The pool is the sign of our state of being.

Last week, after heavy rains, the swimming pool that in better days ran off the end of the open patio, bright and clear in the landscaped garden, filled with mud the day after we had had it drained and refilled. Yesterday we had the pool cleared again, and last night, of course, it rained once more. So, when I rose this morning it was with a question – have we turned the corner? Are the bad spirits beginning to leave us, is our luck beginning to turn?

Just one of many indications, these past few days, that we may not yet be out of the woods: the cables were stolen again, in our street, on Tuesday; the power went out at noon and was only restored in the evening. For Rob, who had got up in the morning with renewed optimism, this had been a disheartening blow, and somehow she could not lift herself out of her exhaustion and unhappiness. We spent a miserable evening together and a restless night.

But, this morning, there is sunlight and, most important, most symbolic, the pool is undisturbed, unblemished by last night’s rain – cool, limpid, a greeny-grey-blue, a mirror to the sky and the high clouds. All is well again.

We are in this house, now, I have said to Rob; we have unpacked (she has unpacked!), the place is looking homey and lived in – oh, and the insurance has agreed to pay out! R50,000 (nearly $7000) worth of repairs to our frazzled wiring and burnt power outlets! The electricians start today. – We are in this house, as I was saying; we are settled, and now it is time for the people who live in the house to come first. The house can wait. It is merely a frame, a device, in which we live, for now anyway.

In March, Rob goes back to Toronto, to work for four months on a second series of a show she has worked on before. February, the remainder of this month, is time for us to have fun, to do things together, to enjoy one another – and to make some basic decisions about our future.

As Helena, my life coach, put it when we met for our penultimate session yesterday, what it it to be? shall we live in this house for the foreseeable future? Will we rent or sell, and live somewhere else in Johannesburg? Will we move to Cape Town, while I commute back here for work? Will we move to Cape Town, and will I terminate my contract and set up entirely on my own? Or, more radical still, will we go ‘cold turkey’ and move to Toronto?

The house can wait. There are other, more important, more fundamental things to attend to. But the pool, nestled in the muddy remains of the garden, is a clear, still, bright sign.

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