Thursday, July 9, 2009

Chapter 34: Moving on

I was actually very happy to have Lisa in the house. I loved kids, always had. Against many people’s expectations, I had actually spent some time baby-sitting as a teenager, and I had experienced absolutely no problems looking after my own daughters when they were growing up, right from the diaper stage. You know: when you feed them at one end and wipe it off at the other.

Sitting at the breakfast table, I looked around and found that I was happy. Having all these people in my life added something to it, it didn’t take anything away. I loved the sound of everyone talking and watching them made me feel good. I suddenly realised that no matter what else had happened, I wasn’t lonely any more.

I had been dragged along into this situation, without planning much of it at all, and that bugged me in a lot of ways, but I decided that I was far from unhappy with the results. I had no idea what was still ahead of me, and in a lot of ways that was a large part of the reason why I was unhappy. Predictability is a killer. Boring makes you old. Having young people in the house also made me feel a lot younger. Of course, the fact that most of them were young beautiful women had something to do with that.

I decided to shake things up a little though so I calmly dropped a bombshell. “We’re leaving in an hour to go shopping.”

The squeals of protest that followed my announcement just made me grin. I knew that women liked to have more time to prepare, especially if they were going out, but I knew that some sort of ultimatum on time was the only way to get everyone moving in the same direction at the same time. Herding cats? Pah! They’re simple compared to herding women and children.

Did I say that I knew what I was doing when it came to women? If so, someone remind me never to do that again. It wasn’t even ten minutes after my breakfast table announcement that everyone was in the Land Rover waiting for me.

I had gotten up from the breakfast table and gone straight to the shower. When I came out of the shower, I found some clothes laid out on the bed, ready for me to pull on. I could see neither hide nor hair of any of the women when I came down the stairs. Not even Nqobile.

Sgt Major Dhlamini was sitting on one of my lounge-suites and he smiled at my confusion. “They’re waiting for you,” was his laconic comment with a gesture over his should at the door to the garage.

I climbed into the Land Rover to a chorus of teasing cat-calls about how long MEN took to get ready, which I took in good spirit, and with a large smile plastered to my face.

Once we were moving, the interrogation started. Daise had been appointed the spokesman ... umm spokesperson … for the group, and she wanted to know where we were going, why, what we were going to do there and …. I had to interrupt her flow of questions before it got too much, so I just told her to calm down and started exmplaining.

“I thought that we could go up to Gateway Mall. It’s right the other side of Durban, to the north near Amanzintoti, and I think that it should be fairly safe, especially at this time of the morning. My gut feeling is that Dimitri and his crew are primarily night owls. I want to go there because it is a really large mall with a wide variety of shops, and there are some things that I thin we haven’t thought through properly which we can solve there.”

“What did you have in mind?” Daise asked. I glanced across at where she was curled into the passenger seat, with her legs tucked under in her in that wonderful way that girls do, and I could see the gleam in her eyes… I laughed at her, and a little at myself. She had experienced my version of shopping before, where I decided what I wanted and then went and got it, ignoring the cost completely.

“I was thinking that if the bunch of you are going to be living with me, even semi-permanently, then you will all need some clothing and female products. I also see that Nqobile has a fixed and determined look in her eye, and I am sure she intends stocking up her larder to the max!”

“Oh, OK.” Daise was happy with that, and after sharing what I had said with the rest, the whole crowd settled down a bit and I got on with driving.

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