They were lovers till the end, his Ouma and his Oupa. PW thought of Ouma with her papery-thin skin, her rivers of prominent green veins and her sparse white hair, the remnants of a once-great beauty, and of Oupa’s daily happiness for the simple privilege of waking up with her and waiting for her rheumy blue eyes to open.
For Oupa, she will always be Rose Koetze, the young widow who ran Die Uitkyk with an iron hand after her husband died, who gave him a job and a new life. To him, she was always the great Voortrekker beauty with a fierce spirit but who came to him soft and yielding in the night. We never see things and people as they really are; rather, we see them as we ourselves are.
Today, she was sitting on the wooden rocking chair on the stoep when PW arrived. PW ran up the steps and kissed his grandmother’s hand reverently. In her persence, he always felt like a boy once again, in his short trousers and wearing oversized tackies, feeling awe-inspired and nervous-excited about the day ahead. Everyday was still a great adventure then.
“Ouma,” he said.
“Ag, PW,” she patted his face fondly. Her favourite grandchild. “Have you come to tell me about the blerrie English girl?”