That Morning Sunrise
He paused as he noticed the graffiti on the wall.
WE LONG FOR CONECTION.
Andile smiled at the obvious mistake. Yet that truth tagged on that wall resonated within.
He pushed his board ahead of him and kick flipped off the pavement. Tomorrow he was going down to Durban with his skating sponsor; PEG Boards.
He loved the trendy artistic feel to Newtown. But there was something about that beachfront in Durban that he longed for.
Over there he felt connected.
He would use the first few hours of this morning mastering his skill. The curbs and stairs and rails scattered around this transformed inner city made for an excellent training ground.
It was there that he was spotted by a local skate store owner; who asked to film his skills. That YouTube clip circulated quickly and lead to many open doors for Andile. Sponsorship and training.
After her cappuccino, Angie got up, left the money under the sugar jar and headed north along the promenade; her camera slung over her shoulder.
This was her favourite time of the day. The natural light created a beautiful ambience around the beachfront.
She was looking forward to capture another great shot of the setting sun behind the Moses Mabhida Stadium.
The massive arch that extends over the pitch; looks incredible against the backdrop of the sky filtered by the sinking sun.
When she pushed that button and snapped away Angie was at peace. She forgot about the voices inside demanding her attention.
He wondered what his name was. This question had wracked his brain a few times a day. This had been the case for over the past year. He didn’t ask anymore; how he had got here. That question was irrelevant now.
The smell he carried was more comforting than the shame he wore. A few years back; she had kicked him out. He never saw that coming. She was his everything. (She was his sunshine; as he once sang in a homegrown song he had written for her.)
Now that was a long gone memory. Certainly in her mind.
I wonder what my name is.
She had said; ‘your life is going to amount to nothing if you keep up at this rate. It’s never ever one bottle with you. You’re drinking our money away!’
He had heard her threats but didn’t pay attention to them. Then it was too late!
And now look at him. He was scraping together the coins that tourists and locals had tossed at him. His staple diet was a loaf of bread each day. And the occasional stick of glue.
What is my name?
She sat on her stoep as the evening sky pushed the daylight away. She loved her afternoon cup of tea and reading session. Mrs. May Weatherly had written a fair amount of short stories in her earlier years.
Now after many decades having rolled on; she still was in love with stories. She didn’t write anymore. Instead, each week she plowed through at least four books.
These stories and places kept her mind sharp and active.
The many characters from those pages had been constant friends. Oh how she still missed her late husband after eight years. Around his and her birthday and their anniversary she would set an extra plate at the table. Yes, that little ritual didn’t help with the healing and moving on. But she questioned why people were so obsessed with always trying to erase memories.
Mr. Weatherly had been an outdoors man. He had a huge love for wildlife especially identifying birds. He had a keen eye and could spot and correctly name a great number of species.
When he was alive at least twice a week they would make their way down to the beach to watch the sunset. It was “their little date time” and after he had passed on; May still made the effort to go at down at least once a week to Durban beachfront. The hive of activity and with the loads of people seemingly floating by; she felt safe and connected. She remembered how her husband would comment on the sensation of the soft sand sifting through their aging toes. She grinned once again at that thought.
Andile landed around 3pm in Durban. The flight had been a bit too turbulent for his liking and was stoked to be on solid ground again. That sort of flying he wasn’t a fan of. However the air he got on some of his tricks; now that was flying that really exhilarated him!
With his sponsored tee shirt on, the board bag and backpack he waited at the ‘pick up and go’ area. His driver; Moses was always on time.
Moses and Andile exchanged greetings and Andile asked if there would be time to head to the beachfront before they arrived at the hotel. Moses nodded.
The filming would be starting the next day. Andile was hoping he would catch the sunset. A sight and time of the day he always loved about those Durban trips.
Angie’s following with her WordPress blog and her Instagram account had grown rapidly over the last year. Her expression of her photography and poetry had gained a keen audience very quickly.
She like others; find solace with online community. Getting many likes and comments always made her feel appreciated. It seemed the words and pictures that she married together resonated with her followers.
But still that emptiness hung over like wearing a rain soaked coat. She was approaching thirty and no man had noticed her. And the guys she had met up before just wanted a hook up. Where were all the gentlemen? She longed to be cherished. To be appreciated for her skills and her personality.
But her life seemed like she was in a waiting room. Waiting. For way too long. But to no avail. She longed for more than just a cyber-connection.
The elderly couple walked past him and threw some coins at him. He sat parched on the pavement. He counted their pathetic offering. R3.50; what was that going to get him?
