Whenever I cook or bake something that turns out extraordinarily well I think about Peter Hayes. He was a great cook, who loved his successes, and I learned from him; I was his flatmate for a long time in the 90’s. Whenever I buy something pretty, especially drinking glasses, I think about Peter. I remember many trips with him to the Milnerton flea market (even before it moved to its current location!) for glasses and side plates. In fact, I inherited directly from him a Milnerton flea market side plate fetish, only mine extends to bowls as well. Whenever I paint walls I think about Peter, and remember the black wall I painted in his Vredehoek flat, and that he let me.
Peter helped style our wedding, even though we had the teeniest budget in the world. He suggested that my friends, instead of buying unwanted gifts, gave money for a flower budget. The flowers at our wedding were particularly spectacular, as well as dessert, Peter’s home made chocolate chilli, and white chocolate and rose petal, ice creams.
Pete and I not only lived together, we worked together as well, making theatre. In fact we worked together on my first industrial theatre project ever. Who would have known it would become a bit of a career thing for me? I also worked as Peter’s assistant on many hideous (and not so hideous) commercials when he was ‘art department’. They were hard lessons in an industry I couldn’t manage half as well as he could. Peter’s little PC was the first computer I ever ‘typed things up’ on, and ‘printed things out’ from.
In the last few years we saw less of each other. It is the way of the world. But while he was away on the boat I wrote him a few heartfelt emails (especially when I was truly bleak after Grahamstown and I needed someone who would understand my pain) and it seemed he was really close by, in space and memory. It felt like the beginning of a new chapter of our story. How on earth was I to know it was actually the end?
Pete I am really struggling to imagine this world without your presence. It is entirely less beautiful without you. I think I will bake you a cake, and think about you.