Bench of Chance

A cold breeze and a slight shiver
noticing a smiling eye glancing her way
The thought of his kiss makes her lip quiver
Final page in her book; Closed, but should she stay?

He smiles at her uncertainty of choice,
the enters her presence with voice.
An audible greeting returned by a gesture.
So starts a relationship to fester

Conversation starts to fill the silence
a friendly chuckle makes him feel at ease
the reassuring slight touch makes her feel at peace
A passerby wonders if it’s love he senses…

Time passes as they get lost in words
the curiosity of their chance meeting
Together they decide to challenge fate!
Sharing a fond farewell they left unsure…


I want to breathe in the light that you shine
I want to breathe it, and become as divine
Divine as you are when you hand out your smile
as divine as when your grace rest upon the while.

Let me breath in your sorrows so your eyes keep their shine
Let me lay you down on flowers each time
Let me show you my love while my hand brush your cheek
and allow me to show the words I can’t speak…

Love Potion No.9.

Is Zoe truly in love or is she under a magical spell!

“Twenty one years old and never had a proper boyfriend” cried Bonelo in amazement. Zoe’s cheeks flushed bright red. “Well I wouldn’t say never, said Zoe trying to hide her embarrassment.
Zoe was 21 years old and still very inexperienced. All her life she shied away from people and had her head stuck in romantic novels. Later in life she took to desert books, after discovering her passion for pastries and delectable deserts. The patisserie course enhanced her natural talent. As a professional patisserie she was responsible for the amazing creations at La Luna. Melt in your mouth buttery croissants and pear tartain. Coeur ala crème with caramelized strawberries and towering croquembouches.
“Maybe it’s time to get out of my shell and explore a bit” she thought out loud. The right guy has never come along. Bonelo rolled her eyes and sighed. “Stuck up, arrogant Zoe, that’s what, guys thought of her” said Bonelo quietly.
Zoe concentrated on the mousse au chocolat that she was preparing for the Valentine’s Day lunch special at La Luna. She was the pastry chef at the quaint little coffee shop on the Esplanade in Durban.
Max & Miller was the law firm that occupied the space above the coffee shop. The stuffed suits, Bonelo named the lawyers. Black suited lawyers visited the coffee shop regularly for their dose of caffeine before burying their head in their law books.
Zoe thought of herself as a plain Jane. An ugly duckling that never became the swan. But she does show promise. An Indian beauty hidden under the façade of haughtiness. With a little help of make-up and a wardrobe change, besides the unflattering chef’s uniform, she could be really beautiful.

She checked her profile in the mirror before the lunch hour rush. It was force of habit making sure that she was presentable before serving the customers. She touched up her eye with some black eyeliner. Zoe was a simple, ordinary girl with the most devastating eyes you have ever seen.
“I’ll kill for eyes like yours” Bonelo often said. Those eyes could melt a million hearts. Zoe did not realize the power they had. Those hazel eyes with specs of green would make any guy swoon over her but she never used them to her full advantage.

The coffee shop was extremely busy on Valentine’s Day and Zoe’s mousse au chocolat with strawberry coulis was a smashing hit. “Must say, the stuffed suits really enjoyed the choc mousse grunted Bonelo. “ R6500, for the day’s takings is pretty good.”

“Zoe!” screeched Bonelo, like a crazy women. “What’s up!” said Zoe blowing a small fuse. “Come here immediately” she said excitedly. “Delivery for Miss Zoe.” She was flabbergasted. She was not expecting anything thing let alone a dozen red roses for Valentine’s Day. “Hand it over” Bonelo grabbed the bouquet and the card attached. To the women with the most mesmerizing eyes! Wow! warned you about those eyes.” She said, clutching the card close to her heart. “I wonder who it is,” Zoe said deep in thought.

