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Rated: E · Novella · Philosophy · #1990266
The process of remembering is not linear.
That day, my dad had seen Horatio the Crab. It had been raining cats and dogs and poor Horatio was standing on the sidewalk/pavement with a tiny umbrella looking for someone to give him a ride. My dad pulled to the side of the road and leaned over to open the passenger door.

"How splendid to see you, Willem, it has been too long! How is the family? Are the kids enjoying school? How is Celeste?" he asked with emphasis.

My dad was not one for small talk but, for our sake, he embellished. "Horatio! Get out of the rain, my friend, you'll get washed away!"

Horatio climbed into the passenger seat of my dad's old, inherited VW Passat. He closed his umbrella and shook the water off without much success. My dad reached passed him from the driver's seat and pulled the door shut.

Horatio again asked after the family and my dad explained how each of us was doing. Then my dad asked after his family. I remember that he had kids, several kids it seemed but now I forget exactly how many. There were girls and boys to satisfy each of our needs for camaraderie in the tale and of course, there was a Mrs. My dad never seemed very interested in exploring the story of Mrs. Horatio, as he called her. Perhaps crabs don't have surnames, what did I know?

Horatio had told my dad that day that he had gotten a new job. He was very excited. They had found a beautiful house to live in. Things were looking up for them. It was an encouraging story to hear... that things could look up. My dad took Horatio to the mall, he wanted to buy stationary for the kiddie crabs who would be starting school soon.

That was enough for tonight; perhaps dad would see Horatio around town tomorrow and have some new exciting story to relay, but for tonight, it that was the end. The flat was small and kissing us each good night was a simple up and down between the bunks. He switched off the light and pulled the door almost shut. We fell happily into sleep.


Sometimes I wonder what ever happened to Horatio and the crabs.


It was very seldom, in those days, that my dad and I spent time together. My mom claimed that we were too similar, bull headed, and so we locked horns constantly. But that day was different. He had asked, or offered, I don't remember the details, me to join him on site for a job. He was into signage at that stage. It was sometime after the carpentry stage and a little before the used cars sales stage.

I forget why I was interested in going along, it was a Saturday after all and I had swimming to do. Nevertheless, there I was, learning how to apply vinyl signage to a Perspex board using sunlight soap and a squeegee. It was exciting, the vinyl had to be positioned perfectly and then the board had to be fitted into the light box. It was like building a puzzle.

We were at a mall on the South Coast, Shelly Beach. 'Toti is by all definitions a small town, but in comparison with Shelly Beach, it seemed like a metropolis. My granddad had a holiday house there, I remember one of the best family vacations at that house, but that is for another time.

My dad and I had bonded. My brother had not been there to take his attention, it was just me. I felt like a grateful sheepdog, wagging its tail and hoping for another scratch on the head. On the drive home I was very tired. I couldn't imagine doing that everyday, but my dad was the eternal entrepreneur. He saw a money-making opportunity in everything and this was the latest path down which he sought success.

We arrived home as the evening was approaching. My uncle had been on his way from Gauteng and we were (a tense sort of) excited about seeing him. As we drove down the long and steep drive-way, I knew something was wrong. His car was stopped half way and my mother was waiting next to it for us to arrive. My heart dropped.

"Kiks, there's been an accident. She just jumped in the way. I'm sorry."


People say that 'hindsight is 20/20'. Perhaps it is in a philosophical way it is, but practically, I disagree. Looking back is always through a glass darkly (cite). Memories are shut away as soon as they are made, out of reach, kept under lock and key. The best we can hope for is that the door has a keyhole through which we can see, at least a tiny fragment of our past being replayed constantly.

The peephole is never strategically located, I've found. It's always too low and off to one side, as though I was trying to hide from whatever was happening. So, instead of faces and places, all I can see in my memories are ankles and walls. I see the dogs too, they are always in view, a sight for sore eyes.

Memory is more than just sight though, the muffled words sound like a foreign language, although I know exactly what they are saying. Words are not like rentals, you can't ever take them back. Once they leave a person's mouth, they stop belonging to that person and become the property of whoever is within earshot. Words do not need to be remembered. I own them, all of them, every word ever said to me. They are mine. Words are constant.

I remember being about 14 years old, riddle with zits and hollow inside. I would sit at the door to the memory when I was 6; full of promise and innocence. I was swimming, it was summer, seemed it was always summer. My sixth year was to date my favourite. I forget why now, but it is still my favourite, except I'm now two doors away, looking at 14 year old me, looking at 6 year old me and trying to remember what the water felt like.

The memory behind the door is moving constantly, even when I'm not looking through the peephole. The music stays the same but the dance seems to change ever so slightly over time.

This is why hindsight cannot ever be 20/20.


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