(Anecdotes of a true love story narrated within 12 months of the year,
A signature perfume, whose ingredients are hidden within those12 paragraphs)
When was it, that we couldn’t wait for the end of the lesson to leave the class room?, I mean, what season ? I am striving to remember, oh yes, the vendors in front of the campus door would sell the callades then, that month of the year! April isn’t it? Indeed! The birth date in my grandmother’s identity is 1917, but in those days they didn’t use to take records of month of the birth in Creta, nor the day, they wouldn”t need birthdays at that time perhaps ,who knows, on her ID it just says “1917, as fresh broad bean spouts come out” literarry, this sentence is written in there, by hand, but which month was it?, April must be, but I mean by its former name: “Mmesa” , yes…that’s April! by its ancient name.
When was it, I cannot say by heart when the May wisterias fade, in which month of the year they surrender their colors from butter lila to bees wax beige, in July may be? hence “Phuapa” by its ancient name isn’t it, that was the month as we went to the summer school to take the classes that we couldn’t succeed within the school year
When were branches loaded by lilacs? Which month? Do you remember how I used to go check their smells at the lilac tree left behind the garden door of my grandma’s house, so that I wouldn’t confuse them with red bud, it was in June, I am sure, Phuptjane by its old name. I was that time, as our muscles cramped due to cold as we hurled ourselves racing into icy waters from sandy white beaches of Erythrai, where we picked up and ate the cactus fruits in the sunsets on the shore, as we used to pull out the army of fine hairy cactus thorns from each other’s hands, which would cover our fingers like a herd of ants.
Tell me, when was it , one morning you woke me up by shaking me, “look” you said pointing at the window, showing the red cherries gushing from the branches, popped out between the green leaves, right 3 months after the piles of fallen pale pink cherry blossoms on the side walks were blown away by wind, which month was it , August yes, Phato, by its ancient name right? then the following day, as you got high fever, and the refrigerator could barely come up with enough ice cubes to put on your forehead, while I was looking after you for 3 days and 3 nights in a row.
What month was that, as your mother and brother were still staying in your summer house, but we chose to stay at home downtown, where we were making love in the living room the entire afternoon, should be September right?, formerly called Loetse, it was then, as we fell asleep in each other’s sweat on the sofa, listening to lullabies that your aged window shutters sang, clickered by the sunset breeze so peacefully, that the seagulls on your roof got jealous and feverantly disturbed with their shrieks that serene rattling of the window blinds.
What month did the iris flowers in your backyard take their roots out of the soil and lean onto the damp courtyard wall plastered with lime, must be October I guess, Mphalane by its ancient name,where we took each other’s photos while trampling around in the high city park, by kicking and passing through the knee high heap of fallen orange oak leaves on the ground.
Which month was it, as we ordered a cake with blue cheese cream, fresh fig and caramel liqueur glaze from our corner bakery for your brother’s birthday party, November off course, Pulungoana by its former name.Before going to the movie , we took the woolen sweaters out of the shelves, bagged in with mothballs over the summer, to air them up on our backside balcony, surrounded by the smell of chimney smoke and dried fallen poplar leaves, soaked with rain water puddling on our stoop floor.
So, when did the violet-purple mushrooms sprout among the sycamore roots across the street, what month was it,hmm? , December, yes, December, so formerly called Tšitoe, we couldn’t get enough of listening to the song “oh December , you ,the biggest loneliest Planet you” while we were dancing in our porch anxious of startling the flickering candles. And it was then, in that month, when I beat you in our origami competition by folding the smokey gilded papers into the shapes of geometric cats, cranes and penguins , right on that deer pelt by the fireplace, that we were lying on , smirking proudly to the fir tree we decorated for new year’s eve.
It was like the first snow drift of January ,spurting out of our garden pump, envying the stubborn, concessionless galbanum bushes riveting their million forked roots into the ice crusted earth of our courtyard. Oh the calm and subdued January, as they formerly called you: Pherekhong. It was then, as we went to lecture hall together for the final exams. We used to make this contest between us two, that who would step on more intact snows on the road along to the class building,by running to catch the exam on time, since the campus ring buses were cancelled due to the heavy snowfall, where we were betting on who would hear the smells of the coal smoke from chimneys first , competing to get ahead of each other while racing on snow covered sidewalks.
Which month was it, as we were fascinated by that brutal frosty in the air, while watching the scarlet reflecting steep hills due to the iron ore in the earth, glowing as if mortared with incandescent ruby lava while the sun tangented back to the horizon, where we enviously watching the curly horned Angora goats gnawing at the exposed root tassels of the rock bushes from the bottom of the cliff edges .It was the February wind right?, which pierced our cheeks like a frostbite harpoon, definitely February it was, Hlakola, as called earlier. It was then, as we got enchanted by the oaths that those goats bleated all together almost with human voice to salute the volcano effulgent sunset, whose horns withered and twisted, as if warped by saltpeter acid seeped from the ruddy stones of those chasms blushed by the erubescent sundown.
Which month’s bone freezing damp breeze was it , can’t be anything but March right?, as formerly called: Hlakubele, just like in that scary nursery rhyme:
Sun of March with silver wreath
freezes up the old maid dead
It was then, in pure sorrow, as we could do nothing but watch the old <raven black> stallion lying on the ground, where his right hind leg seem aching while moving, his ebony black hair shimmering at each movement by agony under the cold fade abandonig March sun, as if even the sun turned his back to us, and that was all the shine and heat we could get and hope from him….in March.
(this following text is never written, only briskly thought of :Then look, it’s been exactly a year, isn’t it.Four seasons have already lurched out their cycle, and April has come again, with its former name Mmesa…..but not the expected April no, I mean not the upcoming one no , that one never came by, as you know, well intended fur sure, just to spare us the slough we had been through, to the contrary, the previous April, in which our story began, that past Mmesa has come back again, as said in its ancient South Sothian language)