To market, to market to buy a fat pig (or sell some lampshades)
Home again, home again, jiggety jig.
2 000 Klm round trip. To a fair to sell my wares. The heat bore down and the social onslaught threatened to overwhelm. So much air kissing. Mwah mwah. (The acquaintances). Throwing arms around one another in hearty, exuberant embrace (The friends, some I hadn’t seen in more than a year). So much relating where we are. How we are. Smiling until my face ached.
And then, curled into a kitchen chair late at night, in my pajamas, with a dear, dear friend, over bottles of wine, righting our worlds. Or eating lunch where I forget to fork my food into my face because I am so engrossed in the conversations I have missed.
For this is what I miss the most. This. This proximity of easy, aged companionship. The kind where you don’t have to pick up the pieces. No explaining needs doing.
It feels like a balm. A soft and kindly reminder, after jagged, bumpy recent history, that some place somewhere really feels like home.
And then Ant and I are bundled back into the pickup, luggage and shopping piled untidily in the back, ham sandwiches and a flask of tea at my feet.
I try not to nod off. I try to remain engaged, to keep Ant awake on the eleven hour drive home.
There is a lot to talk about. Whom we have each seen independently of one another. Their news. A sharing out of our individual spoils, as if spreading our separate offerings upon a picnic blanket – it helps to stretch the occasion.
And shorten our journey.
We eat our sandwiches and drink our tea on the shores of the Matera Dam, hunkered low in the long lean valley that straddles the hot country between Dodoma and Iringa. Here temperatures soar to 35 degrees and the grazing is nicotine yellow but the acacia, in heady anticipation of imminent rains, are sporting lime green foliage and wearing mantles of white lace. And by the water’s edge pigs snuffle greedily. The incongruity of Africa I think. And I smile.