The Dearly Departing

© J. Francois Barnard - 22 December 2023

It was a hot December night in Johannesburg at our year-end function. All the speeches were over, and I took Mr Agbani by the arm. "Let's go outside. It's getting too hot inside here."


© J. Francois Barnard - 20 December 2023

When I planned a business trip to Jeffreys Bay, I warned Dorothy well in advance that I would visit her. She was my late mother's best friend, and in my teens, I saw her almost every day. I had not seen her for decades since then, but I had some contact with her since I notified her of my mother's passing. The resident nurse at the retirement village told me about Dorothy's dementia and strongly encouraged me to come, citing loneliness as one of Dorothy's significant problems.


© J. Francois Barnard - 17 December 2023

Petro's radiant smile illuminated the kitchen as she gracefully poured tea, the comforting aroma wafting through the air. In the adjacent lounge, the lively chatter of her husband, Walter, and their guests provided a pleasant backdrop. Meanwhile, the joyous laughter of her two children and their friends' son echoed from the garden, accompanied by the playful barks of their exuberant puppy.

The Party Balloon

© J. Francois Barnard - 15 December 2023

Jurgen patiently bided his time in the barbershop, scrolling through an email on his phone. Despite recognising the offer as reasonable, the hefty price tag of $50,000 gave him pause. Lost in contemplation, he was roused when the person next to him gently touched his arm, signalling his turn.


Nine and a Half

© J. Francois Barnard - 14 December 2023

On a scorching summer afternoon, I hastened home in my car, yearning for the solace of my abode. Navigating through my automated gate, a twinge of irritation gripped me as I noticed pamphlets carelessly scattered on the pavement beyond.