The December holiday arrived and Hubby joined the annual trek again, Dawnie was sent with John to the house in Soweto where she was looked after by Hubby’s two elder daughters from a previous marriage, Sannah and Angelina.
Those that have been following this tale will know of the annual ritual and the only variation to the normal holiday was that I met my first love, Belinda. She was one of the other children spending her holiday at Hilton Heights that year. It was her first and only year.
Belinda’s parents were Afrikaans speaking, but she could also speak passable English. We used to meet in the stairwell every afternoon while our parents prepared to go out.
We used to sit on the stairs and hold hands. Our conversations consisted of telling each other all about our siblings and how often they got us in trouble. I think she was a year older than me and had three younger brothers. As was the tradition back in the 60’s, she, as a girl, had to look after them and keep them out of trouble, I did not envy her, her position. On our last day there she leaned forward and gave me my first kiss. It was so sweet her warm lips against mine.
I was in Love.
There was a popular song at that time called “Pretty Belinda”, and the lines went something like:-
“Down on a boat house, down by the river
Lived a young beauty, Pretty Belinda
Her eyes were exciting, her lips were inviting…”
I do not remember any more of the words, but whenever I have heard the song I always remember that first kiss.
Christmas arrived on schedule and I received the bicycle that I had worked all year for. Nothing changed in the Christmas ritual and a merry Christmas was had by all.
That was my last year of innocence. The following year was to rip the fabric of Karen and my lives to shreds, and whether we overcame the following few years, I will leave it to you to decide.
As the curtain falls down on the Nativity scene and the world is wrapped in feelings of goodwill, I take this opportunity to remind you that your children are precious and that there are monsters disguised as friends and family that are out there, who if given the chance will feed on your children’s naivety, very similar to the tales of vampires, needing the essence of youth to live their lives, while destroying those of their victims.
Lots of Hugs and more,