THE FOLLOWING STORY IS FICTIONAL AND ENTIRELY MY OWN, AND BEAR NO RESEMBLANCE OR ASSOCIATION WITH ANY ACTUAL HISTORICAL OR CURRENT EVENT OR PERSON. THIS STORY CANNOT BE COPIED OR DISTRIBUTED WITHOUT PRIOR KNOWLEDGE AND CONSENT FROM THE AUTHOR.
This story I want to dedicate to DANKBAAR for her loyalty from the first story onwards and the encouragement she always gives me by urging me on. Thanks, my friend!
Danny was restored to the excellent health and vigor he had enjoyed before the malaria had pulled him down. His mother, Diane, had returned to France after she had thoroughly rearranged his house in Phalaborwa with a mad variety of her “speed” paintings, Jeremy was attending university and apparently doing very well, the three of them kept contact on a regular basis and Danny had tackled the grueling task of starting his latest mystery novel. He found the surges of new energy after the illness to be quite an effective inspiration as well as diving into the pool to fight off some of the heat, which helped much.
Yet the greatest inspiration a man could find in his lone life travels was love, so he acknowledged the fact of him being deeply in love with Kathleen and that he would at some point in the future make her his bride, was the main force behind the comprehensive ideas and the free flow from his mind onto paper. The novel was developing nearly at the same rapid pace his mother’s paintings had done. The storyline moved so fast he forfeited many a night’s sleep to stay ahead of himself. He was excited, finished the whole book in record time and promptly started working on the next one. Nearly a year slipped thus through his fingers, literally and figuratively.
Near the end of the whole manuscript of nearly four hundred pages, he suddenly decided to leave the climax, unfurling and conclusion of the story for a few days so he could drive through to Pretoria, simply to keep himself busy with at a later date while Kathleen would be busy extricating herself from her career and eventually join him in Phalaborwa from where they could start planning their wedding. He had no doubt about the future, no doubt whatsoever about the love between him and Kathleen.
On a few occasions during this year he had phoned her and even though she had sounded somewhat distant, she had assured him of their lasting friendship. He had carefully avoided talking about love and such deeper emotions, not wanting to frighten her off, but as time went by his feelings had been intensifying. He had come to the conclusion that he needed to speak with her and quite desperately so. The words she had uttered when he was recovering in hospital still rang in his ears to this day:
“I love you even more than those two lives of mine. I love you with such a force that when I think of you or dream of you I start crying. But knowing myself and acknowledging the things I love so dear, and knowing you and the things you love so much in life – for your sake I cannot marry you!”
He turned the computer off in the early afternoon, took a short trip into the Kruger Park for a refreshing of the brain, after which he packed an overnight bag, bought dinner at a nearby take-away and went to bed just after eight.
It was time to make Kathleen realize that there was one thing in life he loved, one thing only he wanted…
• * * *
He had walked through the central city of Pretoria, sauntered into jewelry stores and had a good look around for the perfect ring, came across it in a little private store tucked away in the far corner of a mall and paid the ten thousand rand plus with his credit card.
It was truly beautiful, the row of exquisite diamonds giving off a brilliant sparkle and set in a cast of white gold. Laying in its bed of velvet in the tiny box, Danny stared at it for a while before he left the shop, suddenly wondering how Kathleen would receive this momentous symbol of what he wanted from her.
From this purchase onwards he kept himself busy with some casual window-shopping, drinking coffee twice at different coffee shops, had a late lunch at a fairly expensive restaurant and then he took a slow drive from the city to Arcadia suburb a few blocks away. Here he searched around for a hotel where he could book in for a night or two, also to have a shower and a power nap for now.
At seven o’ clock in the evening he slipped through the entrance doors to Kathleen’s building when someone left through it, went up in the lift and knocked on the door of her apartment.
There was no response.
He knocked again, noticing the reflection of the passage lights in the darkness of the windows.
The only response came from nextdoor. An elderly lady opened her door and peered at him.
“Kath’s on night shift,” she said. “If you give me your name I can tell her when she comes home in the morning.”
“It’s okay,” Danny replied. “I’ll come back. What time will she be in?”
“About eight.” Her curious eyes studied his tall figure then his face. “Aye, this time she might say yes. All of them, she says no. But you’re some looker, you know.”
Danny burst out laughing while he turned around and started walking away.
“I’ll be back tomorrow,” he laughed.
To be continued.