Quarantine Diaries – Days 13 and 14: Break-up day

by Catherine

A crimson sunrise gave way to regatta skies. I imagined the rooms buzzing, a boarding establishment on break-up day; it was like we had passed a stiff exam and received our results. We were grinning about the Department of Health’s formal Discharge Ticket, taking photos of the document that pronounced us free; we were almost grateful for our release. Look, the government has managed COVID well, but it’s far from winning the popularity award.

 On the way home, I sat at the back of Kissan’s taxi and canvassed the environment. Life looked normal, busy roti chaud pop-ups, noisy roads, colourful vegetable stands. My limbs felt tight; I hoped my dogs would recognise me; had no clue where I had hidden my entrance key and knew my bakkie’s battery would be dead. Expect these anxieties when you leave for three weeks and return after seven months.

 My village welcome didn’t disappoint: a man set the scene by walking past shouting pois-son frais, showing off a basket of fresh fish. The hounds twisted their bodies, howled, smiled, and Odile held my key and a bag of groceries. A fuzzy warmth spread in my midriff, reminding me that Beaux Songes is a second home, maybe, but still my home.

The house is spindly, over-furnished. It is coarsely built, the antithesis of Durban’s suburban homes. The symbolism haunts, reflecting the psychological downscale from my beloved Africa to this finite little Rock. Will these opposites co-exist in my heart? Can I break the self-imposed barriers of my homesickness? I think so. I’m coming home healed, renewed, with lots to do.

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