Wednesday, February 2, 2011

PULL UP A CHAIR, acrylic & ink on paper, copyright M.Machèn, Feb 2011
 I once fell in love with a woman with a wooden leg and a tattoo on her chest. I know that sounds strange but it's true. I must have been 17 at the time, I was traveling down to see my grandma and grandpa in the Eastern Transvaal, they had a citrus farm there. It was an overnight journey by train. I used to smoke American Pall Mall unfiltered cigarettes, not many, just enough to make me look sophisicated. I really fancied myself by that stage. I also started drinking beer and had bought myself a pinstriped suit...very flash! I got into the train and ended up in a compartment by myself . It was quite late so I went to the saloon and had a drink, there was one other girl...well she wasn't really a girl, she was about 30 years old. I went up to her and asked if she would mind if I shared her table and she said "Certainly, sit down". We started talking and playing matches (that's when you guess how many matches are in the other's fist)...then we started playing for drinks and I think she deliberately let me win a few rounds because at the end she had bought me several beers... then she got up to go and I realized I hadn't ordered bedding for my compartment so she said: "Why don't you stay with me tonight?"...that's when I found out about the tattoo. The next morning bright and early I got my luggage and left the train. I kissed my grandma and took my grandpa's hand and all of a sudden I heard the lady shout down to me: "Goodbye, darling!" and my grandma said "Who's that?" and my grandpa smiled and I told them: "Well that's my Biology teacher. She is traveling to Mozambique and we meet on the train and we just had a long talk about my schoolwork". Grandma looked at me and grandpa looked at me and they looked at each other and they didn't say a word.