Late Friday afternoon Jeremy turned up at Danny’s house in Bateleur Street.
“Mon oncle Danny!” he exclaimed joyfully when first the gate then the front door were opened for him. Without any reservations he locked the older man in his strong arms and hugged him with fierce affection.
“Good grief, Kid!” Danny wormed himself out of the embrace and guided Jeremy by the shoulder into the cool interior of the house. They were of the same length now, he noticed. “And? How are things at the university? How’s your mother? Come on, let’s go sit outside. I have some ice cold sodas in the bar fridge in the lapa. Leave your bag here for now. We can sort out your room later.”
Jeremy dropped his kitbag on the floor in the lounge and followed him out the backdoor. A few strides to the left took them to the lapa with the swimming pool a few meters away directly in front of them.
The evening air was hot, sultry, humid.
As Danny opened the fridge a loud splash made him turn around.
“Yahooo!” Jeremy shouted. “Just what I needed!” He had jumped into the water still fully dressed in fashionable cargo pants and T-shirt. The sandals were kicked off and lay on the paving.
“Crazy brat!” Danny smiled.
Jeremy swam to the edge, clambered out and plonked down on a chair, dripping wet.
“Oh man, life here is great!” His enthusiasm knew no bounds. “Aye, Danny, university is merveilleux. I love it. Mom is fine. All is good. I just wanted to break away and come here for a moment to clear my crammed brain. Tomorrow I will go into the Park. You’re coming?” He opened the soda can and took a long sip.
“You go, Jerry. I have a number of phone calls to make and a manuscript to finish. I get into Kruger more than enough anyhow. But if you need company – my time is my own…”
“No, it is fine, just fine. In my case again I’m always surrounded by people and it will be quite an experience to go solo. Aha, I will then be able to call myself “Lone Wolf” for a day! They have labeled me for some obscure reason – gad, you don’t want to know what stupid nicknames they give people! I’m supposed to be The Untamed and I guess that comes from the girls.” He laughed heartily, pressed his feet against the patio table and see-sawed the chair on its back legs.
Danny on the other hand sat dead quiet and watched him with a slight frown on the forehead.
“Untamed, huh?” he remarked gently after a while. “Very much the du Preez factor running in your veins.”
How many of these “wild and free” people are walking around? he wondered. Imagine Kathleen bringing her genes into this family too. What kind of kids would they produce then?
He stood up.
“I’ve made a nice dinner. Come help yourself while I pour us some wine.”
As he passed Jeremy he couldn’t resist leaning over to ruffle that hair again, but Jeremy jumped to his feet and grabbed Danny by the arm, stopping that action in midair. They stood face to face, staring deeply into each other’s eyes before he let go.
“I think I might be over that stage of being patted,” Jeremy then grinned.
“You could have been my son.”
“I wouldn’t have minded.”
To be continued.