OYSTERHOOD is reclusiveness or solitude, or an overwhelming desire to stay at home.
At seventy-seven days, South Africa’s lockdown is officially the longest in the world. I have a soft spot for the number 77 for personal reasons, but otherwise I am not sure whether this is something to be proud of, especially with infection rates still rising and no end or any good news in sight.
A day of endless rains. Also hail, but I did not notice it in this part of Cape Town. The dams must be filling up and that is a good thing. I might even have a bath this weekend and won’t feel too guilty about it. A hot bath and a cold beer. Mmmmm. Bliss. But not tonight. Tonight, I just need to get into my warm bed and fall asleep with the fire singing lullabies long into the stormy night.
I made the fire only in the afternoon today. In the morning, we just stayed and worked in bed, Salieri catssisting and finally falling asleep on the job. She was cross with me that I did not want to share the mouse with her.
Once I moved next to the fireplace, Glinka moved with me and I placed her favourite blanket under my small desk for her. She is still settled here as I write, her body glowing with warmth on the side of the fire.
A day of rain and continued work on the text I started proofreading yesterday, with admin emails in between and some fun on Twitter. When I am not online, I play cards on my computer to air my brain. Online, I tweet. I always need these little breaks to focus better throughout a long day’s work.
Reading Rebecca Solnit’s Recollections of My Non-Existence makes me want to crawl into an oyster shell and wait until all my imperfections turn into a gleaming treasure while the world outside comes to its senses. As a woman, I have lived, more or less consciously, in fear for most of my life. Like Solnit, I have not been raped, mutilated or killed, but the violations of my psyche and body over the years have left so many open wounds and scars behind, that sometimes it feels like I will never heal fully again. And I refuse to count myself lucky that no man had hung my stabbed, lifeless body up on a tree in a veld. No one – no one – should suffer such a fate. Not when they are eight months pregnant. Not ever. No one should have to live with constant fear that the integrity of their being could be violated at any moment, in unimaginable ways. But that is the world we live in. And there is no luck in that.
All this violence, and so little healing, hope.
Be kind to yourself. Be kind to others. Stay at home.
“Physical distancing remains one of the key strategies to curb this pandemic.”