I just had dinner with my parents. This is nothing unusual. I have been doing it at least once a week for the last fifteen years, for the last forty years. I am lucky enough to have lived down the road from them for my adult life, to have lived with them for the first twelve years of my life and then every weekend and every holiday from thirteen to twenty (boarding school). Then I escaped (and they sent me, having been there themselves and knowing, to have my heart engulfed by Small Town, Eastern Cape, where I learnt to love, more, and to live.)
Fate made me, unplanned, live with them for my twenty second year. I broke, I needed to be there, they helped me get whole(r) again. Then there were eight years when they were there, and I was here. And then they came here. Five blocks from me.
In two weeks’ time, they will move from five blocks down the road from me, into a retirement village. It’s only about fifteen blocks from me, not far, but it will be the last place they live. That sentence makes my chest tighten, breathless. It’ll be half way between me and my wonderful sister and her incredibly delicious family. They keep saying it. “Its our last house.” They are still both fit and healthy, but my Dad is, and has always been, sure that he doesn’t want to linger. It’s a family thing, I agree. We’re not silly about this stuff.
The thing is, though, that I’m not ready for this ‘final stage’. It seems too soon. In my mind, I’m still twenty, unbroken, believing that if I study too hard, I’m neglecting my friends. In reality, I’ve been qualified for almost twenty years, I am beautifully broken, I still have those un-neglected friends, and more. I’m a lucky one. I’m maybe, perhaps, kind-of, an expert in my field. I have a Retirement Fund. It’s a reality I’d prefer to ignore.
But the reality is here.