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The World Cup has left town, the party is over, and ordinary life resumes, more or less where it left off. We ask ourselves, was that shining vision of our better selves, during the long month of the Beautiful Game, a glimpse of the people we can become, individually and collectively, in this next phase of our history, or is it just what it said it was, no more, no less, a grand big party that has come and gone? Others, such as the New York Times, look back on this event with praise and admiration, but ask this too, of us South Africans, of this nation.

Three weeks from now to the day, keeping in mind the 6-hour time difference, I land in Toronto: the party may be over, but the party is just beginning. Beginning with a ‘pre-nup’ party thrown for us the first Saturday by Gail and Leslie, Rob’s friends and I hope, friends-to-be of mine; continuing the following weekend with a North American family reunion in Saugatuck, on Lake Michigan – the first, I understand, in a decade or so, and no doubt an event where Rob and I will be the focus of some curiosity, more than a dash of teasing and laughter, and perhaps a little emotion and sentimentality, too.

All good, I say – this 56 year-old is turning out to be perhaps a little more tolerant, not to mention appreciative and grateful, than his twenty- or thirty- or forty-something predecessors. Like wine, I tell you, this man improves with age.

It helps, more than I can say, that there is a woman in this man’s life who loves him: the love of a good woman I have been told, by someone who should know, is a humbling and empowering, a joyous and a wonderful thing. I believe her.

From Saugatuck to London – not London Ontario, though we will pass through that (and, Rob’s idea, not mine! do a burlesque photo shoot, in London, with a female photographer who specialises in the subject – this reality tv show, ‘Revamped,’ that Rob has been working on has clearly been working on her!) – but London UK, where Rob and I will spend the rest of the week with Jono, my son, and Hayley, his friend who is a girl and more, apparently, than just a friend. ‘You’re booked out for Friday night,’ Jono told me last week, putting in a smug call to tell me ‘there was something planned’ – but he couldn’t say what, or it wouldn’t be a surprise, would it?

No it wouldn’t – but let me throw out a challenge here, my son: I have a sneaky suspicion I know what the surprise is: but I’m not going to tell you, because that would spoil the surprise, yes?

But when the party’s over, I’ll tell you, and if I’m right, I’ll expect reward.

What a year 2010 is turning out to be! Not entirely by accident – there has been more than just an element of design. There is more to this than luck and serendipity. Think of it: divorce concluded, house sold, job left behind sans regret or remorse, and a new consulting life gathering a head of steam; engagement and marriage firmly on the horizon; and an aerial voyage in the next three weeks to Canada, to meet up with Rob, to get to know her again, and to bring her home with me. Her home; our home.

That there have been tears along the way, hardly matters now.

We may just throw a party, when Rob returns.

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