Ignored by his father, Boyd plays truant and walks, for days upon days, until he can walk the streets of Cape Town blindfolded. He walks through the city, out to Green Point, Mouille Point and Three Anchor Bay. He walks up Signal Hill, timing it perfectly with sunset. He revels in the mundane, finds solace in the everyday. The boring and unassuming become beautiful, because the alternative – upheaval and tragedy – are too ugly to contemplate.
At the top of Signal Hill he finds a stone, black as the night, with jagged, serrated edges. He runs his thumb along the knife-like edge until it bleeds, waits a couple of days for it to heal and then does it again, digging in deeper each time. It feels good, moving infinitesimally closer to mother.
When the time comes, he decides he will offer guided tours of the city on foot, showing the best place to catch the sun rising through the gaps in the rooftops, the spot where flowers grow out of the side of a derelict building at the back of the railway goods yard, where the best acoustics are for listening to the tide.
That will be for the summer. For now, the nights are drawing in and the doom-laden south-easters bring clouds rolling in over the hills, instantly throwing the city into shadow. For a while, for a perverse few weeks, he is convinced he is the luckiest person alive. The world is a simple place when you don’t want from it. He feels sure mother would approve.
This is a standalone piece that might be incorporated into something larger at some point. I fancied writing about somewhere I’ve never been, so hopefully I’ve not made too many clangers with regards to Cape Town. The research was fun.