I woke yesterday to darkness. I’d forgotten to buy electricity. I turned my head into my pillow. So what. Pretend it’s Load Shedding. Remember that? I didn’t want to go walking. I could not move my limbs. If I lived alone, I thought, perhaps I’d make the choice to lie in bed all day, all night, just lying there, starving, atrophying, till months later I’d be found, a skeleton, eaten away, like a horror movie prop… but of course the cats were there, meowing, looking at me. Okay Mrs Princess, okay Black Cat, I do rather like you, I’ll get up for you. And if I don’t it’s only a matter of time before you eat my eyes out. Can’t have that. This is not suicidal ideation. This is just being a tired slob. I think this whole Corona-fun time has hit me.
I could relate so well the the Ricky Gervais show After Life I binged watched on the weekend. A bit twee at times, all pathos and hope, as he deals with the loss of his wife through cancer, but the next minute Ricky’s cutting humour offsets the sweetness. ‘I can be an arsehole,’ he says, ‘say and do what I want, and then I can always kill myself…’ Me and Ricky. He has his dogs. I have my cats. Rubbing against my legs, sitting on my lap, reminding me that they need me. For now.
So the walk. After the first ten minutes I thought why the hell did I not stay in bed? On Sunday. The official Day of Rest. The one day I don’t feel guilty about lying in. There I was, climbing steps up a mountain, my thighs burning, out of breath, sweating in my mask, my face wet. And overheating in my jacket cos I thought it was winter when in fact at 10:00 on the blue-sky day the sun blazed down. Nothing like hiking in the hot sun in jeans and fleece.
And passing all these keen beans out and about, who must have left their homes at dawn probably, and were now running and skipping down the mountain, all oxygenated and fit, in bright patterned trail gear, singing Good Morning behind their masks. We should actually not have to talk… once the mask is on it should indicate time for silence… None of this good morning to you business to which I’m obliged to reciprocate, on a trail, in a store, anywhere, fogging up my glasses as my warm breathe is trapped behind the triple cloth layers no matter how well designed is the mask.
But … it was wonderful… I got in my stride… I went a little ahead so I could focus on my feet on the path, the crunch of the stones, the fynbos, taking a pic once in a while (already posted to facebook) and wondering at nature… thinking too that if we all expired… these beautiful places would still be here… and at the end of the walk… I looked forward to the next one.