‘The Easter Bunny was just here!’ – a phrase normally associated with an inner thrill and the frantic fluttering of butterfly wings deep under my ribs. The excitement! Of the Easter egg hunt! Chocolately goodness mixed with the tingly anticipation of the chase and the alluring appeal of the unknown. Not so last Saturday – the Saturday before Easter Sunday and the day of the Two Oceans (not the Comrades, as I insisted on repeatedly calling it, to the eye-rolling frustration of my brothers).
No, rather this time the phrase ‘the Easter Bunny was just here!’ lead to discreet, sympathetic snickering. This is because last Saturday I didn’t indulge in my normal Easter weekend traditions; gorging myself on both DSTV and crunching on crispy hotcross buns.
No. I am in the distressingly real, Real World now. Living mostly alone in Cape Town, I don’t have access to such luxuries. My family? My brothers, one attending UCT (Angus); the other visiting for the week from Joburg (Matthew). My TV tunes into only three channels (SABC2 didn’t make the cut, apparently), and my lounging area has been reduced to a single couch instead of a whole TV room.
However, since Matthew was here over such a very family holiday, I thought as a lovely Cape Towny group activity we could climb up the iconic Table Mountain. Although I have actually done this rather arduous Cape Town must before, I had completely forgotten the pure misery of going up for so long. It had crossed my mind, don’t get me wrong, but I’d thought that since taking on Mission Succexy I had become intimidatingly fit (though I must confess that the last two weeks I have slipped off the bandwagon somewhat … more like Mission Sucky than anything else). The main difference between Table Mountain and the stepper? The gorgeous, ruby-red stop button.
Angus had been looking forward to this hike with mild distaste since I had first brought it up, though Matthew managed to muster some lukewarm enthusiasm at the thought. Both of them, however, were distinctly unimpressed with the swarthy mass of clouds mustering at the top of the mountain on Saturday morning. We saw this white mass of misery from the car as the GPS (my mortal enemy – that bitch always gets me lost) lead us away from the mountain in a successful attempt make us late. My ability to be late combined with an unerringly bad sense of direction meant that both of my brothers ignored my feeble bleating and insisted loudly and persistently that I follow the GPS’s instructions, instead of my own tenuous sense of directions and the big, brown signs labeled ‘Table Mountain’, complete with white pictograms of hikers.
And so we started climbing up, and up, and up, and across for a little bit, and then, yes, up again; and some more. I soon lagged behind, my only company Matthew (sweet, yes, though he believes me completely incompetent in most things and might have actually been doing it solely to prevent nagging questions from my mother if I fell to my death), an occasional member of my group and other, weary hikers. They all offered me words of encouragement (and a few people barked “Careful!” as I walked by), making me realize I must have really looked like I was struggling. One hour later – the hike is two hours long, by the way – through mist, rain, and a frosty breeze (at one stage Matthew actually asked me “Why would anyone do this to themselves?”, I could only pant and shake my head) we arrived at the top. The view was marred somewhat by the bulky cloud hugging the top of the mountain, but I think we all felt a bit like Rocky when we arrived.
It was then that we saw the Easter Bunny. Lurking behind a rock, this man-sized rabbit (man in a rabbit costume) waved at us a tad creepily before moping away to find some children.
The holidays really do seem different when you’re this side of the Independence line. A lot of things are harder – you have to look after yourself; cooking, cleaning, and, of course, paying for stuff (like your own Easter eggs). In the end though, that Independence becomes Freedom. I can go to gym at 7.30pm, during dinner time, if I want to. I can sleep in on Easter Sunday, and use all the hot water for a piping hot bath while listening to Carla Bruni on full volume. Hell, I can even have Easter eggs for breakfast (though I do that every Easter Sunday…). Like climbing up Table Mountain, independence is difficult at first, and it hurts. Taking the cable car – or remaining dependent – may be a lot easier, but when you get to the top it’s far less rewarding.
After all guys, ‘The Easter Bunny was just here!’ and yet I’m not going to spend the next forty minutes frantically looking for Easter eggs. No. Instead, as my friend told Angus when he complained about climbing back down the mountain, it’s time to grow a pair. And I don’t mean Easter eggs.