He heard the man complain to his wife, “Bloody beggars ruining the atmosphere on the beach.”
He longed to recall his name. He was more than just these ragged clothes that he wore.
What is my name? I wish someone would take time to get to know me. I am surely not all that bad.
The night was approaching quickly. He would need to head for the piers to find his shelter for the night. He hid his only blanket there. At least under there he had some protection from the chilly nights.
Tomorrow would be a new day.
The day had escaped her. May had missed her scheduled visit to the beachfront. She had blamed the latest story she had lost herself in. Blue Horizon by the famous Wilbur Smith.
She would have to go the following morning and watch the sunrise. It was only early autumn, so it wouldn’t be too cold for her.
After meeting up with his tour manager, Andile was given a filming schedule for the next day. He was given the rest of the evening off. He decided to flick across the channels. He saw that Chelsea was playing Manchester United. Definitely a good game to watch. So he sat back on the sofa and lost himself in the game.
He then browsed through the schedule for the next day. His filming only started at 9am. Perfect! He could go watch the sunrise for a change. That prospect excited him.
After going through the photos of the stadium she marveled at her new creative shots. Angie then thought to herself.
Tomorrow I should go take some sunrise pictures of the Indian Ocean.
Maybe an early morning visit to the beach would be restoring for her soul.
Those four people from very different backgrounds didn’t realize that the new day would bring something new and beautiful for each of them.
Andile; a sponsored skater.
Angie, a talented but lonely photographer.
The beggar who had forgotten his name.
May Weatherly, a widow who loves words.
Lost in their dreams. Those four lives sound asleep.
It was as if a beautiful serenity hung over the city of Durban.
If one could step outside of the atmosphere and look down upon the earth; they would understand how a night like this looked and felt. Oh starry night. All is calm.
May was awoken by the chirping of the birds in her garden.
The hotel lobbyist called Andile at 5am to wake him up. Andile was going to take a run down to the beach.
He heard the street cleaners walking up and down the promenade. He guessed it was rather early. About 05h30 in the morning.
Angie’s phone alarm set for 05h30 had started to sing to her. She had set the song: “Where the Streets have no Name” by U2 as her alarm tone. Bono’s soothing voice always inspired her! How does one ever get bored of U2?
Soon the sun would peer over the horizon. Bringing some strangers together.
The weather forecast said that the sun would rise at 06h17.
May parked her car at the North Beach parking lot. So did Angie who had arrived about twenty minutes after May.
Andile got there about 06h00. He had ran about 2km from the hotel to North beach. What a great start to the day!
After catching his breath, Andile walked towards the sea. He gazed to his left. Under the pier he saw a man shuffling around and getting up. A wave of compassion swept over him. He thought he should at least get him a coffee and greet him. He glanced backwards and noted the corner café on the promenade was already open. Typical foreign businessman; always wanting to make the extra buck!
However, this time Andile was grateful. He went in and bought two coffees.
As May headed towards the beach she noted the young lady also walking towards the sea.
They both seemed to place their feet on the sand at the same time.
She had a camera hanging from her neck.
Angie, glanced to her right noticing the old lady also at the beach at this time. The beach seemed rather busy this morning. Clearly watching the sunrise seemed like the order of the day!
They stood about fifteen metres apart. Angie looked at her watch. Six minutes to go.
May decided that she would stand closer to the young lady.
“It’s a beautiful morning!” she said out loud.
Angie turned and smiled, “Most definitely! A wonderful way to start a day.”
They introduced themselves and the conversation after that flowed so easily.
Andile approached the pier with the two cups in his hand.
He looked up and saw this young man approaching him. He tried to neaten himself up. A seemingly impossible task wearing dirty creased clothes.
He at least used his fingers to comb his hair a bit.
As Andile approached the beggar; he paused and memory caught up with him.
Wait a minute!
“Joe, is that you?”
The beggar squinted his eyes to observe this young guy who seemed to have recognized him.
“Joe Reece is that you?”
Tears streamed down his face. That’s who he was!
Andile helped Joe remember that a few years back he was his guitar teacher.
“You were so good at guitar!” Andile said.
Joe stepped forward and hugged him.
In this moment he felt connected! Andile had given him back his dignity with his own intact memory. Joe explained his recent name dilemma as the watched the sunrise together sipping on their coffee.
A little further along the beach as the sun greeted the new day; May suggest to Angie, “You would love my grandson. He is artistic too!”
Angie smiled at that thought.
That morning connections were made. Life is full of surprises!