“Goodnight, you sweet man.” Rita pats Servaas’s shoulder as she steers the unsteady Eddie towards the door.
Boggel’s Place has been unusually loud tonight. The TV crew and the townsfolk had an impromptu karaoke competition, which Mevrou won with her rendition of Een aand op die trein na Pretoria. Now, with happy smiles and tired eyes, the patrons excuse themselves – one after the other – to go home and surrender to a well-deserved bit of rest.
Virginia is the happiest of them all. Gertruida had asked Vetfaan to fetch his new torch – and after they finally found the eyes between the mass of wrinkles, showed the others what a cataract looks like. Because she knows everything, Gertruida explained that a simple operation will restore sight. The Carte Blanche team immediately said they’d follow her progress and that hers would be the perfect feel-good story for their Christmas program. And yes, of course they’d cover all her costs. Rita immediately contacted Dr Peter Upil, the world-famous eye surgeon, who agreed to do the surgery.
“It’s almost a complete miracle, Almost…” Virginia mumbles as she slips in between the white sheets of the new bed in the guest house.
Servaas settles on the couch in his little lounge. He’s just had a shower, splashed on some Old Spice, and dressed in his best pyjamas. He has a feeling that he’ll get a visitor as soon as the town settles down, and he’s going to be ready for her. Oh yes! Hoo boy! Those lingering looks and secret little winks and smiles – yes, tonight…! He’s left a single candle at the door to show he’s awake, available, and ready… He’s left the radio on, too, as a sign that he’s awake. The soft sounds of music will carry all the way to the street…calling, beckoning…yes…even pleading.
The sad thing about getting older is that fatigue gets you before alcohol makes you silly – or lust gets the upper hand. Servaas has had quite a bit to drink tonight, and, despite the anticipation, slips into a happy slumber, dreaming of nubile bodies and whispered words of passion…
And then, suddenly…
It is dark. Pitch, black, blind, dark. The candle has burnt out. A soft finger on his lips.
And then a blindfold, gently, soft, accompanied by a throaty giggle. A hand on his chest, warm breath in his neck. Buttons get undone: the top one…the next……the next. Warm fingers entangle themselves, gently, softly, in the soft fuzzy hair on his chest.
“I was hoping…” He wants to say more, but the finger returns to his lips followed by another shhhh.
Now both hands explore his chest, the one (left hand?) dipping lower, finding the soft flesh below the ribs. His breath starts to race, but then…then…soft lips find his and he tastes desire, undiluted want, on the moist tongue that probes and explores as if it is a separate, living creature. The chest-hand moves up, moves to his neck, moves to the back of his head – slowly, ever so slowly – and then, with a sigh escaping past the kiss, draws him nearer, crushing lip against lip.
Deep inside Servaas’s mind, an old instinct wakes up. His hands become alive to reach out in the darkness to find a body – oh, so definitely female – writhing passionately against his. Despite the blindfold, he closes his eyes, smells the intoxicating scent of desire, allows himself to slip into the unfamiliar long, slow abyss of of infinite, intimate, mutual pleasure.
Never in his life has he experienced anything like this. She acts as a guide, making him travel forgotten byways and sideways, making him beg, plead, to rush along, but delaying and postponing the inevitable journey towards sweet release. Every one of his moans triggers another shhhh!, making him a helpless sailor on an unsteady ship caught in a raging gale.
And then…oh!…the finality of it all…he enters the almost forgotten lost paradise, the legendary magical little oasis hidden so cleverly amongst the dry dunes of the Kalahari.
Afterwards, as silently as she came, she leaves with only the faintest of rustles of fine silk to linger on in the ecstatic mind of the breathless old man.
“Where’s Servaas?” Boggel looks up as Vetfaan strolls in. “He’s usually your first customer.”
“Don’t know. But…it was quite an evening last night. Maybe he’s sleeping in a bit this morning”
“Ja, shame. He’s getting too old for all this galavanting till the small hours of the night.” Vetfaan reaches over to take a beer from the cooler below the counter. “But the TV-crew is packed and ready to go. That Rita woman specifically asked where he is – she wants to tell him something.”
“He’ll be in just now, I’m sure. Give it a few minutes.”
Vrede licks Daisy’s wet nose fondly. They’ve just heard Rita telling Virginia that it would be best if she – Virginia – left with them. That way, they can get her to the eye surgeon in Johannesburg the next day, get the surgery done, and film the event in time for the Christmas program.
“Grewewl?” Vrede has to know.
“Grumphff nyarrap..” Of course she loves him. He’s the handsomest, kindest, most wonderful male she’s ever met. “Awrl, groumrrr.” What an absolute stud you are…
“Harf, arf.” Seriously. And no, she’s never said this to any other male, ever, before.
Poor Vrede. Just like human men do, he actually believes her.
A remarkably spry Servaas swaggers in to Boggel’s Place to find everybody there already, saying their goodbyes with the huge smiles of a splendid morning-after. Not quite sure how to conduct himself, Servaas skips over to the counter to fetch a beer. Shall he walk up to Rita boldly? Thank her? Make as if nothing happened? Tell her he loves her? Respect her privacy and ignore her?
He almost upsets his beer when Rita appears at his side.
“You know, Oom Servaas, you remind me so much of my late father. Kind, gentle, lovable…and a bit distant. If you don’t mind, I’d like a photograph of the two of us. I’d like to always remember Rolbos and the memories you people have rekindled.”
“Oh. Um. Yes. Of course. My pleasure.”
She is an extremely good actress, Servaas thinks, to make as if nothing happened. Well, maybe it’s better this way. What a wise woman! And what a pleasure. He closes his eyes to relive the journeys those clever fingers had across his body. Oh my…
“Well, we have to be off.” Rita herds the crew to their vehicle, turns around, and waits for Virginia, who is thanking everybody.
“I’ll never forget last night,” Virginia smiles sadly. ‘It’s been the most wonderful experience of my life. Where’s Servaas?” She glances around as if trying to search the faces.
“Oh? Here.” Servaas steps forward.
“Will you kiss me goodbye? Please? I suspect you are a very passionate, naughty old man.”
When he draws near, she reaches out to find his chest. Her fingers crawl up to his neck, to the back of his head, and then gently forces his lips towards her face.
“And remember, Servaas…shhh….”