After two days on the road, and two nights and a day in the stone-dry, harsh tranquility of the isolated little village of Nieu Bethesda (except that, on the second night, torrential rain, lightning, lashed the mountain tops and swept across the monochromatic landscape) we have arrived in Cape Town. Our comfortable Johannesburg home, at Number 3 Msasa, all packed up; all gone.

Gone too is Rob’s wedding ring.

Made especially for us, for the occasion, and based on a design we had seen at ANPA Jewellers in Cape Town, it had two cognac-coloured diamonds set in rose gold, in a white gold band – two peas in a pod, we liked to say, indulgently. Rob had taken it off, whilst packing, and placed it carefully in a velvet pouch with her other rings in the bedroom cupboard. On Sunday, when the movers came, one of them – a light-fingered thief, a soulless petty criminal, pocketed it.

We only found out on Tuesday morning, as we were driving away from Eve and Shaun’s, where we had spent the Sunday and Monday nights, after closing up our house and handing over the keys. Rob said suddenly, ‘well, I suppose I should put on my wedding ring again,’ and opened up her purse, and took out the little black pouch, and poured the rings into her hand. I turned to look at her, aware of a sudden shocked silence.

We have turned the car and our luggage upside down and inside out. There is no doubt that the ring is gone, and no doubt as to when – and how – it must have happened.

After a while, you swallow your anger, you bury the mental images of gleeful fingers pawing over the sparkly stones, you don’t even think of the miserable R500 the thief may have got for the ill-gotten, misbegotten spoils – and you move on. After all, as I said to Rob, later that first evening, after the discovery, we weren’t exactly robbed at knife-point, we weren’t mugged, we weren’t attacked, it was a non-violent crime. We weren’t even aware of it when it happened. We are luckier than some.

So good bye, Johannesburg.

This morning, in a blustery bright Cape Town, we are off to see our insurance company, and then to an appointment with the jewellers at ANPA. Getting a new ring made in under two weeks, and delivered to us in Johannesburg before we fly out to Toronto, will be a tall order. But we’ll try.

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