This next weekend will be our last in the Emmarentia house. For Rob, this spells relief and release. For me, it is both of these things, and more. I said to Rob last night that I will want some time simply to sit and reflect, before we hand over the keys and take our last look around; I need to smoke a cigar, pace about the garden, squint up towards the sun through the sparse and spindly arms of the pine tree and the blackened branches of the ailing willow; sip a malt whiskey, make my final peace with this patch of earth, this fractured yet still meaningful home.
We have had our celebratory bottle of sparkling wine, in front of an open fire on Saturday evening on the sun deck over the pool, to mark the transfer of the property, and of funds into my account. We have had our dinner with the kids, in which our goodbyes were hardly spoken and barely noted, at least not openly, though who knows what each of us was thinking. But this weekend, I have told Rob, should be our own moment, to mark the time and mentally transcribe the transition. So down to the fishy market we will go next Saturday morning, to buy the biggest most succulent prawns we can find, and I will take a bottle of good wine out of my small but precious store, and we will kick it all for touch, in style.
In style, I say – but for style, I doubt we will easily match our lunch on Sunday, out in the Magaliesberg, at Roots restaurant in The Cradle of Humankind. We went there to check out the lay of the land, for our wedding dinner, and to see if it would be possible to hold the ceremony itself on the premises; we came away overwhelmed, delighted, fulfilled, and deeply emotional. It is everything we want, it is, quite simply and superbly, us. And it is, we have decided, where we will be married.
Our North American relatives will be blown away by this, something new and fabulous, Out of Africa. My children, my mom and sisters, will love it. Mike will be rewarded, at least a little bit, for his bottomless generosity, towards me over many years and now towards the two of us. And for Rob and me, two fifty-something kids, two practical dreamers, it will be perfection.
Six courses, each with a dedicated wine: raspberry soup, a duo of pork, a something of chicken, a display of something tantalising and exquisite on the next plate, a something more to follow – bliss, peace, and purest pleasure.
No matter, then, that we nearly didn’t make it. The power went out, on Sunday morning, and for twenty interesting minutes, there were Rob and I, dressed up and all set to go, frantically trying to figure out how to get the electric gate open. Finally, the power came on, and out we scooted.
There was to be no holding us back, it seems. And now we have not merely a wedding, we have a dinner, to look forward to.