‘Hi, I’m coming to
Cape Town tomorrow…’
So planning isn’t Alex’s strong point, but then she does have 3-year-old twins, so it’s not like she’s got time to turn around (as my late sainted mother used to say).
Still, it was cause for gigantic excitement, because Alex is another very close schoolfriend I haven’t seen since matric – 30 years ago. (It’s been quite a year for reunions.)
We had very little time to sit down and catch up – and, in fact, Alex didn’t sit down at all, because that’s what having two tots does for you: keeps you on your toes. A few hours isn’t nearly enough to trawl back over shared memories, never mind fill in the gaps since, but we managed to do a précis version, and I asked Alex why it is that I don’t have one single photograph of her (because I’ve always been an enthusiastic happy-snapper). ‘Don’t you remember?’ she said. ‘I hated having my photograph taken.’
As regular salma readers will know, I love ‘thens’ and ‘nows’ (especially with such yawning chasms of time in between), so I was sad. Then I remembered that the school photographer was something that Alex couldn’t avoid – and there’s a very specific reason why. Among Alex’s many astonishment achievements when we were young (she really was a genius), she managed to take the honours at the end of matric for being the pupil who hadn’t missed one single schoolday throughout her entire high-school career. For someone like me, who bunked at the drop of an exercise book, that was an achievement way above and beyond the straight As Alex got on her report.
So here they are: now (top pic) and then (bottom two). Alex and I were in the same class in high school only in 1978 in Form 1 (now Grade 8), and we managed to get into the same photographer’s frame the following year, when we had to pose for a shot of the junior choir.