Rain in Bronkhorstspruit


I’m standing outside, on the corner of the house, smoking my first cigarette of the day and drinking a cup of black Nescafé Classic. It’s Monday, 21 February 2005. It’s raining, softly but consistently. The sky is overcast, and it’s cooler than yesterday and the day before, and the whole of last week. “At least my scalp won’t get another tan,” I think before throwing the last bit of coffee on the wet grass.

My older sister and her firstborn are flying to Dubai tonight and after a few days’ visit with friends, further on to London. All of us, this everyone knows, are going to be somewhat gloomy the rest of the day. My younger sister, with her two-week-old little human, will continue with her new life in their home on the other side of town. I will be visiting them tonight, and tomorrow, and then Wednesday I will return to my parents’ place. Thursday I will go to Johannesburg, and Friday I fly to Malaysia. I will stroll around in the airport complex outside Kuala Lumpur for five hours before flying to Kota Kinabalu, where I will disembark for a smoke break. An hour later we’ll continue our journey around the curve that separates Southeast Asia from Northeast Asia before we land in the southern Taiwanese port city of Kaohsiung.

But for now, it’s raining – in Bronkhorstspruit.

* * *

I am sitting on the yellow bedspread on the bed in the guest room. I can hear my father talking to his grandson; I can hear an Afrikaans radio host on the radio in the room next door; I can hear the young welder in the backyard earning his bread and butter.

Within a minute or two I will stop writing, put away my notebook, and join the people – my family – in the kitchen for a few minutes. Then I will make a pot of green tea, and then go outside to smoke my second cigarette of the day, under the awning on the one corner of the house, with the rain falling softly on the green grass in front of me.