Rolleston Place was smaller than ever. Val had painted my room a pale pink and put all kinds of Holly Hobby figures all over it. It was like going back to my childhood. They were so happy to have me home. I had gone from 48- 55kgs and they loved every bit of me.
I also arrived home to a huge bouquet of flowers and a marriage proposal. “I know I haven’t been in touch with you for the past two years, but I want you to be my wife. Will you? Love, Ian.” Wilf and Val were hovering and hopeful. I couldn’t believe the cheek. I gave Val the flowers and put the note in the bin.
Being back in my neighbourhood was hard. It was difficult to connect with people. Not many were interested in my travels or experiences and not many questions were asked. It was as if I hadn’t gone anywhere.
While I was away, Dave and Bev got married and Rigby and Sue had moved to Johannesburg to take on a small church. Peter was working in a bank in Pietermaritzburg. The house was quiet and I felt isolated.
I took a few months off then started to look for a job. I accepted one with YFC and was going to start the following month. At the same time, Rigby and Sue called and invited me to join them in Johannesburg. It seemed to be the right thing to do so I called YFC to apologise and made my plans to move to the big city.
Tony had replied to my subtle note. A few times actually. Wilf and Val wondered about all the post arriving in our little tin post box. They knew something was brewing.
Tony wasn’t going to mess around. He did not want another girlfriend; he had had enough of those. He was serious. In one of his first letters he made it clear. In the only way he knew, he said “I guess I am asking for Social Permission”. I wasn’t going to make it easy so I replied, “What exactly do you mean by that?” He made it clear he had marriage in mind.
By the time I moved from No 28 things were in full swing. We were in a “serious long distance relationship.” My address changed and Rigby and Sue had to deal with all the mail in their mailbox.
I applied for a receptionist job in an engineering company in Sandton and got it. I worked for three companies; M.A.N, Sieva and Alsthom. I was surrounded by naughty Germans and Frenchmen and I felt right at home.
Every day, just before lunch time, I called home to ask if any mail had arrived for me. If the answer was yes, I jumped into my little blue VW beetle and drove home as fast as I could. I grabbed my letter, jumped back in the car and read at every stop light, all the way back to work. There were so many letters, I did that trip most week days.
Cassettes were my favourite. Tony would chat and sing songs he had written. He told me all about his day and night and everything in between. I listened to them over and over again; especially the one where he farted while he was talking. I couldn’t believe my ears.
He commented and laughed, but seriously, did he not know about rewinding and erasing? I kept rewinding to make sure I had heard correctly. I laughed so much. That clinched it for me. I knew we were going to have lots of fun.
I looked at the qualities I had written down years before. He was everything I wanted in a husband. He even played the guitar.
There were just two things I wondered about:
1. He wasn’t a pastor.
2. He was called to live in India. Was I?