Jenni spent two more days with her parents who spoiled her with late lie-ins and cups of sweet tea in bed but she couldn’t spare any more days off work. As it was she was responding to work messages on her phone while her mum tut-tutted in the background about her not getting a proper break.
Her Dad’s aftershave and laundered shirt smell lingered in her nose as she had hugged him goodbye at the airport. ‘When you get round to it, if you need help choosing a new car let me know.’ He’d said to her with an earnest look.
Through the aircraft window she watched as cloud topped Table Mountain and the glinting ocean that surrounded it gradually gave way to the green rocky peaks of the Overberg and then on to the barren dryness of the Karoo. She loved the views of this vast country but was grateful she didn’t have to make the journey back home by car. She would have needed at least another 14 hours for that. However, in just under two hours later the plane PA system announced their imminent arrival in Johannesburg. She glanced out of the aircraft window and as they circled the smoggy skyline, a combination of the smoke from a vast metropolis surrounded by the dust of dry Highveld. The sun was setting so the horizon appeared to have caught alight. Underneath she could make out the various landmarks of the biggest city in Southern Africa. The suburbs were largely hidden by a green carpet of trees, being the greenest city too. A myriad of swimming pools in the back gardens of the homes beneath glinted the reflection of the sky back up at her.
Nicole greeted her in arrivals with a friendly hug. ‘Howzit Jen, how was Cape Town, and your folks, did you send them my love?’
Jenni’s eyes widened as she spotted Angus over Nicole’s shoulder.
‘Oh hello’, she said.
‘Hi’, he smiled back
Nicole continued, ‘Angus offered to drive to fetch you. Barm Brack lost one of his shoes so Angus was checking his foot for a possible infection and when I told him I was coming to pick you up he offered to bring me.’
‘Not a good idea for a woman to be driving around this city on her own at night.’ Angus looked at Jenni.
‘Well my dad did offer too but your company is always welcome,’ Nicole smiled up at him and looped her arm through his. ‘Anyway, Jen, we were thinking of going for a pizza at Mimmo’s in Rosebank on the way to dropping you home, it’s their Tuesday night Two-for-One special - that sound ok with you?’
‘Ja sure, sounds good’. She shot an enquiring look at her friend, arching her eyebrow in Angus’s direction but Nicole merely smiled broadly in response.
During the forty minute drive the girls chatted eagerly, Jenni filled in her friend on her family news and told her all about her embarrassing introduction to Rose as well as the wedding plans. ‘I suppose we must be boring you, Angus’, Jenni said after a bit.
‘Oh no, not at all, sounds like you have a lovely family, would love to meet them!’
‘You know my family fairly well by now’, Nicole mused.
‘Do you only work with horses Angus, or do you also have cats and dogs coming to your practice?’ Jenni’s voice caught a little and trailed off on the last bit of her question so that she had to look in her bag for a tissue.
‘I’m sorry to hear about your dog Jenni,’ Angus replied, Nicole told me all about it on the way earlier.’
‘Thanks,’ Jenni’s voice was muffled as she blew her nose loudly.
He continued trying to ease off the subject, ‘I do occasionally have small animals coming in but my practice specializes in horses. At the moment I’m getting into research at Unisa in Pretoria on wildlife veterinary practice though, rhino in particular, as they are closest to horses in terms of treatment’.
‘Oh that’s fascinating’, breathed Nicole, then she added with a worried note, ‘Why are you looking at treating rhino when there’s not a lot of them in Midrand? You&rs...