That Girl With The Hair

2 Jul

Twenty two can be a strange time in a male’s life. Often – but not always – twenty two is the age at which male adolescents, who have been threatening maturity for some time take ownership of this fairly arbitrary and ill-defined thing the western world calls “manhood”. Young manhood.

In this way, Lize is my first relationship. It’s tenuous, this whole manhood thing, but so far I’m on track. I have a job. I pay my rent. I invested in equities recently. (Dammit. I’m an old man already.)

Lize stepped in to my life as I stepped into my life, my life as a man, the one where I put on the clothing, effects and expressions of a creature that thinks before it speaks, speaks well when it does, and contributes energy and love to the world.

We bumped into each other digitally. I know. If you were born before 1960, I won’t even try to explain to you how this is possible.

But I will say this: if a human being’s body is comprised of 50 to 80 per cent water, then a human’s being is comprised of 90 per cent communication.

Lize and I communicate well. And we communicate well, together. In November 2010, she was one of innumerable innocuous cheerful conversations on Twitter. And then the two month holiday in which I would return to Hillcrest in order to move out – permanently – was upon me, and I thought nothing more of Twitter for the rest of that year, or for the first fleeting moments of the following one.

I drove from Hillcrest to Cape Town in my Fiat Uno, and saw the most beautiful Free State sunset yet created, returned to my desk at work, and put my head down.

I picked my head up three months into 2011, and Lize was some three metres away from me. In the office. How she got there doesn’t matter. She was there, wearing physics-defying heels, stockings, a skirt, a blazer, and a clutch of accessories ;including a grin, long legs and bleach-blonde hair.

I hugged her hello, for no particular reason. I suppose I thought we were passed shaking hands, given the number of sentences we’d exchanged, loaned and borrowed between each other already. She smelled incredible. She still does, all the time, and it’s not her perfume.

I made her laugh, and I made her coffee – but not in that order, I don’t think.

She left, back to Johannesburg. But there was Twitter. And chemistry. It poured out of our eyes.

She came back to Cape Town 17 days later for a job interview. We fell in love walking around Kalk Bay together. No one appreciates how many steps there are in Kalk Bay. No one appreciates what it’s like for someone to look you in the eye, perched on the side of a mountain with God’s ocean spread out infinitely before you, and say, “If all we had was this, I would tell you that I loved you.”

Hope was poised on the edge of a feathered blade. Lize still lived in Johannesburg.

We called each other. Every day. Money was no object, and cell phone airtime was manna. Neither of us wanted a long distance relationship. We ignored the implications of a negative outcome to her Cape Town job application.

In Cape Town, I was finding my feet after ending a four and a half year relationship in the weeks before I met Lize. I believe that Christ, my creator, king and saviour leads my life. I needed time to let God establish me as a Christian man – to help me leave my life of weak boyhood behind. To make me useful to him. I threw myself into him, recommitting myself to times of praying, making myself available to listen to what he has to say to me, to reading his word with an eagerness to learn. I had let all of that become overgrown, rusted, mildewed and scratched in the four and a half years prior.

[Sidenote: She has just sat down next to me as I type this. Flip.]

With that in mind, Easter rolled around. It’s an incredibly special time for me, more so than Christmas. Lize drove to Durban with her pink hair, and stayed with a friend in Durban North. We shared her first bunny chow, prayed on benches in Umhlanga, got harassed by bored security guards for kissing in a parked car, and made fun of the louts on the business end of a lengthy evening binge at mediocre bar. Toilets are rare and glorious finds in After Ten Umhlanga.

When she left she was wearing a beanie, which for some reason I find incredibly endearing. I told her that I loved her, and that I was not leading her on, or being insincere.

Return to Johannesburg, return to Cape Town. The status quo.

The details have, in quick time, became fairly hazy. The gist of the matter is that some days later, Lize got the job. Four hours before she gave me the news, I had called to tell her that I couldn’t be with her for some time. I needed to be okay with myself again, to know myself. I didn’t know how long that period of time would be

We waited, in line with what I felt I had to do. We met, kissed, hug. We recommitted to waiting. Rinse, wash, repeat

On 5 June. The waiting was over.

Since then I, we, have been working through the frustration and worry of introducing her to my friends, family. At every turn, we realise the worrying is for nothing.

The other night we had dinner, and I realised that I was completely comfortable with her. And that she was, in all moments, my favourite person.

She’s strong-willed, a little bit wild, fragile, sweet, tactile, independent, sincere, forthright. She is impossibly intelligent in music, words, mathematics, logic. She’s imperfect, complex and dazzling colourful. And she’s been led to faith in Christ by God.

I love her by my actions.

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