Certainty – uncertainty – miracles

THURSDAY, 9 JUNE 2005

13:43

People in a movie on TV are fleeing from a gigantic snake, and hide behind a wall.

Moral of the story? If you do not appear, your chances of survival are sometimes better.

16:25

Where am I? Where I have been for the past few years – on my way to the same destinations.

What do I think about? Same as before: Where do we come from? What are we? Is there anything we should do? If so, what?

FRIDAY, 10 JUNE 2005

10:18

No longer my Place in the Sun, but my Piece of the Puzzle.

* * *

There are people who will look at a comprehensive account of how humans function – all the psychology, all the choices you have to make that amounts to you being you. They will look at it and say, “Fair enough. But please take the report back. I am a businessman (or a colonel in the army, or an English teacher) – that’s good enough for me. I don’t need to know or understand all that other clever stuff.” Or: “I understand how the brain works, how the psyche works, but I am 100% committed to my role, my position and my work. I do not need any more than that.”

17:31

She is tense about going home. She is looking forward to seeing her family, but you know how it is with these things – she knows who she had been in her general behaviour, her attitude towards people and things, what she had been doing with her life, and where she was headed when she last appeared to her family. It is now a year later. She is still the same person … or is she? She has seen things, experienced things, entered into relationships with people whom her family has never met. She has done things that no one in her family has ever done, and in places where her family has never been. She has been confronted with issues, and with herself, in ways she had never before experienced. Do these things change the way she thinks about herself? Have these experiences changed her in ways that will make her not be the person who her family expects by default? Will she feel slightly uncomfortable among people she loves, people whom she has known all her life? Will she feel a little alienated from the environment where she will spend three weeks of her vacation?

These are questions that she may not consciously think about. Does she nevertheless feel the uncertainty? I believe she does.

SUNDAY, 12 JUNE 2005

I am in the living room watching Proof of Life. [N] is still sleeping. I have to hold myself back from bothering her – to talk to her, to start spending another day with her. Last night we told each other stories from our youth – first kisses, moving house, friends, my embarrassments in Stellenbosch [first few months when I “rented” a room from a family in their home but could not actually pay the rent, and so on]. Sometimes I have to remind myself (and I am reminded as I read through my notebooks) that there was a time in my life – as recently as a year ago, when I thought I was going to be on my own until I … was much older. Unless, so I had thought, a miracle happened.

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