Saturday, March 27, 2004

JB Rivers, Hyde Park

Saturday, March 27, 2004

Service: * *
Food: N/A
Ambience: * * * *
Babe Count: * * * *

Three o'clock, and all's well. This morning, after a long time lying in bed thinking, I sent Jacqui an sms.

It said:

Hullo Jacqui... Just letting you know I love you, and am missing you. The anxiety is gone, and now I'm able to mourn the loss of us. Feeling sore, but it's a clean pain. I hope you're having a peaceful, healing time. And I want you to know that I wish you the very best. I also hope that one day in a couple of months, you might decide that I'm a guy you might want to date. And maybe we can start afresh. I love you, Jacqui. Roy.

And of course, shreds of the anxiety are still active, so I'm only checking my phone every fifteen minutes for a response. And there isn't one. She's mentioned that she'd "be away" this weekend, which is why we couldn't do the handing over ceremony where she gives me my underpants and socks and tshirts and trousers and books and keys and we kiss dry-lipped and hug awkwardly and cry. I can look forward to that next week.

But right now, I've got an excuse to keep checking my cellphone for messages. I'm meeting a young poet who moved to Joburg from Cape Town, and is keen to hook up with fellow poets. She's sent one of her poems to the UCT PoetryWeb for comment, and I see great potential in it. It's got some rough spots, but it's got some seriously cool observations in it.

I've spent part of the morning analysing it, and working out what I would do to fix it, and, more importantly, making notes about how a young poet might get from one draft to the next.

I send Mandy an sms:

Hi Mandy... I'm wearing a lilac t-shirt, and I'm sitting in JB Rivers at the end closest to the CNA. Leather satchel on the chair beside me.

Something to that effect.

My phone beeps back almost immediately. The message tone is a cuckoo. Could it somehow be Jacqui messaging me? Of course not. Don't be an anxious obsessive compulsive, Roy. Come on! It's Mandy. She's on her way.

Which is darn exciting. I have a soft spot for poets. Especially good ones. Especially ones who have the courage to meet a strange dude at a coffee shop and entrust him with their words. Especially female ones, what with me being newly single and all that.

She arrives. Amazing striped top. Wild black hair. Slightly mismatched brown eyes, but piercing and alive and intelligent. Yummy.

She's in advertising -- a creative strategist. Loves her work. But loves the power of words. I probe a bit, and find out that her first love is actually music. She's a pianist, and loves the romantics like Chopin and Rachmaninov. Has even heard a recording of him playing. Regards him as one of her heroes.

I can tell that she's a little rattled. It's quite easy to know that, since she says, "I'm a bit uncomfortable talking about myself like this. I've told you things that I've never told anyone else. You won't put them on your website, will you?"

Of course I won't. This site isn't here to damage anyone. It's a romp. And it's supposed to entertain.

Then she says, "But aren't you a bit nervous about what you write here? I mean, knowing Jacqui might be reading this, will you write about our meeting?"

I'm not sure about this. As I sit and write the site, I certainly do edit stuff out. You're reading the highlights package. And yes, I'm very nervous about Jacqui reading this. I want Jacqui to be my one-true-love, the woman who has my kids, the woman who I spend the rest of my life with. Even though I broke up with her last Tuesday in the couples therapy session that was meant to be my commitment to doing whatever it took to support her through the space she needed to take.

And I'm aware that Jacqui reading about my meeting a nubile young poet who I'd looooove to shag right this second might not make it any easier in a couple of months when she finally works out that I'm the dude she wants.

But the thing is, WANTING to shag Mandy is not the same as actually shagging her. And I'm not doing that. (Now naturally, I'm being extremely presumptuous here. I'm sort of assuming that I have enough animal magnetism and charisma and poetic insight for Mandy to be interested in shagging ME. But hey. I've gotta allow myself SOME delusions in this tear-stained space I find myself in.)

I pull out my notes, and run Mandy through her poem, as seen through my eyes. And I show her a pared down draft that I've prepared to show her what I think she really intended to be in the poem. And she's really chuffed with my poetic insight. Now I've just gotta work on the animal magnetism and charisma.

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