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The Package

by Vicky Hale / 20.10.2010

The traffic on Fourth is momentarily heavy. A brief lull in the conversation and I can enjoy the setting sun. It’s been awhile since I could meet someone for drinks and sit outside. It’s definitely warming up. Give it a week or two and I’ll swap out my red wine for cocktails. Right now though, Cool Runnings will simply have to keep a steady flow of Pinotage coming this way. I need some dutch courage to get through this.

Hell, he’s hot. Piercing blue eyes staring out of an alabaster angel face with cheek bones you could slice cheese on. Yeah, I’d hit that in a heart beat. His motorbike leaning casually on the pavement inspires a sudden thought. Never done it on a bike. Should add that to my bucket list.

I’ve been looking forward to drinkipoos all week. Since he sms’d me on Saturday night. The beginning of the chase; the mandatory battle of wits; perfecting the art of dressing to the nines without looking like you’re trying too hard. Yay for warmer weather, makes my life easier. If this top was any tighter it would stop doing me any favours.

What on earth are we talking about? Neo-anarchic philosophy and African politics. That’s not really what I’m saying and I know that’s not what I’m hearing. There’s an undercurrent of other questions.

“So what does your boyfriend do?”

Ashley flashes into my head in full force. I suppose now is a good a time as any to deal with the issue. But I don’t. Instead I exchange pleasantries about job satisfaction and the recession.

Another glass of wine and the bike is looking ever so shiney. I’m all warm in places that make me shiver.
I try broach the subject via the physical dance pieces I saw at the SexActually sexual awareness theatre event at Wits this week. But my vocabularly is as obscure as they were.

The focaccia arrives. Always to share – who wants to worry about garlic breath right?

The waitress asks if we could pay our bill. Her shift is ending. I’m drunk. He’s tipsy. The unhad conversation sits on my head like an octopus. Neither one of us is ready to leave. We’ll have to settle the tab and keep talking until we’ve gone where we need to go.

We pull out our wallets. Still parrying, still pretending this conversation is about philosophy’. Not paying attention to our hands, only to each others faces, to every miniscule expression of mischief. I grab notes, he grabs notes, and the waitress is off before we have a chance look at the damage.

I want to spill into his lap and kiss him.

There’s a sudden ruckus emanating from inside. Laughter. The waiters and waitresses are killing themselves over something. And then they are looking at us as our buxoum brunette makes her way towards our table with a huge grin and a barely contained giggle.

“Here’s your change guys”

Inside the black booklet, a few notes, a few coins, and in all its patriotic glory, a blue government issue condom.

Wow. I feel an unwanted surge of sobreity coming along.

It wasn’t his. And it wasn’t mine. I keep mine with my tampons in the the little zip up compartment that doesn’t spill out when I periodically drop my handbag. It was Ashley’s. I told Ashley about him. I always do. It’s not about his ego. It’s not about pregnancy either. I had the copper-T put in two years ago. Ash is more concerned about me getting fok dronk and into the sack without protection.

So we have the safe sex talk. The who else are you shagging talk. The when did you last get tested talk.

It didn’t happen that night. But it did last night. And now I can cross something off my bucket list.

Safe Sex

14   9
RESPONSES (29)
  1. Anonymous says:

    uh huh…

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  2. Anonymous says:

    Sigh. Seriously?

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  3. Anonymous says:

    It’s more a ‘folder’ than a ‘booklet’.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    so is this about cheating?

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  5. Andy says:

    it’s not strictly “cheating” if your boyfriend puts the condom in your purse…

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  6. Lizzy says:

    but what is the point of this article? and is it journalism or creative writing? didnt do too much for me.

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  7. Vicky says:

    Thanks for your comment Lizzy. This story isn’t journalism but it is a story about the beginning of a ‘polyamorous’ relationship. That is multiple partners who are all aware of each other and have agreed to the relationships.

    Since the ‘primary’ partner is aware their partner’s new interest, and has green lighted the relationship, it isn’t cheating.

