Tuesday, 1 October 2013

For Rosemary Theron - How I Will Remember You

Dear Rosie

Today I heard the news about what people have been speculating for months. You were murdered. I fear that this is how people will remember you. That the press and the public will dissect your last moments under the media’s magnifying glass. I don’t want to know the details. I don’t want to put in my insensitive two cents of speculation.  Too many people are remembered this way. They are remembered for their last moments instead of their lives.

So I’m writing this to you so I will remember you as you were in life – tiny in stature but full of fire. Our paths only crossed twice but in that short time, you made a massive impact. The first time we met, we did a gig together at an end of year function. The theme was Alice in Wonderland – I was The Queen of Hearts and you were the Mad Hatter. We met as we were putting on our make up before going to interact with the guests. We were surrounded by models and I was hoping there would be someone I could talk to. Someone that had beauty that was more than skin deep. We chatted a little bit about the gig. It was the end of the year and the festive season madness had already begun. You seemed angry and untrusting of me. We didn’t talk much again that day but while we were with the guests, you kept coming up to me and interacting with me as your character. You took your role seriously, stayed in character the whole time (as did I as you can see by the photo below) and I appreciated that.

                                         The Queen of Hearts glares at The Mad Hatter 

The next time I saw you would be the last. We were doing a Halloween Rocky Horror Show themed gig. I was playing the role of Columbia and had been asked to choreograph a Flash Mob Time Warp. You were part of the Flash Mob and were also doing Fire Dancing. It was a very chaotic day –too many people were trying to take charge and I was getting more and more frustrated trying to lead the group. I’m not the kind of person who usually shows my anger but the tolls of sleep deprivation overtook me and I stormed off to be on my own. I felt stupid and embarrassed that I couldn’t handle the group dynamic and irritated that I had put so much work in, only to be disrespected.  Suddenly out of nowhere, you ran up to me and kissed me on the cheek. I’ve never been one to show my affection easily through touch – I use words to show people I care. The fact that you didn’t even know me that well but still reached out to me with such compassion made me feel so much better. Everything changed after that, I went back to the group and got ready for the gig to start. The rest of the night we performed in different parts of the club. You did your fire dancing but slipped and fell on the gasoline in front of the audience. I didn’t see the moment you fell, but you came up to me afterwards all embarrassed and I tried to take your mind off things. I then had to do my performance and we danced a little bit later in the evening after the flash mob.

Our paths crossed for just a moment in time but your kindness affected me deeply. I hope that your family and friends and anyone who crossed your path also had the privilege of seeing this side of you. I will remember you always. Thank you for leaving me with such a beautiful memory – you will be missed. 

*This piece was published in The Sunday Times, South Africa on October 6th 2013.