Skipping Reels Of Rhyme
The re-roofing game was hard, but I had its perks, at least you always had a
splendid view of the surroundings, and being at the coast, this meant the
He would sit on the rooftop and stare out over the mighty deep blue ocean,
and watch as the waves broke on the beaches and the rocks. McDonald was a hard
boss who extracted his pound of flesh daily from his workers. He had four teams,
which meant that he had four pick-ups each with its own crew of workers.
John drove the pick-up of one of these crews; it was a small white Nissan
fourteen hundred. He mostly did the smaller jobs in the beginning, such as
replacing old gutters and facia boards. Gradually, however, he was brought into
the bigger contracts where the entire roof was stripped, and replaced with a new
He had a small rondavel that he rented from McDonald, and which was situated
at the back of his large property close to the river. Being at the bottom of the
property, John's rondavel was very close to the water. He would sit on his small
porch and watch the beautiful green river flow peacefully by, as he smoked a
joint. He had started smoking regularly since he had moved down to the South
Coast. Smoking grass relaxed him during his off hours, and gave him energy to
work while he was at the job.
Sometimes he would go down to the local pub called 'the coconut palm', and
have a few beers, especially on weekends when they sometimes had a live band. It
was here he met Natalie who was eighteen, and a year younger than him. She was
short, with long dark red hair. They were both immediately attracted to one
another, and soon hit it off. They went everywhere together, and became quite
close. Her parents stayed in Glenmore, while his lodgings was across the river,
She spent many days and nights with him in his rondavel, where they smoked
grass, and made love. They made love with the passion, intensity and frequency
of young people in their first serious relationship, and he never thought sex
could be this good. It was. He was falling head over heels in love with Natalie
and he did not know how he was going to break the news to Natasha.
He lay back on his bed with the red haired girl in his arms as he thought
about this, and blew out smoke from the joint through his nostrils.
She was adapting well to University and campus life. She lodged in a commune
close by, and soon made friends.
The commune was in an old house, and it was inhabited by both male and female
students. Actually there were just two girls in the house, herself and a girl
called Grace, who was a colored. The two of them became great friends. Then
there were three males lodgers. The two Afrikaans boys that shared a room was
called Johan and Koos, and they were hardly ever around, as they were out at
parties all the time, spending their parents hard earned money.
The third male lodger was also the one who was officially in charge of
running the house. He was Jewish boy called Cecil Rabinovic, and his father was
a wealthy accountant. That was one of the first things that attracted Natasha to
him. She also found his phylactery quite cute, and he had such sweet dimples
when he smiled. Yes, she liked him a lot, and she could tell he liked her. That
was quite plain to everyone from the start.
He also did not wait for the grass to grow under his feet, and on the first
weekend of her settling in the house, the two of them were already going out on
a date. After a month they had a steady relationship going, and they also became
She lost her virginity to him on the sandy beach of Clifton, one early summer
evening as they lay beneath the stars. He took her gently, because he knew it
was her first time, and soon they were making love on a frequent basis back at
he commune. She moved into his room, which was the biggest in the house, being
the old master bedroom. They spent all their free time together and fell deeply
Yet, she still had such strong feelings for John, how was she going to break
the news to him. She new she had a responsibility towards him to tell him the
truth. She was in love with someone else.
John received her letter in the same classical brown envelopes, which she
always used. He smelt it and let her fragrance linger in his nostrils, as he
always did, before opening it.
He read it slowly, he read it again. He was not sure whether he understood
her correctly, he wished he didn't, but he did. She had met someone else, a Jew
boy named Cecil. She still loved him, but they had been apart to long. She could
not wait any longer, she hoped he understood. She hoped he would keep writing.
She was sorry.
He thought about it a while, and did understand. She was young and beautiful,
she needed to be with someone. He could not be there. She still loved him, but
now thing had changed. She had met someone else. He knew how he still felt about
her. He loved her as he always did, and always would. He loved her.
But he had Natalie, and they were happy together. She was just as pretty, and
almost as smart as Natasha. And she was crazy about him, anyone could tell you
that. They were a great couple. Yes, he and Natalie were happy together, very
happy, but sometimes he would lie back stoned on his bed in his rondavel, ad
wish there would someday be some way that he and Natasha could be together.
He still loved her more than anyone else, and always would.
When she received his letter she was happy. When she had opened it and read
it she was not. She felt lying crying, so she did a bit.
John had met some cheap little South Coast slut while he was staying there,
and had fallen for her. How could he be so stupid. Just because she met some one
nice, it did not mean he could go and hook up with some little bimbo. Natasha's
sadness slowly turned to anger.
It was all lies, she thought to her self. The book, the years of romance, the
promise that they would ultimately be together, it was all lies. How could she
be so stupid? He was just like all other men. If she had not told him about
Cecil, how long would he have remained silent about this Natalie bimbo. He
probably never would have said a word. He would just have kept it his little
She would never trust him again, and she would write to him no more. He could
go and rot. He had hurt her and betrayed her feelings. He would wait and wait,
but he would not hear of her, Natasha Booysen, again.
And if he should phone, they would just tell him, she was out with Cecil.
He waited in vain for her letter. It never came. He wrote to her a few more
times to reply to his letters, but she never did. Eventually he gave up, and
stopped writing himself.
To make matters worse, he and Natalie broke up after she hit it off with some
surfer. After her brief romance with the surfer, she wanted to come back to John
and rekindle their relationship, but with the loss of Natasha he was not in the
mood to do so. He quickly showed her the door when she came round one evening.
He was sad at first when he Natalie broke up, but once it was over and done
with, his only true regret was losing the love of Natasha.
He missed her more and more with the passing of each day. He daydreamed
frequently about the days of their young love together. How he now wished that
they had indeed made love back then. Maybe then things would be different. Maybe
then they would still be together. Maybe it would have brought them closer. He
did not know. But, oh, how he missed her and how he loved her.
He wished that he could just receive letters from her again, and write to her
in return. How he longed to get one of those familiar brown envelopes in the
post. To touch its silken surface, and smell the feint trace of her perfume.
If he would ever hear from her again he did not know, but he hoped he would,
he dreamed that he would, some day.
Natasha was happy in Cape Town. She was doing well at her studies, and was
content in her relationship with Cecil. They were getting along fine.
On weekends they would go down to the waterfront, and party till the early
morning hours. Monday it was back to class, and studies. She and Cecil made love
almost every night, but she took care not to fall pregnant. She did not want to
get married and have children until after she had obtained her degree. She did
not fancy walking around pregnant on campus like some girls.
Her studies were going well, even though it was only her first year, and she
foresaw no difficulty in completing the course. Yes, her life was going well. In
a few years she would have a qualification and a good relationship, and after
that, who knows, maybe a job and a career. Things were definitely looking up in
her life. She had no complaints.
It was marvelous to live in the mother city, surrounded on all sides by the
sea. The people were friendly and laid back, much more so than back in Gauteng.
The pace here was considerably slowed down. She was pursuing the life, which she
had dreamed of, and she was happy.
But, every now and then she would think of John, and the old days, and she
would miss him.