    One night stands, flings, hook ups, etc. that haven’t been negotiated – that’s cheating. Poly relationships tend to be based on romance, genuine emotion, and honesty. And the idea that one person can’t fulfil all your needs all of the time.

    Polyamory is not for everyone. Many people value monogamy. The important thing is not to judge others for their preferences if their choices aren’t hurting anyone.

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  8. Lizzy says:

    cool, thanks for the clarification Vicky, I re-read and found the read pretty interesting (in an anthropological way). I do think Mahala may need to categorise the articles in a clearer way so we know in what context we’re supposed to read them (Andy?). e.g: Max’s strange science fiction take on rocking the daisies – is that fiction or journalism?

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  9. Max says:

    good question. i’m not sure myself.
    but do we really need to define genre’s or boundries? i believe writing is organic, that meaning evolves without the need of a set context. context is in itself a highly relative thing…your context is very different to mine, even if presented with the same text in the same situation with the same parameters. you should read this essay I wrote in UCT on ‘the death of context’, which essentially takes the ‘death of the author’ theory to its next logical step.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    Wow this is poor, dull, twee and just poor writing. Or are you in high school? In which case maybe you will improve in time.

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  11. K says:

    max
    i’d like to read it, if you ‘re willing to extend the invitation to others, i’m opposed to the idea of the ‘death of author’ because it’s not universal, it works in societies that have had a long literary history but in places where written fiction has emerged in the last 50 years, i’m not so sure. i’d like to see how one would discuss ‘the death of context’ when it comes to post-colonial writing where context matters.

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  12. Max says:

    you see, K, the subject of ‘death of the author’ or ‘death of context’ is a very tricky one as it is very much a post-modern notion (god i hate those words)…or, actually, a post-post-modern notion (death of context that is).

    I would disagree – it IS a very universal thing. you must realize that ‘post-colonial’ is a context in itself, a context that has since its inception been perverted, distorted and drenched of any original value. To even further counter your point about post-colonial writing vs. writing from rich literary tradition – post-colonial writing CANNOT be looked at without looking at where it comes from – which IS exactly those rich literary histories (of say the English canon, or the Russian canon)…thus it is absurd to claim that post-colonial writing is immune to the idea of the ‘death of the context’. It is perhaps the prime EXAMPLE of it – assimilation and appropriation of existing structures, and not just to produce a new, SINGULAR meaning, but a slew of of narratives, context and so on…

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  13. Anonymous says:

    Vicky, none of what you’ve said about polyamory comes through in your article, though

    It just reads like tease fiction from young adult erotica paperbacks, without greater comment.

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  14. K says:

    Max
    I’m not sure the definition of postcolonial is supposed to remain static, it’s a continually evolving body of writing as with anything else, so pinning things down to original meanings and bemoaning their perversion suggests, IMO, a fixity in meaning yet this kind of writing goes against that. I’m not even entirely sure there is a consensual definition of what postcolonial means – for different theorists it means different things, Ashcroft and Tiffin may use historical and geographical approach whereas someone like Carol Boyce Davies rejects the term in it’s entirety but borrows from that body of postcolonial theory and for Achille Mbembe the postcolony is very much alive but his referents are two dead French guys whose ideas had nothing to do with the postcolony.

    By your own admission context and authorship are important because you say that it’s impossible to look at postcolonial writing without looking at where it comes from. By that logic, context and authorship is everything, no? What makes context even more important is the other side where this writing comes from – the oral tale, the native inhabitants of postcolonial regions are fusing both the oral and the written when they ‘write back’ and ‘rewrite’. Writers combine both the traditional and contemporary forms of the oral as well as the different forms of the written that evolves from European canons. Recognition of this means that context and authorship matter for a critical reader.

    still is some form of I’m not – would disagree – it IS a very universal thing. you must realize that ‘post-colonial’ is a context in itself, a context that has since its inception been perverted, distorted and drenched of any original value. To even further counter your point about post-colonial writing vs. writing from rich literary tradition – post-colonial writing CANNOT be looked at without looking at where it comes from – which IS exactly those rich literary histories (of say the English canon, or the Russian canon)…thus it is absurd to claim that post-colonial writing is immune to the idea of the ‘death of the context’. It is perhaps the prime EXAMPLE of it – assimilation and appropriation of existing structures, and not just to produce a new, SINGULAR meaning, but a slew of of narratives, context and so on…

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  15. K says:

    Oops sorry I4got to delete, I had pasted your response into the reply box so I could read as I was writing.

