I can’t believe it’s been over a week since I last saw Lutho. Each day last week I expected him to buzz at the gate or even just appear at the door. Robert says I’ve become like a neurotic mother waiting for her son to come home after he moved to another province for his first job. I have to let him go.
It’s been very quiet at the counselling centre so far but Mondays are seldom busy. I suspect that the members of the church who come to Sunday services get enough of a spiritual injection to last them till about Wednesday.
I didn’t go to visit Peter’s grave yesterday. I am going to wait until I have the perfect gift give him. Instead, Robert and I went for a walk on the Melville Koppies. Jasper came too and had a tremendous time snuffling at the interesting clues to the diverse animal life. He would have loved to go off on little doggy excursions but I thought it safest to keep him on the leash.
After our hike we went to Robert’s house for a makeshift lunch of fresh rolls and ham which we bought on the way. Jasper had to stay outside because Robert has two cats. My dog was not a bit impressed with the arrangement and I did think the Siamese draped over the couch had a smirk on its face.
When I saw the ship in a bottle, I immediately knew I had found the perfect gift.
“That is beautiful,” I said. “Did you make it?”
Robert laughed. “As much as I’d like to take credit for it, it would not be the honourable thing to do.” His eyes twinkled. “It was made by a prisoner in Leeukop prison. He has plenty of time on his hands and he uses it to make these ships. He earns a pretty penny for them too.”
“That’s just the thing I need for Peter’s grave,” I said, cradling it in my hands and turning it around to see all the details. The craftmanship was exquisite. The ship had three sails and each was equipped with the proper rigging and ropes, coiled and hanked just like those of real ships’.
“Do you think he would take orders? It’s exactly the sort of thing I’d like to put on Peter’s grave, now that he has outgrown Beatrix Potter figures.”
He laughed. “Beatrix Potter figures?” He put on a good imitation of an incredulous look.
“Well, it started with Peter Rabbit. His namesake, you know. I had decorated the nursery with a Peter Rabbit border around the room.” I wiped a stray tear off my cheek.
“Sorry to tease you, Kaye. What sort of boat did you have in mind.” He looked repentant.
“I used to sail on a dingy called a Fireball. Actually, I was the crew. It wasn’t my boat but I thought it would be something of me on my son’s grave and not only the perfection of his father.”
“I’m sure Patrick would be only too excited to have a commission. If you make a sketch of the boat, I will visit Patrick and ask if he could do it and how much he would charge.”
“Shall I come with you?”
He hesitated. “I don’t think so, Kaye. Leeukop prison is not the place for a woman.”
I felt like complaining that women were just as good as men and I wasn’t afraid but one look at his serious determined face gave me pause.
So now I sit in the counselling centre, searching the internet for pictures of Fireballs. I first tried drawing a boat from memory but my artistic skills leave much to be desired and, having seen some photos, my memory for details is also less than amazing.
I find the perfect picture. It shows three Fireballs with red Spinnakers billowing and the captain and crew attached to the harnesses and leaning far over the side, almost bouncing on the water. I wonder if the incarcerated craftsman can make the spinnaker billow. Sugar water would do it but then a stiff sail won’t fit through the neck of the bottle.
There is no printer in the counselling office so I save the Fireball picture to my memory stick...