This was supposed to be my last month here, the final voyage, but at this point South Africa is a distant lighthouse. It will forever lead me home, but carries no weight when met with poetic sails, treasure island pirate adventures and international waters.
To give an account of the past month would be like hiring an annoying infomercial actor. Similar to those looped midday Outsurance adverts, impossible to believe and only good for solidifying the fact that you are indeed unemployed and have sold your soul to your comfort zone.
The universe has however casted me for the role, so the script is as follows…
Pale Caucasian male watches as August digests an uneventful July. He brushes his eyes over the calendar and eagerly wills paint to dry, time drips. His journey from the belly of the Delhi beast back to the Cape Town high rise staggers towards the international runway. He is unaware at this point that his flight will in fact be delayed.
Said male’s moody manhood materializes in the form of food poisoning. He spends the next 3 days becoming besties with the bathroom floor and loses Will Smith weight.
The forced cocoon births out a lanky, unsymmetrical butterfly who then attends a workshop with a damaged intestine and a broken spirit. When the winged mess flutters onto the school grounds his sense of direction begins to wrestle with his internal compass. Maybe it’s the magnetizing hospitality coupled with the 400 eager needle eyes staring at his true North.
The workshop is a hit. The scout leader of the school calls us around her bonfire and divulges stories of ancient triumph and foretold prophecies. She then whispers that the final chapter will commence the following day in the form of a meeting, we roast metaphorical marshmallows and call it.
We arrive on time, our bums embrace cushion at 08:45 and rise a measly 60 minutes later.
We have work booked until the middle of September, scouts honor!
In the past 3 days I have badged 600 children. An army of aspiring alchemists, combining chemistry and charisma. The world will soon fall under their spoken word spells.
I am an official guest of honor, we sip tea and nibble biscuits while the students raise their patriotic flag and welcome in Indian Independence. An obvious loaded celebration for my British backbone.
There is a 19 goal football match followed by 4 swished jump shots.
I pull the curtain on my past age and embrace 28 with endorphin trick candles and muscle ache birthday cake.
I am working on my birthday, like a real boy. Another 200 pens pierce paper with unwavering enthusiasm. I have no time to traditionally celebrate but I find solace in the four hour cab ride home and host a musical themed party with 3 celebrity guests. Chance the Rapper, Noname and Jack Garrat.
When I eventually arrive back I am welcomed with black forest ice cream cake and a black hole happy birthday hug.
My air conditioner is clearly grumpy at the fact that we did not spend time together and decides to check out of the relationship, it’s refusing to talk to me. I fear we may never share words again.
With each passing day South Africa dots itself, mirages in the Indian desert heat. I have been offered something that will effectively lock these cultural borders around my bones.
My birthday remnants are met with a poetry show, a surprise party carried out with assassin like efficiency and a cake execution smeared on my face.
I sit here soaking in abundance. Grateful for each and every soul that has allowed me safe passage through their minds. I have rebuilt myself. The old me has evaporated, condensed into the curry clouded skies.
I used to think I was a late starter, running against an echoed sounding gun. At 28, I have finally heard the clap.