… and like faith unseen or felt it’s as real as the tears she cries.

A few weeks ago as I sat drinking coffee with a good friend of mine he started telling me about someone he knew who had committed suicide recently. As I listened to the story of this man the words started to swirl around my head like plumes of smoke at a downtown jazz club hazing the worn velvet banquets and triggering a distant memory of my own. It turns out we were talking and thinking of the same man and the realisation left me cold with missed conversations and half-fulfilled promises.

While I could never claim a deep friendship with him, we had shared a few memorable moments when he was my Pilates teacher and then later as my yoga teacher. Over time we became as close as two strangers in Jo’burg can and we politely passed the time in casual conversation while in the sauna at gym that didn’t amount to much but didn’t make you feel that you had been too rude or non-committal as you queued for coffee at a favourite barista in Rosebank. We always promised to do more together but always found ourselves otherwise entertained.

As I lay there his death sunk in and I started to think about my own future. In a city that moves so fast that we get our Sunday papers on Saturday, how did any of us know how much time we had left? There is so much I hadn’t done: I had never been to Miami, I hadn’t finished painting my bedroom, hell my VISA bill still wasn’t paid in full. Sometimes I felt like I was barely living anymore.  And with my recent flirtation with dating I even felt different. As I lay there thinking of things past I could help but wonder: in a city where everyone is dying to make a connection – can a relationship bring you back to life?

The thing that got me the most with my ex-Pilates teacher was that he was the most gorgeous man I have ever met. And by that I mean personality not physical. Sure he had a perfectly defined body honed through years at the Royal Ballet Company, a dick that any size queen would have sold their Madonna collection for, and a smile that could melt even the most cynical hearts. But he was something more. He was HIV+ as well and in his last few years was left isolated by a sickness after years of being pursued by man, women and beast.

Sure when you have that feeling of new love’s butterflies in your stomach you pretty much feel bullet proof. After all you’re nobody until somebody loves you. But when you put all your self-worth in what others tell you, you start to become like an addict – always waiting for that next compliment, that next kiss or even that next date to quell the craving of an addictive heart. And when you’re led to believe in your moment of need that they want what you want – but they don’t – you have to look within yourself to calm the anxiety of self-worth and doubt.

I don’t won’t to be a hypocrite and say that I’ve learnt something from his death – and that everyday I’m going to live like it’s my last. That I’m going to grab life by the balls and tell it that I’m not so easily defeated because I can’t. I’m struggling to make it through each and every day but I do know this … I’m going to be more careful for what I wish for. No matter how bad my day is, how painful it is not being able to say what you want to the person you desire most, or even realising that sometimes love just isn’t enough to get you through the dark patch in a faltering relationship. Everything is relative.

Somewhere out there is an inconsolable mother who has lost her son. As she sits beside a cold autumn grave, questioning what else she could have done to have changed it all, her questions float like dreams and are lost to the wind. At the time of Easter when death and life have such secular undercurrents in our lives, we have to give up our quest for corporeal answers and have a little faith in something that will get us through that dark and stormy night. I know that so many people berate me for saying this out loud: but what gets me through it all is the belief that somewhere out there someone like you is looking for someone like me.

And like faith unseen or felt … it’s as real as the tears she cries every night for her gorgeous son who knows love and death. That will be his legacy for me.



One Response to “… and like faith unseen or felt it’s as real as the tears she cries.”

  1. You write beautifully. I’m moved and humbled and saddened and inspired all at once. Wow.

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