The crisp cold Jesus Christ air of Uniondale burnt my knuckles as I rode my bmx at 7am. Fifteen minutes is all it takes to see this town. With not much to see. The usual – church, bar, graveyard and fenced in barking dogs – sights and sounds of a small town.
There is jungle fever in Uniondale.
Six eyes meet. Mine and two cats. The two cats (one black one white) were perched on a tombstone, licking one another. They heard my tyre on the gravel and startled to a six eye standoff. In unison they leapt off the two metre piece of concrete and sprinted away, together, to find the next secluded spot. This was the most interesting interaction.
We are now on top of a hill boiling eggs with a Boer monument in the foreground and ‘Uniondale 4 Jesus’ in the deep background, on a mountain, in white stones.
I walk around town. Perch on a stone as a gang approaches. A gang of geriatrics with fractured memories and contorted expressions are being wheeled on chairs by orange beacons of no hope. At this point in life it is merely a wait till it is all over. But today they are in the sun with big wonky smiles. Same thing tomorrow. Unless tomorrow never comes. Later oldies. We’re off to Willowmore.
There was something else I forgot. Perhaps I was trying to push it out of the daily interactions. At the graveyard, two men with pick and spade in hand approached an open spot. With sullen faces I discovered the elderly Oupa was digging a grave for his grand-daughter. The father could not be found. The Oupa, I could tell, was not accustomed to digging a hole in the ground for someone he loved. His daughters baby was a still born. He may not have met her, but I doubt he will forget her. The funeral was taking place in five hours. Tears will accompany blank stares and empty thoughts as the procession blunders on. The night takes over, them searching for answers at the bottom of the bottle while they howl at the waning moon. Booze depletes into a trench of sadness. Questions of: Why her? Why not me? – plaguing these poor people.
I had no answers or words of comfort while these thoughts raced through. So, the best I could do was turn and walk away as the two men broke up the stone with their picks.