced my initial trepidation.
Just do it!
The road he described was off any regular commuters way; no one should be using it, he said. Nor could be using it, as even the signboards were overgrown.
Hidden and forgotten.
Fear and stomach twinges returned once off the main road, and I found myself continuously looking in the rear view mirror. I don’t like the bush much when I’m alone.
There were thorn trees reaching out making scratching noises on the car and long waving African grasses to pass through as I edged forward. They were entitled to be there. I was the alien, I was the visitor. I wished again that this meeting could have been elsewhere not so hemmed in and surrounded.
Park at the first clearing and walk from there, Don had said. I parked, still feeling trapped. There was no turning back.
The decision was made.
It was summer, and hot, in my haste no thought was put into what I wore. A long flowing Indian skirt, with a white blouse pulled in at the hip by a rope belt which had wooden beads dangling from it, that hooked and dragged on the khakibos weeds as I moved along a narrow pathway. I could hear myself breathing, short breaths.
My toes gripped onto flat tan leather sandals, and the heavy silver chain and locket swayed, made tinkling noises. My hands were wet and the rings on my fingers kept slipping around in the heat.
An omen came to mind.
Would he be there?
A new fear emerged. My mind was back at the Spanish place when I had responded to another phone call and he had kept me waiting then. But he had come that day.
Later, our food lay almost untouched before us, as he nervously rubbed his fingers together like he had a rash that itched between them, not taking his eyes off me.
Our silent intimacy across the table must have been obvious; so why did I question my reasons for being here in this remote place now?
This feels strange, being with you. I had said as the waitress hovered.
Not to me. You’ve been a part of my life for so long, but haven’t known it. Can you understand this, what you are to me? Thank you for coming.
All we needed was time.
Head towards the tall blue gum trees to your right, there is a path, Don had said. I could see the trees over the top of the grasses in the veld. He should be waiting there. The mid day heat was scorching, with a pugnent smell of animal droppings in the air. Wood pidgeons cooed as they perched looking for shade in high branches.
As suddenly as the tall grass had surrounded me, it cleared. I stared, amazed at what the veld had hidden from the world. Don stood beside a large flatroofed corregated iron building.
Silently he waited for me to approach, his fingers rubbing together nervously. He reached for my hand, it was warm and damp. I needed reassurance. Then I saw the helicopter, it was red and white and out of place in the bush. Just like me.
You’re late, he said
You waited, I said.
How did you know I would?
Just knew, I said.
For more Time Travel.