Thirteen Years: The Rhodes Memorial & Collecting Minerals

AIDS was… an illness in stages, a very long flight of steps that led assuredly to death, but whose every step represented a unique apprenticeship. It was a disease that gave death time to live and its victims time to die, time to discover time, and in the end to discover life.

~ Hervé Guibert

The Rhodes Memorial & Collecting Minerals

Continued from… On Top Of Table Mountain

Instead of following the road down the mountain, Isaac drove to the other side. It had rained the previous two days and also in the week before they had arrived in Cape Town. Isaac knew this mostly resulted in lovely small waterfalls in the coves alongside Table Mountain. Annie just loved the sight of the waterfalls and again she made the one photo after the other.

Isaac turned the car around and drove to the road that would take them into Cape Town and around the mountain to the suburbs of the city. They passed the University of Cape Town and then Isaac followed the signs that would take them to the Rhodes Memorial. Annie had only been there once before, but she knew that this was one of Isaac’s favorite places.

“I haven’t been here for quite some time,” he said as they got out of the car. “The first time I ever came here was with Freddy. I have always loved the peaceful surroundings of the memorial.”

Annie felt tears in her eyes.

In the past days, she had frequently seen the pensive look on Isaac’s face. She suspected Isaac was taking them on a trip down his memory lane; taking them to places where he used to go to with Freddy, or places where he had loved to go to when his health was still good.

They walked around for a while, enjoying the sight. Down here, it was not as chilly as it was on Table Mountain. Isaac, Jacques and Annie took their windbreakers off and put them in Isaac’s car.

“Let me treat you to rooibos and scones,” Isaac said.

“Oh yummy,” Annie exclaimed.

“We’ll treat you, Isaac,” Jacques said.

“No, Jacques. Ever since the two of you arrived, you paid for everything. This is my treat and I don’t want you to pay,” Isaac said sternly.

Isaac almost never raised his voice and, doing so now, prevented Jacques from going against his host’s explicit wishes.

At the restaurant, they took place at a table outside in the sun. Annie thoroughly enjoyed her scones. It had been ages since she had it for the last time. When they were done, they didn’t linger for too long, since the shadows were getting longer as the sun moved closer to the horizon on the other side of the mountain. In the shade, it quickly cooled off again. Strolling back to the car, they stopped at one of the eight big bronze lion statues, which flanked the steps leading up to the memorial.

“There’s no picture of the two of you yet,” Isaac said. “Jacques, give me your camera so I can make a photo of the two of you.”

Jacques did as Isaac asked and sat down on the lion next to his wife. Then he made a picture of Annie and Isaac as they sat on the same lion.

“And now I have a surprise for you,” Isaac suddenly said as he thought of something, “come on, let’s go.”

Annie and Jacques looked at each other, puzzled. They followed Isaac to his car. They didn’t know where Isaac wanted to go, but half an hour later, it became clear. Isaac took the shortest route he knew. He parked his car in front of the Mineral Scratch Patch in Simon’s Town. Still, the name revealed nothing to Annie, as the chain of scratch patches was something that had appeared only after she had left the country.

Isaac paid their entrance fee, and they handed him three plastic bags. They rounded a corner and Annie’s jaw dropped. They entered a sort of cave and on the floor of this cave were thousands, maybe millions, of polished gemstones.

“You can select your own stones and put them in this plastic bag,” Isaac said, and he handed both Annie and Jacques a zip-lock bag, with the logo of the Mineral Scratch Patch on it, “as long as the bag can close, it’s okay. Put as much in it as you can.”

Annie enjoyed herself. It pleased her even more to think of the face of her son when he would see the stones. He collected stones, and she knew that receiving these polished gems would put a bright big smile on his face. With care, she picked out each stone that disappeared into the clear plastic bag.

From the Mineral Scratch Patch, they drove home through Fish Hoek and the Tokai Forest. Just after six o’clock that evening, they arrived home, tired and content.


Wednesday started out very windy. Table Mountain was covered in clouds, and the weather forecast for the rest of the week didn’t sound any better.

They went to another shopping center, since Annie and Jacques had more things to buy to take back home with them. Today, the trip would go to the shopping center in Kenilworth and they would also visit Access Park, which was just across the road from the shopping center. Access Park was a collection of different factory stores and Annie had always loved to go there when she still lived in Cape Town.

Before they left, Isaac spiced a chicken he had taken out of the freezer the previous evening. He put it in the oven at a very low temperature. Annie, who was upstairs getting dressed, entered the kitchen just as Isaac closed the oven.

“What are you doing, my friend?” she wanted to know.

“I’m cooking for you tonight. We cannot eat out every evening. I have to take better care of my guests.”

“Oh Isaac, you really don’t have to cook for us,” Annie protested. “We don’t mind going to restaurants every evening. Hey, we’re on holiday.”

Her attempt to make light of Isaac’s obvious — however misplaced — guilt did not work.

“You might be on holiday, but this is not the way my mother had taught me. I will cook for you tonight,” Isaac said again.

“Are you going to leave the oven on while we are out?” Annie decided not to go against Isaac’s wishes.

“Yes, I have done it a lot in the past. It can cause no harm,” Isaac assured Annie.

To be continued… Arts, Crafts And An Aquarium

Note: This series is a rework of a self-published book (2009), rewritten for this blog, and in loving memory of a dear friend who suffered from and passed because of AIDS. Keep in mind this story happens in the late eighties and throughout the nineties. Names of characters have been changed to protect their privacy.

© Rebel’s Notes
Image from Pixabay

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