Saved by Eskom?
Wednesday night at 21:29 I got into my Ouma’s Toyota Etios – because, yes, I still don’t own my own car – and I took a drive through the very many streets of our village. Side note: There’s not that many streets. Now, you might think, aw that’s nice, a lil late night stroll. No. It wasn’t nice. I was having an internal crisis. I was being swallowed up by my insides. Obviously, running away was the natural solution. Luckily, I didn’t have my laptop with me or I’d already be halfway to Grabouw. Nothing like mom’s embrace to make you believe that everything will turn out okay.
So, here I was. Stuck in a town with three streets, no family or close friends, and just a whole lot of heavy lifting on my chest. Also, it’s January in South Africa. I’m dying. My pasty white skin wasn’t ever meant to survive here. I’d decided to stop at a garage (we have two) for a slightly above average latté (I do love them, though). I could probably make one at home, or just order something that won’t have my insides feeling like a furnace, but I needed something hot and comforting to soothe the worries away. So, I reached the first garage: Three, maybe four police vans had made this their meetup spot. Was I really brave enough to face them with a puffy face and blotchy cheeks? On to the next one. Fantastic, I was heading into a British thriller. Woman alone. I don’t know if the dim lighting was an aesthetic choice, but I wasn’t about to find out. I watched enough horror films to know the ending to this scenario.
Thus, without a single caffeine sip, I braved the suburban streets. Just me and every bad thought I’ve tried to shut out for the past three years as I drove through the village. As you probably guessed, running from your emotions isn’t much of a solution, but it did work as a distraction. Somewhat. I barely drove 10 minutes in the streetlight-stricken streets before a ping on my phone had me reeling back home.
Eskom se Push. 15 Minutes till loadshedding. If I really wanted that coffee I was so yearning for, I needed to get home ASAP.
My heart was a sandbag, and my mind a foggy mess, but at least I had a goal now. Something to aim for. I reached home at 21:57. The lights went out 22:01. I had my latté. In record time. Hot milk and everything. I even poured in some hazelnut syrup.
The next morning I woke to a kiss on my forehead, and a dog desperately trying to get my attention. I closed my eyes and overslept a bit. This is my constant, I thought, my chest slightly lighter this morning. I can drive through many (coffee-less) nights and always return to this – And also, let’s give credit where credit is due: I can always trust Eskom to pull me back to reality.