I didn’t hear from Tony for about 2 weeks. The mailbox was empty. It was the longest I had to wait to get a letter from him. I was upset. I wondered if he had changed his mind. Worse still, I wondered if he had met someone else. My imagination ran wild.
In the meantime, I loved my job in the engineering company in Johannesburg. It took a while to get on with some of the German secretaries, especially Charlotte. She was blunt and she felt it her duty to let everyone know exactly what she thought of them at any time. No one liked her. I made her my mission. She started to warm up to me and we became good friends.
One day she asked me what my star sign was. I told her I didn’t believe in horoscopes and such things. She eventually got me to tell her when my birthday was. She was surprised. Apparently people under my star sign and people under her star sign didn’t get on; ever. She had never met a person born under my star that she got on with; ever. I didn’t fit into the “star” box. She was surprised again when I told her what I was like as a child and how I was changing all the time. She was concerned that Tony and I wouldn’t be compatible. I assured her that he had also broken out of his box. The stars had nothing to do with the changes that had taken place. They had no power to change anything. She was fascinated.
Everyone in the office was involved in my love life. The guy who picked up the post from my desk teased me for running after Tony. He could only see the letters going out. He had no idea how many letters had been filling my mailbox at home.
We had been writing for months and neither of us had thought about asking each other’s age. After we got engaged by phone, cassette and letter, Tony thought he might as well find out. The post guy in my office picked up my letter with the answer and posted it without a stamp. It went to all the islands in South East Asia and it was weeks before Tony got it. His friends in New Zealand were asking him how old his fiancé was. He kept telling them he had no idea. They thought he was crazy.
It was two weeks before I heard from him. When he called, his voice was shaky. The police had come to their house and Tony was asked to go with them to identify a body in town. It was his dad, Doug. He had died from a massive heart attack.
Just a few months before that, Doug and Tony talked about their relationship, their differences and their issues. Tony was able to totally forgive his dad. It was a heavy, 24 year old weight off his shoulders.
Doug had been into a big property deal in the centre of Auckland. His risky, high powered life had taken its toll. He was only 59.
I felt helpless. Tony was so emotional and I cried with him. I felt awful for having been so selfish and also happy that we were in touch again. He hadn’t changed his mind.
Everyone wanted to know what was happening and when he was coming. As soon as he had enough money; that was when he was coming.