The frog is back!

mercredi, le 26 août 2009

The Princess, her friend The Owl and I are all huddled on our favourite couch. The Princess has nuzzled her nose comfortably on my lap, The Owl weighs heavily on my lap, nuzzled close to her canine friend and I’ve nuzzled my nose in a paperback I cannot tear myself away from. Brel is lamenting a love lost or found or dying or waiting to die.

A sudden shrill sound hits three divergently attuned ears simultaneously. I run a quick mental check: we are beamed in, we are locked in, we are caged in, yet there was an unmistakably unfamiliar familiar sound. The Princess lifts her head and utters a lip smacking yawn, or smiles beautifully as my friend, the Global Investor, would say, and keeps an eye on the outside darkness. The Owl lazily repositions her claws for better grip, and peers outside with eyes that can see in the dark. My eyes dart from my book and with a stiffened spine, stare wide open into the dimly lit garden.

There was something familiar about the sound. It wasn’t a feline calling a human doorman to let him or her in. This is not Egypt, nobody is going to leave a baby in a basket …

Oh my god. Spring has not even sprung and the goddamn frog is back!!

One of the household chores L’homme had taken upon himself was to care for the once upon a time splash pool, now fish pond. In the days when we still spoke, he’d often say he cannot leave me because I would not take care of the pond. I would forget to feed the fish and I wouldn’t manage the filtration system and the pond would turn murky and pea soup green.

How right was he not? Well, the pond is not exactly pea soup green yet, but it is far more murky than it used to be under L’homme’s charge. But I haven’t yet mustered the strength to gain any semblance of clarity in my own mind, let alone a pond! And now, with no-one tending the pond, a tadpole or more has again managed to grow its pond side legs and is beginning to exercise its vocal cords in anticipation of summer nights to come.

This god and man forsaken pond has the ability to produce frogs with vocal cords that drown out all sounds that man can produce. No surround sound has managed to rise above the incessant croaking.

And involuntarily my mind drifts back to a New Year’s day that seems so long ago that it must’ve been before ‘Once upon a time …’

I had taken myself off to Paris, maison de mes rêves, for Xmas and days thereafter, because I could, because a hard year had drawn to a close and because I wanted to discover a Paris just for me. L’homme and I were living apart, but talking. While I was dressed in layers of winter, playing hide and seek with the cold, he was staying in my house. And as is his want when distance creates a playground of make-believe, there were many late night phone calls, many pretences of kindness many ‘wish you were here’ conversations.

He contacted The Ex-French Girlfriend and a night out was arranged. I do like her a lot, not only because she is beautiful and oh so French, but because she is kind, gentle, caring and seems to have escaped L’homme unscathed. And I so wish our means of communication was less challenged. I did sacrifice the best part of a day searching for an affordable present for her soon to arrive first born that fell way short of the riches she is accustomed to, but in the search I criss-crossed Paris. The wefts and wafts of shop in and shop out, too expensive and too cheap, strengthened the fabric of the Paris of my dreams.

On New Year’s Eve I had to leave la maison de mes rêves as just that. Savouring every last minute, I sat on the hand of Henri de Miller’s sculpture of l’Ecoute and whispered unmentionable dreams and desires to the ear to the ground and eyes turned to the heavens, before going for a nostalgic farewell dinner in a restaurant L’homme had introduced me to years ago. I nearly missed my flight.

In one of the many long distance phone calls, all on my expense, off course, L’homme had undertaken to meet me at the airport. In-flight, there was something liberating about sipping French champagne, drinking toasts to New Year’s lost and found, dreams left behind and dreams ahead.

I was greeted by a severely hung over, severely sleep deprived, severely irritated L’homme. Disheveled, shoe laces undone, unshaven, unclean, his own celebrations on his breath and in the stubble of his beard. My arrival was everything I had imagined it not to be. The bright light of a New Year’s day and face-to-face stripped the Emperor of his colourful cloak of long distance make-believe charm.

Back home spades and shovels, skimmers and brushes and chairs were in disarray around the pond. The purpose? ‘I tried to kill the frog, but he got away’ L’homme sheepishly answered.

L’homme, the court jester, who in a few words could make all anger, fears and trepidations evaporate and re-install a world of make-believe, of pretend and of maybe …

The braai fire was lit, we had New Year’s sex, as always, on the couch. An inconvenient place to linger, to savour the moment of closeness, of gentleness, to lie spent in each other’s arms, savouring the aftershock brought on by eruptions of pleasure, inhaling the sweet smell that only climax pushes through the pores and to mumble oh so sweet nothings. An inconvenience that suited L’homme.

The functional sex was over, the meat was on the braai and Paris was far away and another year was ahead and to endorse that everything was the way it is, the frog croaked loadly.

(Did I know when I taken photo’s of the fish pond earlier today that the frog would croak tonight? My favourite white fish glistening in the sun and swimming in the watchful reflection of the angels.)

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