Zoe was certainly surprised. “Roses on Valentine’s Day just for me.” She was more curious than excited. She hated secrets and surprises and this was going to eat at her until she found out who it was. If I know who it is then I know who I must stay away from, she thought, popping a chocolate truffle in her mouth in a blasé manner.
Little notes were on the stoep of the coffee every day since Valentine’s Day. One liner poems that made her heart skip beats. She secretly slipped them into her handbag and read them at home over and over again. “My heart beats a rhythm only for you, how do I love thee let me count the ways, shall I compare thee to a summers day. Love is like a rose a red red rose. My heart in my hand I offer it to you”.
This man certainly knew the way to Zoe’s heart. She waited for the poems daily with an excitement she only knew. As much as she loved Bonelo, she certainly could not be trusted. Everyone in the coffee shop would find out about Zoe’s little love poems and she would be the talk of the town.

Zoe is a very private person. She rarely ever showed anyone her feelings or desires. It came out more expressively in the delicious desserts and pastries her prepared. It was a reflection of her emotions. Beautiful, delicate, artistic and highly edible. No one truly knew her. She closed everyone out. If she ever let you in it meant that you could be trusted and were very, very special. People often thought of her as been difficult but trust had to be earned and she certainly made people work to earn her trust. She loved poetry since a young age. A simple poem could make her shed tears but she shed tears, only in solitude. Her privacy was precious and she was always in control of her emotions.

She imagined falling in love many times. It was not the Mills and Boon type of love affair. She was mature beyond her age and love had a deeper meaning to her. It was utter trust and unconditional love, warts and all.
“Hey Zoe what’s up? Is something the matter?” Bonelo wondered about the change in her. She’s been trying to conceal it but those bits of extra sparkle in those hazel eyes were unmistakable.

She has been meeting her secret admirer. She left work early one Friday. He knew her so she did not need to make much of an impression but she still wanted to be pleasing. He’s only seen her in the chef’s uniform. Sweaty and smelling of cinnamon or some other exotic spice. She picked out a lavender summer dress that accentuated her womanly figure. She kept make- up to a minimum. Just a dash of gold eye shadow that made her eyes stand out. Yardley sienna lipstick. A touch of water proof mascara and some foundation cream to matt her olive skin.

Stars sparkled like diamonds in the night. The moon illuminated the night sky which gave it an indigo hue. She walked to the life guard station across milky lane. She watched him from afar. .He slowly turned around as he saw her walking towards him. Smiling, eyes sparkling with anticipation. Yellow rose in his hand just like he said in his text message.
He smiled lovingly and took her hand in his. Her heart raced like a river after a torrential storm. She was both nervous and excited at the same time. A warm sea breeze blew through her long black hair. He gently tucked the loose tendril behind her ear. Sensations ravaged her body and she breathing became raspy. That simple gesture was overwhelming to her.

He was everything she expected but even more. It felt as if they have known each other all their lives. The world around her changed. Everything looked different. It amazed her, how being in love changed her perspective of life in general. Everything had a new meaning. A simple sunset had an allure of romance. The colours of blue, orange and pink on the horizon created an exotic atmosphere for lovers everywhere.
Nothing could spoil her good mood these days. Even when Nikiwe burnt the caramel sauce for the crème caramels they were preparing for the Max & Miller awards function. Nikiwe looked like she was going to sob uncontrollably “Do it over, instructed Zoe “and be extra careful this time.” Nikiwe gave Bonelo a quizzical look combined with a huge sigh of relief. Bonelo just shrugged her shoulders. . “Whatever she’s on make sure she keeps the prescription filled at all times” said a dazed Nikiwe

