I did remember him. Last year during rugby season I took my mother to see the Springboks play at Newlands. The train from town was thick with rugby fans and I fell to talking with a large man in the seat across from me. He lived somewhere in the far small-town north of the country and had just arrived that morning.
He told me that he had been the manager of his father’s restaurant, but one day he had grown tired of his dad telling him what to do, tired of his ex-wife asking him to fix the gate of the house where she lives with her new boyfriend, tired of looking at the same sights and seeing the same faces and driving the same streets to work.
So he put his house keys and cellphone in an envelope and left it in the safe, took money from the cash register and sold his father’s bakkie and set out for as far ashe could go.
He arrived with just a small tog bag and knew no one in Cape Town and the seaside winter was damper than he expected, but his eyes were bright and he said it was months since last his heart felt so light. He told me he’d done this some years before: he went to Port Elizabeth and made new friends and it had been a happy time. If he’d been so happy, why had he returned up north? He shrugged. “It was time to go back.”