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Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Pawning Pearl - Part 37

Pearl was sure somehow, somewhere she had misread the rules to life; somehow she had missed some step that people take to "get it right". She had been tossed and tumbled like flotsam in a cyclone: she had been shipped from her home and delivered to a stranger; she had been rescued and fallen in love with a man, with children, with life. Little reclusive bookish Pearl had woken up to the big world and discovered she was alive, desirable, desired and beloved.

If Pearl had ever owned up to sneak-reading her Aunt Gwendolyn's stack of dog-eared Mill's& Boon's romances she would have declared herself as a true believer in what she had once though to be no more than rose-coloured fantasy.

She though of herself in her Dior gown, sweeping the ostrich feathers off her shoulders, and the way Simon's eyes had lit up; of herself on the arm of the dashing international celebrity in her shimmering scarlet gown, the antique garnets heating her throat...

And then she thought of sitting hand in hand with Simon in that doctor's office. The agony of the waiting, and the realization that this was it. Real life. Not black velvety orchids or moonlight horse-rides, or violin serenades. This man by her side: sometimes clumsy but always sincere and kind, as lost and awkward as she in this confusing labyrinth of life.

She had her brief taste of the dizzy and the dazzling, now she had to do what she had always done, pick up the burden of duty and forge ahead. This time the burden was feather light, as sweet as it was agonizing; poignant, and painful and joyous.

"Well Pearl, my girl, what it is is love! When you love it always hurts. It hurts when it goes right, and it hurts when it goes wrong. It just means you are feeling, that's all."

Pearl smiled to herself as she remembered Mrs. Markovitch's firm refusal of her despair. "We take that apple and scrape out the worm; we eat the part that's sweet, and spit out the rest. You'll be ok Pearl, you'll pass this test, and the next, and the next. You'll survive. It's what we women do best"

She must act: action, not contemplation had always been her salvation; and she had plenty of work to do. She had Isaiah to raise, Thalie to nurture, Simon to tame.

At the though of him a smile curved her lips. What did Mrs. Markovitch call him "hunk of chocolate" - and Mrs. Markovitch had never glimpsed Simon coming out of the bathroom with just a towel around his hips, gleaming from the shower, trickles of water running down that wide chest with those little peppercorns of crisp hair...

"You are a lustful, shallow woman, Pearl," she said to herself as she selected a shopping cart at the doors of her favorite supermarket, "And it's WONDERFUL!"


***

A few hours later she was back at the apartment unpacking the groceries with the children, mediating the squabble over who put away the ice-cream.



Tonight after dinner, she would call the family together for a meeting. Explain the situation to Thalie and Isaiah; pass on the nutritionist's advice to Simon.

An inkling of an idea was stirring...
Something Heather Umlozi had said about the special needs of HIV-infected children. Simon had said they would be moving to the penthouse, which would leave this fine apartment empty, and just plain wasted.

She remembered the small group Heather Umlozi had pointed out to her on her way out of the Clinic. Four children -AIDs orphans - the oldest fifteen, who were living on the streets, coping heroically with every disadvantage and the deadly disease afflicting the yougest three. Hardened street-children, who survived by stealing and selling themselves, and had somehow, forged a loving, supportive family. She would speak to Simon. After all, the apartment would be standing empty and he was such a generous man!

Humming happily, Pearl shooed the two children out and started to make dinner. Chicken and spaghetti and a chocolate cake to follow. Meanwhile, she prepared Thalie and Isaiah a mid-afternoon snack: a green apple sliced thin with some orange cheese, and two bowls of full-cream ice-cream with nuts sprinkled on the top. Extra fat, extra calories! Isaiah was whip-thin, and Thalie needed that extra energy to fight the parasitical monster lurking in her blood.


TO BE CONTINUED

MC

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