“Girl, are you humming that song from Aashiqui 2, that Bollywood movie you lent me. This is so unlike you. I have, well, we all have noticed that you have not been yourself lately. We’ve got to talk .What’s up, what’s going on with you girl?
If I tell you, do you promise not to breathe word of it to anyone? Cross your heart and hope to die.
Cross my heart promised Bonelo
Well, I met him,
Met who? asked Bonelo.
Him, Mr. Red roses, Mr. Right said Zoe dreamily.
What, where and when? Bonelo demanded answers to her questions.
Two months ago.
And you kept it from me all along.
How could you?
He’s fantastic, he gets me and I can trust him.
How often do you see each other?
That’s complicated. Mostly week days after work and weekends if he gets a break
A break from what asked Bonelo
From his wife said Zoe sheepishly
Bonelo eyes popped and her jaw dropped she was bowled over. I can’t believe it. It’s not like you
Zoe! You’ve got to end this asap. You will only get hurt and imagine if his wife finds out.
My gosh! He is much older than you.
Twenty years older than me whispered Zoe.
You’ve got yourself a sugar daddy. What is his agenda?
He doesn’t have one said a frustrated Zoe, already regretting confiding in Bonelo
Zoe hated been questioned by anyone let alone her best friend Bonelo.
Of all people she should understand after all she has been there, done that and got the t shirt.
Gosh Zoe, sometimes you can be so doff. He must have an agenda all men have one.
Remember, I have been there. Married men never leave their wives.
What is missing in his home life?
I don’t know, we don’t talk about it and I’d rather not go there.
“Listen, Bonelo. I’ve tried to end it but I can’t. He is an addiction; I wait every morning for the sun to rise so that I can see him or hear his voice or just received a text message. Nobody gets me like him. I have tried to end it a thousand times. I just can’t my heart won’t allow it. I don’t have the freedom of flaunting my love to the world. I often ask myself why me, why did I have to fall in love with a married man”

Bonelo was dazed. She learnt more about Zoe than she’s learnt in two years that they have been friends. She poured out her heart to Bonelo. She needed to vent her feelings. To talk it over with a friend. She carried a heavy burden and the guilt was agonizing.
Bonelo understood what Zoe meant. She’s had friendly chats with him a few times when he has come over for morning coffee and the daily newspaper. He has a charisma about him and a laugh that sounded genuinely charming and magnetic. Women were attracted to him.
He looked at Zoe with a genuine adoration and fondness. But, he knew his story and the reasons for having the affair. As much as Bonelo tried to discourage Zoe from continuing with the affair she understood her friend. This secret, she will carry to her grave.
She was intoxicated by his love and the exhilarating feelings that came along with it. She is a passionate women and he reveled with ardent desire. He brought out a hunger in her that she never knew existed. His kiss, his touch, sent shockwaves through her body. She was attracted to his mind, body and soul. She was a wanderlust searching for the missing piece of the puzzle until she met him. He eased that restless spirit and ceased the wanderlust in her.
She made up her mind that instant. Whatever the consequences, whatever the future may bring he is, her here and now. Her moment in the sun. She decided to love even if it means loving only once in her life time. She twisted the emerald ring on her finger. “A token of my love” Raj said when he slipped the ring on to her finger. Life, love and people are strange. We give so much of ourselves in the most unexpected ways.

Death within a dream

Because wind timorous of silence, and
Light snivels for the dark,
We bear time impedes.
Half peeked colors painting the blue,
Or half full moon missing mere hue.
When detest and care entwine to haze, or
Sky arrests the soul and beauty dies in flash.
When shadows hide in the dark and tears dry in eye,
Blue in eye I will see. But before you,
fair summer timid to show her brow,
And meager bloom veils in tired earth. Or
Perhaps all is but a dream in a dream within a dream.

We invented love

me you two; we invented love
we were the first; we invented love.
before they entwined it with lust and made it rust
before they fell easy and made it clumsy.

We named it love it graced as dove
before they made it cliché, they made it curse and burst
before they made it weary, and made it bleed.

me, you two; we invented love.
I loved you so… I kissed you so
Before they sold her in the streets and made her old
before they gave it cost and made it lost

You me two; we invented love
but now my love… how can I be proud?

The Last Romantic

Our second date, was there a diminutive feasibility that today would be as enchanting and delightful as that magical day before? But there was nothing in the laws of physics that denied me repeated marvelty, for I have always believed the same laws which keep the planets in their orb are not dissimilar to those which govern and swivel our hearts.

I waited anxiously for her call, akin to a boy just before Christmas
“A few minutes now,” I muttered to myself as I starred at the clock on the wall, which took its precious time to arrive at 4p.m, procrastinating to reach there as if 4 was its fearsome foe… my eyes alternated between my mobile and that clock on the wall. My hair was tremendously combed and my breath was fresh. She had told me she would call, and I believed she would call.

