Destiny’s Hand

Some months before going back to Italy to serve in the army, I was going out with a girl my age and we loved each other very much. We were both very sad as we were to part for one whole year. Nevertheless we thought that twelve months wasn’t such a long time and that they would surely fly past quickly.

Once in Italy I mostly kept in contact with her by letter. I wrote to her about once a week and I regularly got her reply, which was always longing and reassuring. I could not wait to see her again. During my absence she and her family went north to Johannesburg where her father got a job. There she found a flat on her own and a job in a health shop in the city center.

Luckily my training in the air force kept my mind busy and the year in Italy went by fast and the day came when I sent her a telegram to tell her on what flight I was on and my arriving time. To make sure that somebody would pick me up at the airport, I also sent a telegram to her mother.

During my return flight I tried to sleep so that time would go faster and once the airplane landed in the big Johannesburg airport, I collected my luggage in haste and went outside where the people waited for the arrivals.

To my great surprise and disappointment I didn’t find neither my girlfriend, nor any other person waiting for me. I waited till everybody had left the airport and I was the last to come out and so I was alone. I then tried to telephone her but with no result. She was not at home. So I decided to use my last few rand to get a taxi till her flat. I arrived there just before five, shops were about to close and she would surely be home soon. I waited outside her door looking over the courtyard. After a while when I didn’t see her come back, I decided to ask her neighbor if she still lived there. The lady looked at me suspiciously and then said that she lived there with a guy. Surely her younger brother, I thought.

Leaning against the wall, I waited for her return. A little later I heard the lift doors opening at ground floor, somebody got in and was coming up. The lift came to rest at the third floor where I was. The doors opened and the shadow of my girlfriend came out, hugging a short fat man.

I immediately noticed that she had lost a lot of weight. She was extremely thin and being so tall she looked like a scarecrow. I almost did not recognize her and I later came to know that she had become vegetarian.

As our eyes met, she burst into tears, while the guy (who was not her brother) had an astonished look on his face. I wished I had not gone there and put myself in an uncomfortable position. Nevertheless he opened the door of the flat and my girlfriend through her sobs invited me to come in. I wished the guy would go away but I understood he had no intention to leave us alone.

Although the situation was extremely embarrassing for me I decided to stay and to have the possibility to speak to her.

After a cup of tea and some whole wheat biscuits that I could not swallow she went into the kitchen with the other guy. They remained there for a while.

When they came back, her friend left the flat without another word and she invited me to remain with her for that night so that we could speak and clear our situation. I accepted, looking forward to the evening, but it was a very sad evening during which she tried to explain that she had made major changes in her lifestyle and that she wanted to be free to have other experiences with different guys. The trouble was that she never once wrote to me about this matter. She just went on and on till day break, talking about what she wanted and not a word or question on what we wanted.

So finally in spite of her endless tears and attempts to justify her behavior and not have any changes in our relationship I decided to leave her, because I realized she had become another person and the best thing to do was that we each go our own way. Nevertheless I thought it best to say nothing and leave Johannesburg as soon as possible.

The morning after, when I was alone, I phoned Bugs at his office and asked him to come and pick me up. I waited for him till the day after because the distance between Pietermaritzburg and Johannesburg is about 600 kilometers and the freeway only went half the distance.

So I spent yet another night arguing and trying to make sense of what she was talking about. She said she wanted a baby from me and would go on a special diet and then give birth in a swimming pool. I must have looked very surprised because she laughed at me. Of course I made as if I agreed with her, hoping that the day after would come soon.

The next morning, after she left for work, there was a loud knock at the door. I went to open and saw Enzo in front of me and Bugs behind him. They both looked very tired, as they had come with the old Ford Escort taking turns at driving all through the night.

We had together a big breakfast which included whole wheat puffs and although my friends were very tired, we left the flat immediately and set off for Pietermaritzburg where we arrived late in the evening.

It was destiny that both telegrams would had not been received and so neither my girlfriend nor her mother knew of my arrival.

If the telegrams had not been lost, I would never have known the truth and would have fallen in the net of that girl once again.

During the journey my hopes and plans for the future went rushing through my mind and despite the sad experience, I somehow felt happy.

When we arrived in the city Enzo convinced me to go with him to a party where we had a lot of fun because of the many girls, the good music and the huge braai-vleis (barbeque).

I will be forever grateful to my friends Enzo and Bugs for having pulled me out of an awkward situation and for driving such a long way to rescue me.

About Mauro

I am a scribbler of my far away memories. I am Italian and when I was little I landed up with my family in South Africa, where I remained until I was 22 years old. Then I came back to Italy, where I live. Writing life stories about myself and to share them with who desires to read them, helps me to tackle the hardships of life! [Read More]

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