[Also in Afrikaans @]

[Published as a letter in By 15/3/2008]

One fine Saturday morning I find myself at Cape Town Airport.  For the second time that day.  My brother-in-law is flying out to Dublin. 

Earlier the morning we have been to the airport to try to get a seat for Bro’-in-law that could accommodate his long legs.  However, the counters were still closed.  So now we are back again.

The seats in economy class with the ample legroom had been taken already.  Bro’-in-law, however, convinces the ground personnel that he has endless trouble with his knees after both knees had been broken in an altercation with three Martians from outer space.  In return for his innovative endeavours in this regard they move him to the seat at the emergency exit where he can swing his legs. 

Bro’-in-law goes for a walk-about.  I make myself comfortable on the luggage trolley along with the last remaining pieces of his luggage.  It is a hot day.  I take my spectacles off to wipe the sweat off my brow and sit with my head in my hands for a moment.

At one stage I look up and, through the haze of looking without my spec’s, I see a Black man walking purposefully in my direction (it’s probably only in the South African context that the ethnicity is relevant).   I put my spectacles on and look again.  Yes indeed, there is no-one near me, and this guy is clearly heading straight at me. 

I thought oeps! maybe I’m not supposed to sit on the trolley.  So I struggle to get of the trolley, but I’m a bit wedged in between the luggage.  And in any case, the trolley is very low, it is difficult getting up quickly.   By the time I eventually have myself half way on my feet the guy is on me.  Before I can do anything he grabs me with his one hand across my shoulder, with the other hand coming around.  And he gives me a bear hug, saying:  “My friend, don’t cry, don’t cry, everything is going to be all right, you just see.”

Later he let go with his one hand, but keep me in a firm grip with his other arm. 

Bro’-in-law returns and I explain to the porter no, I’m OK, that’s the guy that is leaving.  Upon which he starts comforting us both.

“Don’t you worry, it will be better soon, everything will be OK”.

And off he goes to proceed with his business for the day.



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