So Precious and I have done our time. It is not my personality to demean 10 years with blame and accusation, we are just unable to connect on vital core issues. As we are, we are fabulous. We entertain with aplomb, we party up a storm, we will tango and be the last to leave, we have the best time on holidays, and yet here I find myself writing about the last week of our amicable uncoupling. These few days in Robertson have been organized together knowing that shortly after it we will be saying goodbye, he to return to Pietermaritzburg where he feels his heart and soul are, and me to re-enter corporate work and rediscover life alone.
We book into Africamps, Pat Busch, in Robertson – a glamping experience which we have wanted to do for years, but never had the time…We are to leave on Tuesday morning and return on Friday. Just prior to leaving, I receive a text confirming that my summons is ready to be collected from town. The wheels are really in motion.
We have pre-planned our trip to a point, printed a map, discussed if we are just going to run only or hire bicycles as well, established which days are going to rain and where we want to go wine tasting. My neck and back are stiff with weeks of tension, my eyes are hollow and dull. I glance at him in the car. His eyes are slightly swollen, no softness, just survival mode, we are going through the motions.
The tent is just beautiful, and the surrounds. We unpack and decide to walk a bit to familiarize ourselves. A little walk up to the dam becomes a semi hike, me with a polo neck jersey and jacket on. Beads of perspiration start flowing, but the fynbos, bird calls, views, silence entice us up and up. We eventually turn and descend gently. Once back in the tent, he suggests we spend the afternoon at Graham Beck with some bubbles in the afternoon sun. Well, what an afternoon ! We started with their “Gorgeous,” then the “Brut,” then “Rose (Pinot noir/chardonnay) then the “Vintage Rose,” and finally the “Blanc de Blanc,” the best bubbles I’ve ever had. Much laughter and warmth and the day ended with an outside fire, an inside fire, our electric blanket on and a warm content feel in our bellies but the underlying sorrow sits between us, unspoken.
Day 2 starts with a jog along the farm road, it is 1 degree, but we are committed, off we go, passed massive blueberry plantations, an olive farm, onto the tar road and up to the Klaasvoogds Primere school, the cold air biting into my chest, but the familiar happiness of the run is invigorating and such a release for me. We giggle over the encounter with a very boisterous boxer male who runs all the way back with us. Shower, breakfast and head out to the task at hand…..wine tasting. Springfield, our first, is captivating, we go on to Viljoensdrift, Excelsior, (where we blend our own bottle of red) De Wetshof, where we have the pleasure of meeting none other than, Mr Danie De wet, who chats to us and on departure discover that he has given us a bottle of his delicious Naissance as a gift. Not to waste a moment in the day, we finish at Klipdrift, where we eat THE most awesome nachos ever and proceed to brandy taste. We rambled back to our tent in the late afternoon, with much knowledge and a boot full of wine and a bottle of Black Gold (Brandy). We settle next to the fire, (inside one only) and play numerous games of rummy with a merlot in hand. A beautiful day, sorrow between us still unspoken.
Day 3 begins lying in bed procrastinating about a run to justify our planned lunch at Four Cousins in Robertson, but by the time I get up and get organized the heavens open for the much awaited rain. Back into bed I jump, electric blanket back on and book in hand. It is sad we only do these kind of things on holiday. By the time we get organized, it is too late for breakfast as we are going to lunch so off we pop to Rooiberg ostensibly just to buy some of the Graham Beck, “Game Reserve Chardonnay” but end up having a full tasting with Muscadel and Port to finish it off, not a shabby start to a day. We add to our boot collection and head to Four Cousins for lunch very pleased with ourselves.
Four Cousins – a beautifully designed restaurant, large big fireplace, glass, modern, lovely, just to my taste, I couldn’t be happier. Second mouthful of my food. I’ve swallowed, but it hasn’t gone down. My eyes widen, I remember tapping on my back with huge eyes to get Precious’ attention. He rises and pulls me up and attempts the Heimlich. Nothing. I can’t breath. I feel another man grabbing me and doing the same, I vaguely hear a woman’s voice loudly saying, “punch her,” there is then a third man, who I’m told thrust and punched at the same time. It worked. He had done a recent first aid/survival course. Precious loudly says, ” I hear the food here is not that good,” there is a roaring of laughter and everyone carries on as normal. I sit dazzled, tears run down my face, but I’m good to go. Not to allow this incident to affect us, we pop in at Zanvliet. Another fantastic tasting experience that ended with delicious gin and tonic. Back in the tent, we lit a fire of note, played music, danced, tried to tango in the tent, played scrabble. I’m told then that we have to leave early the next day as he is working in the afternoon, silly me thinking anything else. No feelings discussed at all again.
Friday morning is a subdued day. We pack quietly, load the car, I take a last photo of the tent. He is distracted by his cell phone. He is silent and I’m just a passenger again. I am back to not knowing his movements, where he is working, when he is leaving, what times his flights are, who he is staying with. We arrive back, he races to change and leave the house. I unpack and drive to town to fetch my summons.
I gave it my best. He gave it his best. We are as we always were. So to our friends, do not treat us any differently. Life will go on as always.
3 thoughts on “The Last Week of a Happy Uncoupling”
Beautiful Shan!!! I remember you both so fondly! What a great time we had in Charroux! Well written – some things bring out the beautiful words inside of us…as this did for you!
Sad, very sad but not easy to understand when good times have been had. Life is so short and happiness is an important part of any friendship, we have shared in many memorable moments with both of you. Happiness MUST be shared two ways, both giving NOT one giving and another JUST receiving….. sorry!!!
Sending love and hugs to you both. What a beautifully written message. Thinking of of you all as yip life will change but remember the good times!!