“Goodbye Granny” I said as I got up to leave. “I’m sure I’ll see you again” I lied bravely “I’ll come visit South Africa or something”.
“Hope I’m alive when you do” she voiced my unspoken fear.
My grandmother leaves New Zealand tomorrow morning, after spending some precious months here visiting my father in Wellington. She and I spent a magical week together touring the Marlborough: the top of the South Island. We spent so many hours together in the car that we got to know each other very well. I think I learnt more about her in that week than I have in my entire life. She’s a wonderful person.
“I wish I was a man, and younger” granny confessed one sunny afternoon as I drove us swiftly between nowhere and Blenheim “because then I’d date you”. It’s a strange disclosure that speaks of a yearning for companionship that spans generations and gender. She was very remorseful that she had to delay coming up to Auckland, meaning we wouldn’t have as much time to chat as we had before.
Before I went to my cousins’ place to say goodbye one last time, I filled a memory card with a bunch of photos of our trip and the family. I inserted it into the picture frame I bought her and gave it to her with strict instructions to get people to load more pictures onto it for her.
I didn’t tell her that the memory card came from my camera, rendering it useless. Until I get a new card, my camera won’t take any more pictures. It’s kind of appropriate really, because it reflects how I feel: a part of me is leaving and I don’t think I can take any pictures at the moment either.