Under a Rest
Updated: Jul 30, 2020
Lately, I catch myself humming Aric Einstein's "San Francisco", and always get emotional in the same part when it gets to the Tavor mountain and the Sea of Galilee. That wasn't easy to admit.
I arrived in South Africa for a quick visit and found myself staying for three months due to flights being cancelled. And then one fine morning, I found I was living a South African life with my boyfriend and a friend in his holiday house. T and I didn't intend living together, not quite yet, but the constraint imposed upon us wasn't startling. Actually, the hardest thing about all of this is that in a week, we both have return flights. We'll be sharing a plane to Istanbul, and then we separate. I go back to Israel, T goes back to London. It was sudden. Every flight we booked was cancelled, we weren't sure what was going on with our tickets, and sometimes we didn't have any way of finding out. Between dealing with a half-asleep travel agent, a closed airport, changing lockdown regulations and the stress of all our future plans depending on it, we continued to book on automatic, without considering a booking would actually stick. Finally, right when we dropped down to lockdown level 3, we made it. Thank you and Shabbat Shalom. However, I'm leaving Cape Town with mixed emotions.
On the one hand, no one wants to move out of a beach house nestled between picturesque mountains, pressure-free, and into a life composed of a four-by-four immobile caravan, with lots but lots of obligations.
On the other hand, life must go on. I need to finish my driver's license, complete building my boat and then fly to London, to T's. We're looking ahead to our Eurotrip. Initially, this trip was to be longer and American, but it had to be postponed for a year, because… who are we kidding.
But right now I'm here, at the edge of the world, for one last week. The days before the pandemic look now like a lifetime ago. If I looked at my watch at midnight, I'd have felt the whole night was ahead of me. Then, I'd be in two minds; to drink at home and write or go to the pub. I slept barely four hours a night but fell into a half-day coma on the weekends. I was in a race all the time, spending most of my time commuting, working and writing. For the past year, I hadn't the option to stop and muck about for pleasure.
Then, I went to Cape Town, and the virus broke out; a coincidence that became an extended reality. A reality that has changed me. Here, the only change in routine is sea level. I sleep earlier, wake up earlier. There is nowhere to go without a multi-purpose shopping bag or work out clothes. I have much more leisure time for writing, reading or sunbathing. It has been years since I baked, went on destinationless walks, pieced a puzzle together or finished a small creation, like a chessboard. Years since I sat and watched countless sunsets for hours on end.
I have to make it clear that I managed to enjoy my twenties, which are coming close to their end. I did a lot of writing, travelling, learning and growing up. The fact that my twenties are soon over, time has seemingly stopped and all my plans need to change, makes me feel lost, angry, confused. A stop sign appeared at the corner of my eye at the last minute, and I came to a screeching stop. At first, I was pissed off, and then I looked around to find that actually, I didn't want to continue driving. It's quiet and cosy, and the scenery is beautiful, and there's nowhere to race to.
I understand the thrill of finishing one chapter in life in order to move on to the next, a new and unknown chapter. Childhood, youth, adolescence, pages turn, chapters end and new beginnings arise. Marriage, children, grandchildren... chapter after chapter. But just like a good book, I want to move forward and can't stop turning the pages, but then again, I also don't want to reach the ending. Especially as in life, when I'm not sure how much is left until the last page.