    Andy
    Is it poss to have a delete option, please?

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  16. Max says:

    K, and you have stumbled upon one of the ‘beauties’ of post-modern theory – context and author IS everything yet they are DEAD at the same time. peculiar duality, no?

    perhaps I should rephrase my point (though I’m not sure it will make it any clearer) – the ORIGINAL context in with a particular text is created has no meaning, as it in no way reflects or infuses the way the text is read (yes a broad generalization, but we are talking meta here aren’t we?), used, and re-used. Similarly, every new ‘re-using’ (or every new ‘context’) is equally meaningless due to the same reasons. Thus the only thing that really matters is the text itself in its rawest form as physical ‘data’…which is what lead me onto the ‘death of context’ theory.

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  17. Max says:

    also, I see hardly any distinction between the ‘written canon’ and the ‘oral cannon’, the only difference is the medium.

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  18. K says:

    Ah that’s a nice little get out clause you have there peculiar duality, that’s why people call postmodernism one big fraud, and that’s why alternative ideologies that speak to a range of global experiences are more appealing.

    Context in which a text is created is important because an author is not simply a writer, but a reader too, so when one reads a second draft of a work, in their reading is also the original context of how this was constructed and how it’s evolved. For a reader, it’s not always essential to know but if it is critical reading – it’s impossible to avoid the story behind the novel, I’m sure you know this from your own essay writing. I don’t even think a text can ever be just ‘raw physical data’ – for either reader or writer – the reader also brings something to the text and even if it’s just a manuscript on table, there’s something else that goes with it even though it’s unknown to you the reader, so its not just ‘physical data’.

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  19. K says:

    Yes there is a big difference between oral and written cannons (if you can say that there is such a thig as an oral canon) – the approaches to storytelling are differrent i.e the classic bildungsroman which works on linear time versus the collective folktale in which time is cricular and the telling is communal i.e call and response. Cliched example I know, but still valid.

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  20. party pooper says:

    cool concept- writing is a little too J.K. Rowling for my tastes.

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  21. Anonymous says:

    I think the only thing more boring than the article is the follow up faux intellectual here is last week’s University essay rehashed comments. I had forgotten how pretentious and dull students could be. Yawn yawn and triple yawn

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  22. Lizzy says:

    @party pooper – this assumes you have actually read jk rowling. hmm. now i’m going to make some assumptions.

    @max, thanks, I think context is important but not trancendable (is that an actual word?) or always required. I’m just the kind of reader that likes to read the music/book/movie reveiws and would like to be able to find them easily if I dont have time to engage with the more ‘creative’ stuff. not that creativity is bad, i just like a bit of efficiency in my internet usage…

    saw the hardcopy of mahala yesterday. MUCH prefer the online version.

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  23. Delron P. Melschmann says:

    Hey Anonymous, at least have the decency to make up a pseudonym. Mine is awesome. Yours is boring and nobody actually reads your comments, because they are boring. I like this piece because it affords me a glimpse into the lives of people unlike me, eg. people who are good-looking and have sex on motorbikes. That is awesome. I would be too worried about the kickstand.

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  24. Sean says:

    Vicky, is that your bonnet reflected in the motorcycle’s mirror?

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  25. Layna says:

    Vicky, i found it hard to understand what you were talking about in the article, but thank goodness for your comment on polygamy, once i read it i got it. Also, i have no clue what body part im looking at the in picture with the motorbike?

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  26. Anonymous says:

    From what I can decode – it appears to be two different bodies (black and white).

    Anyone else figure it out?

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  27. Don Dada says:

    The pic was the best part of this article.

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  28. Dennis says:

    ‘drinkipoos’ (frown)

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  29. Kropotkin says:

    Naaaaas!

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