Silence can quite often be more eloquent than a flood of words

ONCE upon a time - and this is a true story - there was a beautiful couple that was the envy of the neighbourhood.

ONCE upon a time - and this is a true story - there was a beautiful couple that was the envy of the neighbourhood.

The man was a hard-working, natty dresser idolised by every young man he came into contact with. In time the boys tried to walk and talk like him.

The lady, his wife, was a sweet smiler who hardly uttered a word.

When you greeted her she responded by smiling and waving like the queen mother, with hardly a word coming out of her mouth.

We were young then and thought her hubby was a very lucky man to have a woman like that.

One day, out of the blue, he dumped her. The neighbourhood was stunned.

A boy close to the couple told us that Bra Veli (not his real name) was sick and tired of living with a mute partner who could not speak.

He said the stress had become unbearable ... having to laugh at his own jokes while the "sweet" smiler just smiled and smiled and smiled at everything.

I remembered Bra Veli the other day, when I bumped into his ex-wife, who is now gone in years.

She is taking her age quite well and continues to flash a mute smile.

In many ways I believe it is better to have a sweet, mute smiler rather than a blabbermouth who can't shut her mouth and enjoy the sound of silence.

Sometimes it is okay just to shut up and stare into space. Many people cannot deal with "uncomfortable" silences. That is when they begin to drone on about the weather, and say meaningless crap like "jah neh ... is waar."

Or .... "otherwise?"

An uncle of mine had a favourite: "Yes, Charlie. Just what are you saying."

He asked me that a zillion times and the answer was always the same: "Niks malome," to which he would add: "Jah, neh".

A former colleague once found herself a rich date who took her on a road trip to Durban.

On her return she regaled the office with the torture of driving with a man who spent six hours each way saying, ad nauseum: "Well, well, well, that's life."

She dumped him.

A relative tells me of an occasion when he met a friend and his wife who had just given birth to (sorry) an ugly baby. Before I get castigated, babies are angelic and very loveable, but they can also be outright ugly.

He (my relative) congratulated the couple on the birth of the little one and, twitching the sleeping baby's cheeks playfully, was at a loss for something appropriate to say.

He could not say how "beautiful" the baby was, because it would be an obvious lie that could hurt the parents.

He could also not say the usual "he is like you, Bra", for that would be another transparent lie.

So he opted for the safe route: "He's sleepy, hey!"

He should have known the old adage: Silence is golden.

Just shut the hell up.