Only in dreams do those creepy arms of the clock not reach 4, but this, although it felt so much like one, was no dream. It was 4p.m; finally, I would see that rare beauty that only lives in a handful. But my mother always warned me how too much excitement always ended in rivers of tears, how could I have forgotten this; my basic teachings? Those creepy hands on the clock ticked and tocked, ticked and tocked and the sun went down.

I stared at the falling sun by the window in my lonesome dark flat, perhaps something happened I thought to myself, but worse still; perhaps nothing happened.

Strange was how I felt, but even more stranger than this was the mere fact that I had only seen and known her for two days, but I was certain of it, just as I am certain that there lies beauty in the world, that I was madly and undeniably in love with her. My theory was, when we were being conceived, God was creating her lips, so sugary so pleasant with mine in mind… just perfect for these lips of mine, so when we kissed even stones would cry. This theory that he was fashioning her heart with mine in mind, so when we met to touch… our hearts would beat and make music as flute.

It was evening now, still she had not called… my senseless ego and Manish pride prohibited me from calling her, but I owed it to myself and the one that beats within me to have the courage to my own romantic convictions. I hanged up a few times before I ultimately gained the strength and valor to let it ring.

Her silky voice answered at the other end.

“I wanted to call, I so desperately did” she said to me

“Then why didn’t you?” I questioned her

“You-” she breathed heavily “you wouldn’t understand,”

“Then make me understand, Fiona… what’s going on?” She paused for awhile, than proceeded to say

“It was all a dream… a beautiful dream, but a dream nonetheless.” She was crying when she said this, I’m sure of it, there is something about a cry which you cannot miss. Before I could speak, I heard a voice of another, than the call was abruptly ended.

I had hopes that calling would provide me with the answers I so desperately seek, in order to grasp and comprehend this elusive matter of the heart, but all calling provided, was a stream of questions which bombarded my already troubled head.

These questions took me back to the first time I ever set eyes on her, a few days back.

The day began like any other day when something spectacular transpires – as if nothing would ensue – I was sitting by the Arcadia park observing the world, a writers curse, the wind swayed from east to west, east to west… and than she came. Blind men must have seen her that day for a sight of an angel walking on earth was exceptionally hard to miss, an angel which walked and breathed like us.

She was slender tall, like August fall. Her hair was dark and long and her race was mixed.

If only I alone possessed the gift to see angels, but everyone around me was as enchanted and captivated as I was. As she walked in her high heels she had that nameless feeling which leads men to flaunt as peacocks and make fools of themselves. She sat a few feet away from me; on that opposite swing. She would, swing, swing and listen to music. Swing, swing and look at blue sky.

I admired how liberated and free she was. The flaunting peacocks came one after the other. Those who thought were smooth-talkers, went back clumsy. Smooth-walkers came back staggering like old man. Man after man came with smiles on their faces but sadness, when they left.

When finally I glanced at her, I found her staring at me. Sideways I looked there was no-one there. She smiled. Roses instantly bloomed. I hesitated, to conversate, as I knew she burnt more than raging flames… I wished not to stagger like old man.

But, if my ears would not have heard the sound of her voice that day, irrespective of the nature of those words, I would have regretted it for all time coming, I knew this.
Like a brave little soldier I stood up and slowly walked towards her. I reached, she stopped… smiled again, violets bloomed.
“How are you, my dear” I asked, as she took off her headphones

“I am well” she said in a welcoming tone

“Do you have time?” while looking deep in her sea blue eyes, when she glanced at her watch, I interrupted

“Well Ms. I meant do you have a lil time… to spend with me?”

She blushed, I sat next to her. We conversated for hours, as if I knew her for years, but feeling as if not, a second had passed.

When it finally came time for her to leave, I asked her
“Can I see you once more… this coming Saturday” It was a Thursday that day
“What are you doing tomorrow” she asked “Cos I would love to see you tomorrow and Saturday” She stood up and left… but then she turned and smiled once more. Flowers bloomed.

