(Among other things) The apartment


I reckon it will cost me R111,296.29 to go back to South Africa, settle down, buy a car, have no outstanding debt, and lie around all day in a local park. On the other hand, I can get myself a fridge and a washing machine and stay here forever.

I can’t sleep at night. Or rather, I’ve become increasingly reluctant to go to bed. I get nightmares, then I get up at five in the morning, and then I oversleep.

My TV has just come into focus … on a Korean movie. I miss the food in Korea, and the winters. Maybe I’ll go back some day. Maybe I’ll go to New York next year … and Europe … and perhaps Southeast Asia. But first I have to get myself a fridge and a washing machine.

It snows in this movie. I miss it – the snow, the cold winters. In Taiwan, it’s warm year-round. I have a serious problem with this heat. And my apartment has practically no windows. I’ve always liked a place with lots of windows – large windows, lots of fresh air, perhaps every now and then a late-fall breeze gently wafting through … yes, I’ll be sitting in the corner of the balcony on a cane chair, and then I’ll drift off …

Just before the sky turns grey, with a cold wind picking up strength, I step inside. I pull on a sweater, and saunter into the kitchen. Settling on pancakes for dinner, I turn to the beverage corner to make a fresh pot of coffee – my mind in a different place.

After a few minutes, I make myself comfortable on a large sofa. I draw my notebook closer and glance over something I started writing earlier. Still considering where I’m going with the story, I stretch over to the CD rack and pull out something from the late sixties.

Then I hear a knock on the door.

She’s sorry to bother, she says, she just wants to return the book she borrowed the other day. She hesitates for a moment. The aroma of hot water dripping on freshly ground coffee percolates from the kitchen.

I thank her for the book and make a comment about pancakes and coffee and nights like these.

She smiles. “Why not?” she says.