My sister’s name is Jacquelyn. On her first day of school, she – not being one to ever do things in single measures – befriended a set of twins as new best friends. The school being a girls-only establishment made the mother of said twins a little curious when they arrived home full of praise for their new friend ‘Jack William’; the woman was very relieved to discover that there was no double-barrel-named little boy in the class and that her daughters had simply given my sister’s name their own interpretation.
I’ve always called her Jackie, and she is everything a sister ought to be. Although she’s much younger than me (my brother came in the middle of us three children; the only ‘planned’ baby my parents produced – but that is another story, for a different day) she’s been my bedrock through all my ups and downs.
I recently bought myself a rabbit; Jackie had sent me some money and I was missing Betsy. This, the latest in my longtime habit of rabbit-ownership, is one that cannot destroy my garden. It seemed only fitting that my new bunny be named Jack William and he (yes, he’s pink, but I decided I needed a male about the place) somehow makes Jackie closer to me as I enjoy my early-morning coffee in the garden every day. Jack William is proving to be an amiable housemate; he’s most agreeable and I’ve yet to hear him utter a bad word.
Living alone is becoming easier as I get on with it. Being so busy at work helps and the free time I do have is usually taken up by my trying to catch up with sleep. I do enjoy the freedom to do as I please; like eating fish fingers for breakfast without having to explain myself. And the pleasure of having an entire chocolate orange all to myself.
Johannesburg is fast becoming empty; everyone’s starting their annual trek to the coast. I’ll be home alone over the festive season for the first time in my life. I’ve armed myself against melancholy with lots to read and plan to watch a lot of movies. My mantra will be that wonderful quote by Paul Tillich:
“Language… has created the word “loneliness” to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word “solitude” to express the glory of being alone.”
And if the glory wanes somewhat, I know that my sister is only a phone call away.