Lethokuhle Msimang

Things are beautiful at this hour, it is the hardest time to be alone.

I walked through a park with an old respectable man. He talked about the breeze, about the tiny droplets of rain. “Shall we sit a while,” he asked, convinced I’d feel the same, that I’d linger in the damp and cold in his old romantic way. We sat a while as suggested, saw the sun set behind the tree’s. The old man sighed then tried to sing as I plucked the petals off the weeds. He stretched his arm out behind me, and I placed a book between our legs. “Ah! What a calming breeze,” he said, while I wrapped a scarf around my neck. Then the light changed with the fading day and our silhouettes remained. We were nothing then but forms which seemed neither old nor young. In such moments the old man found the courage to pull me closer. But I stood to walk before he could, frightened by the prospect of being near him. So many times he’s tried to pull me near, and so many times I’ve walked away. He says “things are beautiful at this hour, it is the hardest time to be alone,” and I should agree, but when one talks this way I feel as though I’m dying. “Why marvel at the setting sun,” I said, “it is a sign the day is over,” and what was worse, I thought, was knowing it would happen again and again. 

But suppose I am as lonely as this old man, suppose I am as lonely and uneasy to love. I’d still walk with him time and again. I think I do it as a of kind prayer.