I know what you’re thinking . . . this is going to be a heart-warming story about someone overcoming suffering or prejudice, or both, with some celebration of the human spirit and a happy ending, leaving the reader feeling warm and fuzzy and slightly tearful. Unfortunately, I must disappoint.
I used to be someone who could write something like that. But then my life changed.
I have always been shallow, no really, people think I’m deep but I’m not. I have very simple needs. I am generally very easy to please and I have a very short attention span, so I don’t stay angry for long because I simply forget why I was angry in the first place. Add to that a memory that more befits someone much, much older, and you’ve got a happy, easy-going person who smiles and waves at everybody I walk or drive past, purely because I’m afraid I might insult someone I know or have met, by not recognising or remembering them.
Ever since moving to the coast in January this year, my life has become even simpler and more uncomplicated. I fill my days with long walks on the beach with my dog, cooking for my family, reading, crocheting, some light proofreading, attending a fitness class 3 days a week, and going to a bible study group once a week. That’s it. Oh, and drinking wine with friends, of course. Very, very busy life.
So, after really digging deep, I decided to tell you about the time the sharpest knife in the drawer (literally), fell from the kitchen counter. Let me set the scene . . .
My elderly parents are visiting us, and my mom and I are baking vetkoek in the tiny kitchen of the house we are renting until we can build our dream house. Ouma stirs the mince that inevitably goes with vetkoek and I am baking the calorie bombs in oil to golden perfection. It’s a tight squeeze, cooking side by side, since we are both big-boned women (If you must blame something, blame the bones). Oupa is reading in the adjacent living room, Brie, the 7-month-old Golden Retriever, is for once lying peacefully nearby, chewing something that I just don’t have the nerve to examine. My 16-year-old daughter Katinka is setting the table for dinner.
A picture of domestic bliss. . .
The next moment, my biggest stainless-steel knife with the sharpest point – I used it to cut the dough – falls from the kitchen counter and lands point-down in the soft flesh between my third and fourth toe, pinning my foot to my flip-flop. Pandemonium breaks loose! Before you can say VETKOEK, blood pools around my foot. I stare dumbstruck at the growing pool of life that drains from my body. Ouma freezes horrified with the spatula in her hand. Brie smells blood and goes ballistic, trying to lick it up, the vetkoek and mince start burning simultaneously. Katinka grabs kitchen towels to mop up the blood but the towels stick to my foot. Oupa with his cane wants to help but with three people and a crazy dog in the small space, there is no room to move.
And then everybody wakes up. Ouma grabs my slotted spoon and saves the vetkoek and mince just in time. Oupa leads me to a chair, with a blood trail behind me that Brie promptly takes care of. Katinka brings a plastic bucket to rinse my foot so we can assess the damage.
It turns out a tiny 1cm cut can bleed like hell. Although it is deep and painful, it looks almost ridiculous after all the fuss. After Oupa applied some gauze and a plaster, we all sit down gratefully to vetkoek and mince.
A picture of domestic bliss. . .