“Tonight they take me back to St. Francis' Hospital parking lot. I have ear phones on to block out my surroundings, but it's not really working. I'm getting a phone number from Persis. Her scared eyes. I won't ever forget those eyes.”
Idling at 4:18am
11:23pm Wednesday, Dec 20, 2006
This has been my first great year of disenchantment. I still want the same things I have always wanted but I want them more urgently. Your history is being written in a hip hop rhyme and you still can’t tell? The years of willful obscurity are nearly ended and I’m not certain if I’m wild bearded striding out of the wilderness and the desert parching desert left behind or lost, cliff edge headed, a precipice waiting. All I know is that it was written. I’m not going back.
I have gained Entebbe, this year and the last merging. A girl with dimples when she laughs, I have sat in the grass under the tree shades with her lying at my feet in Botanical Garden, matching flip flops kicked off, she sleeping, me watching the waters invade the stony gravy beach and swim out again, Saturday hot noons, Pringles and passion fruit juice she made. Sunday evenings. I have walked with her into town, the lights in our living room bright with night surprise we’ll be back, to buy Mulefu’s grilled chicken because I want all her attention, and she surprises me still with her fingers slipping into mine while I make up a tale to make her laugh, Entebbe in her finger tips.
I lost her, briefly, in Juba star gazing. What was I thinking? It’s a lie when they tell you that anyone is replaceable. No one could replace her. You have been wondering why I have not been blogging? I was gone in wanderings, far from her, I’m coming home again. All I want now is the smell of her skin when she is stepping out of the shower, she wants her towel, and all I can think about, before I get up to hand her thick pink cotton towel, is how so lovely is every part of her, and she calls me her miracle. How strange! I forget about my white, long sleeved office shirt, crushing her protesting glistening water wet nakedness in a hug to me; home is the smell of her skin, my nose nuzzling her neck. I was so lost. I nearly lost this, this year.
She said she misses me, my mother, laughing shyly, hesitantly, and I would never have gained this but for Juba, the first time she said it, something catching in my throat, an aching I did not know I still had. She says it more. So does he. Now that I’m in Juba, and these tales of disemboweled murdered Ugandan men in market stall disputes for yellow jerry cans of petrol, women spread eagled gang-raped, all they hear; it had to take this. I’m taking more photographs of me than I have ever taken in all my life, there are pieces of Sudan that I want to always be with me, I want to keep memories for the first time, live long enough to have a scrapbook maybe, know what a pina colada tastes like, I have taken sparkling brown tea in shot glasses in Juba, laughing, looked into the barrels of pistols, laughing. The hand of a killer is like any other hand, the beer they buy just as sweet, coming to Juba to discover I want to live in Ethiopia one day, Sudan has returned so much I thought I had lost, Juba flat city dreaming, I will remember the endless dark pools in your eyes.
Café Viva, Kampala, opposite Constitutional Square (you can call me when you get to City Square), Saturday evening, my new DVD player and laptop bags weighing me down, Michael, do you remember? It took you and Kaiza to ground me again, the city quiet preparing for CHOGM, talking about our own quiet revolution, only you two still know me in the way nobody else ever has, living on the reserves you banked. The years pass but you’re still my home guiding stars, in constellations I have no Magellan telescope to understand; be with me always!