Scarface - Part 2
Go here for part 1.
I found myself just outside Port Alfred staying in a small cottage on a holiday farm after having spent a few days with B in East London. I’d arrived in the early afternoon and was enjoying the solitude of the bush while waiting for B to drive down after work. The African bush can be gentle and harsh, silent and loud, peaceful and hostile, and more. All at the same time. It was peaceful that day, mostly silent except for the cries of the birds in the nearby stream. The cottage, a lovely wood and corrugated iron building, perched on a rocky outcrop and had a stoep (verandah) that projected over some rocks. A thin balustrade of criss-crossed wooden slats protected one from the rocks below. As I looked out towards the distance, my started to drift and I realised that I was missing C. I hadn't seen him for over a week since leaving Cape Town. I decided to give him a ring.
I really have no idea why I decided to lie on the thin balustrade, the top of which could not have been much more than 10 cm wide, but I did. For the next 15 or so minutes, I lay there, balancing myself while talking to C on my mobile.
And then I lost my balance.
I felt myself falling towards the rocks and did my best to twist my body towards the stoep, using both legs to grab the criss-crossed slats to leverage myself away from the drop to the rocks below. It would have worked had the slats not broken. But, they did. I fell two metres on to the rocks below, bruising and scratching myself in several places.
I also gashed open my forehead.
As with the aftermath of flying off the horse, my head started to pumping out blood. By the time I’d rung C to tell him what had happened and that I’d have to continue the conversation another time, I was drenched in the stuff. Leaving a trail of blood all through the cottage, I got into the shower and stayed there until the bleeding slowed, then stopped.
Needless to say, B was a bit more than surprised to see what had happened when he arrived a couple of hours later He suggested going to the hospital as he thought I needed stitches. I did but chose not to go. In the morning my forehead looked angry and swollen and I had a very black eye. After a few days, the black eye was gone. The scar remained.
It’s still there of course but it’s ‘disguised’ by the next scar that happened on the day before the eve of the millennium.
The atmosphere in Cape Town’s de Waterkant ‘gay ghetto’ seems particularly happy and abandoned in the weeks running up to New Year and for quite a few beyond. It’s mid-summer so the days are long and the temperatures soar. Everyone seems to be on holiday and the place is full of new faces. Tanned and tipsy people crowd the bars and spill out on to the street. Music blares out from everywhere. It’s a good time of the year.
It was good that year but different. Big millennium parties were being planned while Y2K jitters abounded. I’d spent the past year on Y2K contingency planning and was more than ready to focus on the new year in a different way. I wanted it to be a blast!
I’d seen C on the Friday, the 29th and told him that I’d not be seeing him again until New Year’s Day. I changed my mind the following afternoon when M rang and convinced me that it was a good idea to go play pool at Rosie's (much less of a bears place in those days).I rang C to say that there’d been a change in plan and to get him to join us. His phone went straight to voicemail. I left a message and drove into town to meet M.
M is good at pool. Very good, actually. Apart from very rare flashes of brilliance, I’m rather mediocre at it but love playing nevertheless. The more I drink and lose, the more competitive I get, hoping against all odds that I’ll have a winning streak. We played for hours that afternoon, mostly just against each other but sometimes against others. I rang C several times but I still got his voicemail. Each time I went to the bar for more drinks, I found myself staying there longer, talking to E, the very sexy barman. I may have been drunk but I noticed that his fingers lingered on mine longer than necessary each time I got another drink. By the time C returned the call it was past midnight. By that time I knew that I had to spend the night with E.
‘Sorry I missed your call, ‘he said, ‘are you still at Rosie's?’
‘Yes, still here. I’m rather drunk now,’ I replied.
‘Oh, I see.’ He sounded slightly annoyed. ‘Come to my place when you’re finished.’
‘I think I’d better not. I’ve still got a game to finish and it’s really late and I’ve had too much to drink.’
‘Come on, you don’t have to stay long,’ he said.
‘Not so sure about that, I’ll see. Speak to you later,’
In the next hour, I stopped playing and spent most of the time at the bar with E. Eventually M decided to go home. As people drifted off to the clubs, the place thinned out. E asked me to wait until he could get off. I agreed. In the meantime, my phone kept getting messages and calls from C. I replied to the first few messages but then began to ignore them. By the time E joined me outside for a drink, I’d switched it off.
I don’t think we finished our drinks before we decided to go. As soon as we got into my car, our hands were all over each other. Had it not been for the streetlights and the smallish crowd still standing outside Manhattans, we’d probably have had sex there and then. I slowly pulled away from E, removing my hand from his crotch so that I could get the key into the ignition.
The loud thump on the roof of the car and the appearance of C screaming at my window were almost simultaneous. C doesn’t have a car so his being there was totally unexpected. It was also totally unwelcome. Before I had time to react, he’d kicked in my window, covering us with a shower of shards.
‘You fucking bastard, you fucking cunt! You’ve fucked up my life!’ he bellowed.
A piece of glass had lodged itself into my forehead. I felt the familiar feel of blood gushing out of my head. As the hot blood pumped out of my head, I felt a surge of iciness spread through my veins. Suddenly, I was incredibly sober. And incredibly angry.
E left the car without a word and was immediately replaced by a screaming C.
‘Cunt, you fucking cunt!’
At first a screaming match developed and then my iciness took hold and I said, calmly and deliberately, ‘It’s over.’ All the while, the blood was covering my face and drenching my shirt.
I thought of driving off, leaving him there and never seeing him again but I needed to clear up the blood before I went home. While I drove to his flat, I discovered that he’d caught a taxi to find out what I was up to. He’d seen me in the car with someone and he’d seen me lean forwards as if I were about to drive off. That is when he’d sprinted towards the car and, taking a flying leap, he’d landed on top of the roof. It was horribly dented even though I’d tried to push it up and outwards before driving off. By the time we reached his place he was pleading with me not to leave him. I’d lapsed into a stony, angry silence by then.
We went upstairs and I got into his shower. After a few minutes, he got in with me and started stroking my face. Even as the water cascaded over his face, I could see his tears. He started sobbing.
‘Alan, I’m so sorry. Please forgive me.’
Even though I was consumed with anger, I could understand why he’d reacted like he’d had. So many thoughts rushed through my mind but I knew that I didn’t want to see him ever again. As understandable as his reaction was, that sort of behaviour was totally unacceptable. He slid down to the floor, looking up at me in despair as the bloody water swirled around him. His hands were on my thighs.
I could feel myself getting aroused.
‘No, no, I can’t do that!’ I thought. That would be totally wrong. So totally wrong! I quickly got out of the shower, dried myself and got dressed. Five minutes later, I was driving home.
Since then, I’ve only had one other major mishap with my head - it was bloody, very bloody, but it didn’t leave me with any more scars. And although my head is tender and slightly swollen at the moment, whatever happened to my head this past weekend doesn’t count – there’ll be no sign of it in a few day’s time.
Go here for part 3.