… principles of lust.

 As I sat at the kitchen table, shrouded in a cable-knit cashmere blanket, the silence of the croft cottage was unsettling and yet comforting at the same time. Outside I could see the uncut grass in the field as it swayed and bowed waist high to some unseen wind while in the distance, under the grey clouds that hung menacingly, the semi-naked trees held firm their autumn foliage. A pot of Rooibos tea with ginger stands on the granite counter, the steaming aroma pungent and inviting but untouched. The piece of toast, only moments ago glossy with butter had already congealed while waiting to be eaten.

 

Depending on whom you asked, tomorrows match was either the most important game of the calendar, or the least, but as we were both old boys of our respective schools. The Bradley Cooper-esq guy suggested we brave the weather and travel down to the country, if not to support our schools, then at least to spend some time together. Which was odd because we had been spending an increasing amount of time together already – late afternoons and early nights filled with the unspoken understanding while he, enraptured with rare breed Tarquin’s and I, a foundling publishing empire.

 

And then, a knock on the back-door broke the deep thought/spell that had overtaken me. Unashamedly cheery so early in the morning, he stood there with a clutch of the morning papers, a litre of fresh milk from the dairy, 6-eggs and a small almond-shaped loaf of bread. ‘Thought you might like a little breakfast’ the estate manager said in that Boland bray that I so loved. The last time I was here I was invited to a local farmers’ party by he and his wife, I forgot myself to the music, numbing alcohol and the welcoming embrace lust brings in the cold of the early morning with a son of ‘martizburg college. Unfulfilled, I left satisfied in the morning.

 

But now in a few hours we both had to be up and ready for lunch with the new headmaster of my old school. Accepted at the last minute, the offer to bring someone along was implied. And so, implicating the naked man still asleep in my bed, it was to be my first truth in 13years since leaving these Cape-Dutch walls. But after I left lunch, I took a wrong turn and found myself right back where it had all started. I had come to the midlands for a mini-break hoping to get away from lawyers and old-friends and most of all myself. But sitting on the fake set in the theatre my issues felt more real than ever. I couldn’t help but wonder no matter how far you travel or how much you run from it can you ever really escape your past?

 

Back at the farm, with the Bradley Cooper-esq guy out for a guided walk with the Boland caretaker, and with nothing to do I cleared out some old closets, no pun intended, and found a forgotten packing box filled with VHS tapes, cassette tapes and other souvenirs of holidays past. With a goose roasting in the oven, I broke a family tradition and started cocktail hour an hour early. With a slosh of whisky in a glass, a fire already prepared in the grate I had nothing but time to wait. As ashamed as I am to admit it, I let the moment wash over me and imagine what it would be like having someone permanent in my life to share moments like this with.

 

Eventually after the dishes were done, left over goose wrapped in cellophane along with the vegetables for the farm dogs in the morning we settled down with our bread and butter puddings and custard to watch one of the VHS tapes rediscovered that afternoon. As Kirsten Dunst and Huntley Ritter filled the screen with clever puns and cartwheels and dance choreography I realised that this evening was our first real night together. And as we snuggled up in bed, we talked about things honestly. It was he that reminded me that the past dictates the future. But he who masters the present controls the past.

 

And with that, as my racing heart started to calm, I nestled closer feeling his warm, still moist naked skin against mine under the down cover, closed my eyes and in the distance heard a dog bark and it seemed like home. This might not be real in the daylight, but for tonight, it felt as close as my heart would allow.

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