“Come, let me introduce you to some of the wedding party.”
Simi, relieved to have a guide, follows Rudd towards the crowd. As they draw closer, she feels eyes rub over her, and the flow of chat switch to watchful curiosity. She hears a woman cough, then some whispering.
Then a man’s voice calls out over the rest.
“Hey Rudd’s got a new woman.”
There’s a crack of laughter from the far side, and a few heads turn.
“Ignore them,” Rudd says. “That lot are always joking.”
Then someone else says something Simi cannot hear, and the laughter comes again. She tries to ignore it, and walks a little taller, her expression steady. Gradually the chat wraps around once more. As they reach the bar, Rudd turns to her.
“All drinks on us. What can I get you?”
Simi does a quick sweep with her eyes.
“Glass of white,” she says. “Whatever you recommend.”
“Okay. We’ve got some good South African whites here.”
Drinks secure they make their way to a group seated at a high table on the edge of the verandah. The two men in the group stand as they approach.
“Hi all” Rudd says. “May I introduce our London guest.”
“Good evening ma’am,” the pair say, the younger man keeping his eyes on the floor.
“Hello. Please call me Simi,” she says, as they shake hands.
“I am Jacobus, father of Hansie, the bridegroom. And this is Jambee, his little brother.”
“Not so little,” Simi smiles, willing the younger man to look up. He does briefly
Same age as Rudd, Simi thinks. Aspergers?
“And this is Karen, my wife,” says Jacobus, his eyes serious in his wide face.
The neat, tidy woman, remains seated. Simi shakes her hand, noticing the polished pink of the nails.
“Hi. Nice to meet you. Please come and join us,” Karen says, patting the stool next to her.
Simi arranges herself on the seat, and thanks them for inviting her to join the celebrations.
“Only a pleasure,” says Karen.
“We’re pleased to have you,” says Jacobus, still standing. “Rudd you going to …”
A gong booms over the rest of his question, followed by a voice inviting all to go down to the barbecue area.
“Excellent. Jassus, I’m starving. The good news is I know there’s plenty. We brought it up ourselves, didn’t we Jambee,” he says clapping a hand on his son’s shoulder.
“Ja,” says Jambee, grinning at his father.
“Thanks Jacobus,” says Rudd. “Huge piece of nyama. I’m going down to help with crowd control.”
“Okay, cheers Rudd,” says Jacobus. “We’ll follow. Karen you coming?”
Karen stands up, and turning to Simi, looks at her shoes.
“Listen, why don’t you stay here? It’s not going to be easy walking over the grass in your shoes. Keep the table for us and we’ll bring you some food. A bit of everything?”
Simi eyes her golden three inch heels.
“I think you’ve got a point,” she says. “Thanks. I’ll wait here.”
She watches the family head off over the grass, and wonders if they will come back.
Copyright Georgie Knaggs & The Phraser 2023