“Look,” she says, pointing at the horizon, “the moon is rising.”
“Yes,” he answers, “it won’t be so dark now.”
“I enoy talking to you, Boggel. It takes my darkness away, just like the moon does now. I’m comfortable to say the words I never dared to voice before.”
“Words,” Boggel says as he inspects the almost empty bottle of wine, “are the most powerful things on earth, maybe even in the universe. They can lift you up; or bury you so deep, you won’t see the sky. Words can burn, build, break, encourage, destroy, create or tear down.” He pauses a second while filling the glasses. “And sometimes words are like wine. Too little, and they leave the thirst for more. Too much, and it makes you nauseous and leaves you with a hangover the next day. The trick is the balance.”
“That’s why silences are so profound,” Mary adds, “the complete absence of words can sometimes be terribly destructive. Unsaid things can kill a relationship.”
The two of them sit on the veranda in front of Boggel’s Place, watching the night sky changing at the first hint of dawn. They can see a light on in Gertruida’s house, but the rest of the town is still sleeping in the chill of the early morning. Boggel doesn’t seem to mind the cold, but Mary is snugly wrapped in the thick blanket Boggel fetched for her.
After Boggel shoo-ed the townsfolk out of the bar (For the first time, ever. He said he wanted to close at 11pm.), he and Mary started sharing memories of their childhood and the time in the orphanage. To their complete surprise, the hours simply sped past while they dug up the forgotten joys and sorrows of a time they both tried so hard to forget previously.
“I locked these thoughts away so securely,” Boggel said at one stage, “because I reckoned they’re best forgotten.”
“So did I,” she replied, “but now I realise you can never unremember your past. It’ll be part of you forever, It’s what you are.” She mulled over this for a while before continuing. “It’s like history: we can choose to ignore some things, but that doesn’t make them go away. What happened, happened. Some good and some bad; and that’s what completes the picture. By denying parts of your history, you remain incomplete – it’s like living a lie then.”
“You’re right. Choosing to bury those memories transformed me into a type of coward. I wasn’t brave enough to face them, work through them, and accept that even the bad times were given to me for a reason. I realise that now.”
And so the night flew by as the two of them discovered the healing power of acceptance. Bit by bit, they covered the times they spent together…and the times they were separated by distance and circumstances. The more they talked, the easier it became. Mary, especially, found that she could say things she never could before. She told Boggel everything she never even dared admit during confessions; about the band, the drugs, the… (and here she hesitated before soldiering on) hedonistic lifestyle.
Boggel listened. Didn’t interrupt.
And he didn’t, like she feared and expected, express his horror and rejection.
Instead, he moved his chair nearer to hers – saying nothing – to lay a comforting hand on her arm. The simple gesture brought tears to her eyes.
Now, with the hues of orange and pink in the eastern sky, Boggel gets up to make some coffee. He’s rather pleased to hear her footsteps following him.
“The town will wonder about the two of us,” Mary giggles softly, “they went to such a lot of trouble, trying to create a Mary Poppins scene in Voortrekker Weg. How sweet of them.”
“You can bet your life Servaas will be scowling all day. The two of us, together, all night. He’ll be telling Oudoom about the sin in Rolbos before Mevrou can wash her face this morning!” Boggel reaches over to pull her near. “I don’t think he’ll ever understand.”
“Mmmm.” She leans close, enjoying the warmth they share. “We’ve done a lot of healing tonight, Boggel. More than I ever thought possible.”
The coffee starts percolating on the Primus. Boggel tells her that it’s almost as if the intervening years disappeared – it feels just like the old days. She laughs at this, nodding quietly.
Yes, she thinks, talking about the past only helps if you have an understanding ear that hears what you are trying to say.
“You understand me, Boggel. You even accept me. That, I think, makes you my best friend.”
People like Servaas will never understand what happened between them during the night. Maybe Boggel and Mary neither – not at this time, at least. But…it is in the sharing of those hidden and hard-to-forget memories that a strange and precious connection developed between them. Gertruida will tell you: most relationships rely on some sort of attraction to keep them going. She says this admiration can take many forms: it could be wisdom, intelligence, creativity…and sexual, of course. But seldom, oh so seldom, (she says) do people take the time to look, really look, into each others hearts.
Gertruida will write in her diary – after Mary leaves – about this.
I’m so glad for Boggel and Mary. They did something so beautiful, it makes me cry.
Mary took a chance in coming to Rolbos. In fact, I think she was extremely brave. Be that as it may, she found what she was looking for all her life. Or maybe she had it back then, and lost it for a while. Yes, I think that’s it. She found what she had lost. What a precious idea!
I talked with her before she left for Cape Town again. The change in her is absolutely remarkable: her eyes shone, her smile was genuine and she laughed so spontaneously, I had to join her. I’m so happy for her.
She says she and Boggel have a good thing going. He’s her best, best friend, she said. Now, Dear Diary, that is arguably the most wonderful thing that can happen to anybody. It’s even bigger – and better – than love.
Oh, Diary, we all need somebody like that in our lives. People make such a fuss about words. Take Love, for instance. People tell each other they love each other all the time. The word has become almost meaningless, because we love coffee, or beer, or our pets as well. But the true meaning of the word, the real responsibility of the term, is much deeper than just affection or adoration.
I’ll have to think of a word that describes the relationship between Boggel and Mary. Love simply isn’t enough. I looked up where we got the word Love from, and I’ll copy it here:
Old English lufu “love, affection, friendliness,” from Proto-Germanic *lubo (cf. Old High German liubi “joy”)
Now, Dear Diary, I like the idea that Love originates from the word Joy. It reminds me so much about John 15:11 where Jesus said: ‘I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.’
And that is what these two people found in each other: they rediscovered Joy. Love can be mundane, even boring at times – but Joy is boisterous, happy, celebrating, overwhelming all of the time.
I think they are very clever, the two of them. Servaas wants them to get married, but Mary says no. For them the connection between them is enough. They can talk, and hear what each other is saying. So, Mary says, she’ll come and visit as often as she can. They’ll develop their relationship with care and patience. She says, she’s too afraid to lose the friendship to rush into anything right now.
I suppose I was a bit rude when I asked her what about sex, but you know me, Diary! I want to know things. So I asked her. We girls can do that sometimes. And then, Diary, I realised how deep their relationship really is. She looked at me in a surprised way, smiled sympathetically and said: “Why on earth would I want to ruin a perfect relationship with sex – at this time, especially? No, maybe later, but not now.”
I don’t think I’ve ever heard such wisdom. People equate sex with love – and sometimes it works out that way. But sex, Dear Diary, is no guarantee for Love. Not at all. The only one who’d be disappointed at hearing this, would be Servaas. How he loves a scandal! Shame, he’ll just have to hope somebody else starts sinning in our town, so he can be happy.
So I think Boggel and Mary are playing t exactly right. You must hear Boggel humming to himself these days! One love song after the other. I’m so happy for them.
It is true that Boggel seems a bit moonstruck these days. He doesn’t mind being teased a little. He says he found his moon – and she shines through his darkness.
And that, he says, that is quite enough.
And for the older Rolbossers: