Reunion with Thandi 3

By Drum Digital
04 May 2014

No, I’ve found my dream and my purpose – in my working life at least.

No, I’ve found my dream and my purpose  – in my working life at least. I left the bank and stopped counting other people’s money.

I studied hard, long-distance, to become a qualified social worker. Yes, that is my dream and my meaning now: to make a difference in the lives of those who are poor and struggling and need help. And let me tell you, when it comes to helping others, I’m driven. I’m a real gogetter.

I rush to my office each morning filled with fire, and I stay late at the office without a second thought.

So, yes, I have changed. And Thandi? I gave up even pretending to work and headed down to Laguna Beach. It was well before one o’clock, but I thought that maybe a nice walk along the beach would calm me down a bit.

The July sea was wild and beautiful, icy blue with churning white foam. A chill wind blew and helped to clear my head.

And then I saw her, right there on the beach. Was it really her? For a moment I hung back, uncertain.

But then a small group of children rushed past her, yelling and teasing each other and she smiled. And oh, yes! There were those beautiful dimples that lit up her whole face. The dimples weren’t quite so deep now, as her face was fuller and more rounded. In fact, it seemed her whole body had filled out.

Gone was the thin young figure, replaced by womanly curves. My mother would have been overjoyed. It made sense, of course. I was no longer the gangly, lanky youth I had been. I had packed on a good few kilos over the years. I even had the beginnings of a paunch!

And her hair! No more tight braiding. She wore it free now and it formed a soft halo that caught the winter sunlight. I began to walk towards her, slowly and hesitantly. I longed to take her in my arms, to hold her tight against me. But no, perhaps it was better to take things slowly, one small step at a time.

So I stopped a good metre away from her and simply said, “Hi.” She studied my face for a long moment. “Hello,” she said at last. She seemed shorter than I remembered. Then I noticed she was barefoot in the sand. And that was nice, to feel so much taller than her for a change. In

her high heels, back when she strode briskly along the bank’s corridors, she’d almost been the same height as me.

“It’s chilly,” I said. “Why don’t we go into the restaurant and warm ourselves with a couple of hot cappuccinos?” Cappuccinos were Thandi’s one weakness: she loved them, the frothier the better.

Again she looked up at me in silence. And, oh, it took all the self-control I could muster not to fling my arms around her and kiss her right there on the open beach. But what if I scared her off? Hell, what if she was already happily married to some high-flying Jozi executive? There was a ring on her left hand, but it was a pearl ring rather than a gold band. What did a pearl ring mean?

“Why not?” she said at last. And together we walked across to the restaurant. She slipped her shoes back on once we left the sand behind us. But they had no heels to speak of, so I still towered above her. It was a good feeling.

“So? What do you do for a living these days?” I asked. I expected to hear about financial deals and futures and derivatives but I was in for a surprise.

“Well, I’ve just been promoted to chief coordinator of the HIV/Aids Peer Educator programme,” she said. “In fact, right now I’m busy   reparing my first workshop. The battle isn’t over yet, you understand. There’s still so much to do.”

To be continued...

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