Gogo's Journals 3/4

By Drum Digital
17 February 2014

Thando's dying gogo Mildred tries to tell her a story from her hospital bed.

As the wind began to pick up speed she slithered down the rocks, a few times nearly losing her footing. But she knew the rocks well and soon she was standing on the sand. Another gust of wind hurled huge drops of rain into her facebut she carried on walking.

Finally the speck that she had seen from the rocks turned out to be a boy of about her own age, who looked up in surprise when he heard her warning him about the sudden change in the weather.

He told her that he had been so absorbed in his task that he hadn’t noticed the rising wind. She believed him, as she had done the same thing many times herself. He lifted his bucket and began to walk with her. Suddenly the wind picked up speed and a wave as high as a boat crashed on the sand, drenching them. “We’d better find shelter over by the rocks,” she screamed at him over the roar of the wind. He nodded solemnly several times. He was obviously terrified and not used to these parts. The wind nearly took them a few timesbut they managed to dig their feet into the sand, with the gale howling and hissing around them.

Each giant wave thundered onto the sand, then moved back rapidly into the tormented sea. The rocks weren’t too far away so once they were safely wedged between two giant boulders, Mildred breathed more easily. They were both soaking wet and shivering. “The sea’s very angry today,” she observed. She wrapped her arms tightly around her body to try to keep warm. The two of them were wedged close togetherand the boy didn’t take his eyes off her.

“Who are you? My guardian angel?” He had an impish smile and Mildred looked at him properly for the first time – at his short, spiky hair and the spattering of freckles across his nose.

“I’m Mildred Masondo,” she told him. “I live in the cottages over there. My father’s the postman.”

“My name is Ben Pillay. I live opposite the church. My father’s a lawyer.” He was staring at her intently.

“I’d heard we’d gotten a new lawyer,” Mildred said, “But I didn’t know he had a son.”

“I go to school in Cape Town. I’m just here for the holidays.”

Mildred nodded, thinking: he goes to school in Cape Town. She had just finished primary school and would have given anything to be able to go to secondary school, but the nearest one was in Port Elizabeth. And besides, her family couldn’t afford to send her to school there. But that didn’t stop the longing. They were cocooned in the sheltered environment as the wind hissed and howled, whipping the waves into a frenzy and lashing its fury against the rocks. Then just as quickly as it had risen, the wind calmed downand a few rays of sunshine peeped through the grey sky as the clouds began to clear.

The boy and girl emerged from their hiding place to find half the village out on the beach looking for them.

Mildred noticed the tall, thin woman straight away and knew she was Ben’s mother. They looked each other in the eye, adversaries from the start.

The father was different. He had spiky hair like his son and an impish smile that lit up his whole face.

When he heard what had happened he gathered Mildred to him and whispered over and over, “Thank you. Thank you.”

He was a man who was not afraid to show his feelings. She’d later learn that Ben was like his father in many ways, but when she’d least expect it his eyes would take on his mother’s steely gaze.

-by Agnes Kimberley

To be continued...

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