The morning sun woke us up.

Fast-moving shadows refracted across the cabin, bending with the motion of the train.  Golden sun and shadows.  Golden sun and shadows.

I moved gingerly from the passage to the shower.  Terrence was already up.  He lay on his bunk, staring at the dull beige roof of the compartment.  Jean brushed past me with his shower-kit as I made my way back to my seat.  The train was drawing closer to Cape Town.  The Cape Town you see in magazines.  Table Mountain and dark blue seas.  Approaching the city renewed the atmosphere of expectation in our compartment.  Of our own little world.

‘I don’t know if I should really be studying law’, I said.  Jean asked, ‘Why?’  ‘Well’, I responded, ‘I am only doing it because I don’t know what else to do.  I am good at languages and History’.  ‘I’m studying Acc Sci to make money’, said Jean.  We both laughed.  ‘What is Acc Sci?’, I asked.  ‘Actuary Science’, said Jean.  ‘Actually, I got an A for maths in matric.  I am going to study business science, with a major in stats’.  ‘What would you like to do?’, asked Jean.  ‘I’d like to be a writer’.

Terrence broke his silence,  ‘The train is getting close.  I wonder if they’re going to block off the station’.  ‘I never thought about that’, said Mike.  ‘They are freeing Mandela today’.  I had heard something about Mandela’s release – but nothing specific.  I acted as though I knew.  ‘It’s going to be packed out’, said Mike.  The magnitude of the day’s events lent a special, dreamlike quality to our arrival.

Jean and Mike started to pack their loose things into their togbags.  Terrence’s bags lay packed under the seat and I’d throw my things into my handluggage when we got in.