He has a neat Vandyke beard and tiny laugh lines at the corners of his eyes.His face is a marvelous combination of soft and rugged. “It’s happened in town,” he says, “but this is the first time we’ve heard of this in the Township.” He looks over our heads at the damage and almost seems to be talking to himself.Love is wild and tough, messy and glorious, with deep roots and countless feathered seeds that will fly whether they are freed by the toe of a boot or on the softest breath of a wish. I know we’re both thinking, I’m coming out of the kitchen as she answers the door.It’s Mary again, from this morning, but she is not looking distressed.Their mothers told them to put it back or bring it to us. Wendy says, “Maybe it was teenagers.” I nod and remember those boys in high school like it was yesterday. Their bodies twitching, bouncing on their toes, electric with energy – small, quick movements of torso, arms and fists – their voices loud and brash, laughing and bragging about how they “saw some old faggot,” followed him home, pushed in the door after him and trashed his apartment after they beat him unconscious. Those boys, if they are still alive, are now in their late sixties. Today, I am bundled up, but I just can’t keep the chill away. I am mesmerized by all the small pockets on his crisp brown vest and the day-glow yellow “SHERIFF” across his left breast pocket.I wonder how it makes them feel to remember what they did that day. * * * he fickle weather this time of the year is always hard on me. His salt and pepper hair is close-cropped, official.
There are lines around her mouth now, and just yesterday I noticed the unruly grey sprouting in her rich brown hair. Now that everyone is gone we just want to curl up with the critters and do something mindless, like watch reruns of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” on TV; be somewhere or someone else for a while.However, since previous initiates are sworn to secrecy about the ritual’s details, as he lies in a hut with the other boys, rabid speculation is Nkqinqa’s only close companion.The next day, the 13 boys in his cohort consecutively go to see a surgeon.So a neighbor named Patrick Dakwa has agreed to take responsibility for him.Dakwa is a community volunteer who spends a lot of time trying to make circumcisions safer, running seminars near the Eastern Cape town of Flagstaff, teaching traditional surgeons how to safely dress wounds.