Now that I have your attention! Back to the story...
Let me begin with a disclaimer. I referred to a really gorgeous girl as being a 'cutefish' in my last post. This is not to imply that her face resembles a fish's (though that would be cute in my book). Instead it is a reference to the old adage that women are like fish in the sea and there are plenty of them. Every so often, however, you look through the sea and one fish strikes you as being a particularly appealing. She is a cutefish, the pursuit of said fish is what is known as cutefishing.
I spent my last three nights in Grahamstown cutefishing. I scoured the heads of every bar I walked into looking for that telltale blonde streak but to no avail. Cutefish got away, but I did meet a few more interesting folk. I cannot round off my festival account without a mention of Gillian. Gillian comes in as Will's best mate and I felt some pressure to impress her. We spoke at some length about each other's backgrounds and found common ground in deriding Will's female predations. I suspect that if I'd hung around town as long as Will had, Gill and I would get along famously.
Man on Fire
The first time I attended the festival it was as a performer. I was part of a 30 person dance /drama ensemble and we played to a modest audience. So I was surprised to find myself at the arse end of a long queue to get tickets to my old troupe's newest festival offering. Mind you, it has been 9 years. As I walk in the door I see the familiar face of our choreographer on top of the bleachers, she's fussing over the sound technician.
"Hello Auntie G," I call up to her.
She leers over the ramparts and surprise registers on her face. "Beautiful to see you my child." she responds.
I must admit to drifting during the performance. With all the familiar faces on stage I traipsed carelessly down memory lane. I remembered the shy boy who, out of desperation, decided to join a performance group. I wondered at my old shell and how I'd ultimately changed through dance. After the show I congratulate Auntie G and tell her how good it was to see the group in action again.
"Oh my boy, if they had to see you backstage they'd go mad. 'pick 'n pay!', 'little mermaid!'." she laughs. (inside jokes)
I laugh along, not trusting myself to go backstage. "Tell them i say hi then"
The parental unit spent a day with me in Grahamstown and we went to see a few shows as well as visit the market. In small doses, the parental unit is endearing and it was probably this visit that showed me the way to the future.
At my current place of employ I have been informed that the position I wanted to fill is no longer open, in short, the incumbent is staying. Regardless, I have been offered a three month provisional extension to find a new way at the paper. I went to my alma mater (nourishing mother i.e. old university), saw my old dance group, my old friends and my aging parents, all to look back at looking forward.
If you have a different opinion on this let me know but to me, I don't think you can know where you're going until you're sure of where you've been. An everyday mistake, for example, will repeat until your behavior under the circumstances changes. So you need to look back in order to take forward action. Make sense?
The thing that occurred to me, being back at Rhodes, was that when I'd left I was ready to leave. I sat on that monument, writing that note (see previous post) saying "I must go, i know I must go". When I wrote my note leaving Cape Town I said, and I quote: "This wonderful opportunity could not have come at a more inopportune time." I had rushed off for a name and a job but I wasn't ready to go. Now, for the first time in a year, I was faced with the prospect of going back. So it came down to this: I know I wasn't ready to leave home when i did, so I should go back. But am I ready to leave Johannesburg now?
I walked around Grahamstown one sunny day and fought the cheesy notion of heading up to the monument to soul-search. Instead I sat on the lawns and looked at the old clock tower. I pictured my fond farewell to the monument two years ago. I then imagined saying goodbye to Table Mountain and my heart broke. I then pictured the scenes and faces of Joburg and stuck my tongue out nonchalantly.
And the short of it is: I'm going home. I will not be extending my contract and yes, I feel ready to leave this place. I will be on the road again soon.