The day which followed, till this day I cannot possibly put in words. I was a dying breed; here in the capital of South Africa, the numbers of my kind had dwindled, like water on desert sand, perhaps the very last of my kind – the last true romantic. But even for a writer, a romantic, not even in my dreams have I dreamed that such a day would exist. I kissed her beneath the stars, she held me tight and refused to let go, beneath the stars. Ask the stars they will tell; love happened beneath their eyes.

Now here I was in the night, after the day… with those stars who where so kind so bright that yester day, where so dark this day. For I asked and asked what did she mean? What did she refer? How could a dream turn so quickly into a nightmare? But a man’s pride is a man’s pride… and I would not subject myself to such torture from another being, even if that being caused my heart to beat like drum. So I did my best to put her off my mind.

A few months had now passed, since my hopeless affections… I had convinced myself that she was just another page in my life’s book, neither that graceful beginning nor that violent end.

The life of the arcadia flats was not for the weak and sensitive at heart, for here men exchanged concealed gifts which they called ‘cloud powder’, and the majority of women wore tight clothes and worked at night. But it was an appropriate dwelling for a writer.

Tired of the sound of my typewriter, although at other times it was heavenly music to my ears. I strolled to the local supermarket which neighbored my apartment, halfway there the earth stood still. As I gazed upon eyes which I never thought I would catch a glimpse of again… still as enchanting as if she lived in the sky.

But there was something peculiarly different in the subject of her; her make up was overly redundant. She wore too little, her hair color was too much. Her company was worse, as they looked as if they went there and back again. She was too loud, how could she have changed in so little a time? The moment she saw me, her laugh evaporated like water, as she was struck by a lightning of awe. The glass bottle she carried met with the floor; the acquaintance shattered the other into a thousand pieces of glass. We both froze like we were in a freezer, as the earth stood still for us. She was a working girl I was sure of it. Her company shook and woke her up. Without a word I left, without a word… she left.

Back in my lonesome flat, those rivers of questions and I rallied once more. But unlike the time before the time. There existed an evident disparity. This time I had responses to the questions. As everything became lucid and clear as day. She sold her body for money; we both knew a relationship was impossible and immoral.
As days turned into cold nights, and nights turned into days… I yearned for the sound of her voice, the feeling of her touch… it became worse and worse, as I thought spoke and dreamed of her. What was I to do? It would be a sin to my reverends eyes, a shame and insult to my family eyes. But I knew that if my ears did not hear her voice once more they would have went deaf, if my eyes did not see her once more, I would have gone blind, so I found her and accepted her past, embraced her present and told her she was my future.

Our relationship was of the strange kind. But we both did not mind. Her folks had passed on. Two people she could call family, was her brother Vincent and now me. She paid the mortgage and all his fees at varsity… with the cold money she earned. He knew little of what her sister did for a living and we kept it that way for all future times.
She was as kind as a butterfly, but every time she worked in those wintry streets, her essence her soul was slowly departing.
At all times I kept her sane and showed her north. The challenges we faced were more than the leaves in the forest. But we kept strong like a rooted tree and our love beat the odds against us; at least momentarily.

Weeks went away, months followed… together we found the joy of Eden, before the sins of men. Together we found bliss.
This strange day, I recall like no other… as it hurt like no other.
Tears were filling her sea blue eyes, she told me her love for me was killing me. This could not be true, how could she say this? The reason I touch is to touch for her. Reason I live, I live for her.
My love my sweet was leaving and I could tell her mind was made.

“Me being with you kills your dreams… You deserve more than this, you deserve more than me” She said
“Promise me that you will meet someone normal, and fall in-love, grow old and have kids,” I had never seen her cry as much, she continued to speak
“Promise me, that you will not wait for me or try to find me but to always keep me in your dreams, as I will always keep you in my heart” placing my hand on her chest. Although at the time I did not wish to admit it, she was as right as day… I promised her a promise I kept for forever and a day.

Today just like all days following her miserable departure, I received a call, the person kept silent… but I knew it was her on the other end, missing me as I do her. I have little knowledge of her whereabouts, but wherever she may be I hope she found peace… at least she left me with her astounding memories, I needed something of hers to keep me company.

By Dick Romeo Matshaba