Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Every Moment I Spend With You Now I Treasure

Marvin Gaye, Distant Lover, good vibrations!

I have become the man who does not say goodbye. I have become the man who flicks on the television to drown out arguments that I want to ignore. I have become the man, again, who has to drink to sleep. I have become the man who insists on praying before a meal in a religion I do not believe in. I have become the man with no faith who people come to ask questions of faith when they are in doubt. I have become the man who does not care and people think I care. I have become the man I used to be afraid of and I’m not afraid of myself.

She asked me, what happened before you left? Flippant answers come quicker to my lips than they ever did phrased so you do not ask again. She did not ask again. I had not wanted to answer. With no devastating account of personal suffering to justify my torpor. No beach bench sitting solitary confession of loss to account for my jaded responses. I have become a man I do not know without knowing how I have become that man. A few days’ malady becoming permanent, I have become someone else. Maybe once I was like you. I’m certain I’m no longer.

Beyond dread and fear lies not courage but indifference. Beyond love and hate lies not triumphal bed-stand notches and statistics but a weary forearmed foresight with the unchanging storyline of two lovers and one who thought they were star crossed, romantic story heroes and heroines with purple eloquence, nothing denied. This not saying goodbye to life like she thought. Nor a surrender, like a mother called by her son’s Principal for the umpteenth time who sits silent in his office for the first time not interrupting his rant because she finally accepts her son is as bad as he is accusing him of being. I remember the time before I was the man I have become who I was.

I remember the love stories I had to tell you, when I still believed in all that, of a man and a woman who had to leave Uganda to find themselves in Juba and fall in love. Calling me and my friends to witness this unexpected Indian Summer in car rides past midnight in brooding Juba from the last bar open. A story you would believe because it was the only time I ever allowed to ride in the back of a pick-up watching the lovers through the window behind their seats with the driver and we had braked to a halt, in wonder, when a breeze stirred a tree so hard yellow leaves floated in the air in the moonlight, holding our breaths before this sight. I remember, before I changed, I wanted to tell you the story of the girl who was said to be a man-eater, ruthless, heartless, after money who turned out to be the only person willing to lend me money when no one would. I remember all the stories I wanted to tell you, before I changed. Before she said I had lost my faith. Before. I have not lost everything. I know. I believe.

I still have a few faiths even now. I’m holding onto the thought of her, through the puzzles of watching unfaithfulness come so easy to many here it is almost admirable in rooms next to mine in the hotel we all share. There’s this blog that I have tried so many times to delete and the nerve failed me because all am writing here is not just a hobby for me, something to pass the time. There are conversations with Lulu, guiltless child of a continual Bacchanalian festival to make me titter and think okay, that is something I’m going to do! Through the love and the hate of this job, in the desperate mornings ears hurting from the crackle of bad international telephone connections, grateful that I finally got a job that has taken me to a country I had never thought I would one day make me come as close to renouncing Kampala for as I have ever come; not even the friends I lost here dim the splendour here. These are my faiths that have survived. Oh now voyager, I did not know this trip would be like this!


Phoenix said...

wow, this is beautiful [and not just the part with my name]. After reading this and all your posts, i want to just sit back, exhale and look at the world in the way that would do your writing justice.

Jasmine said...

just saying i have read. no comment of mine is worthy of this.

Phoenix said...

you are right Jasmine; i feel silly leaving two. :-)

Darlkom said...

I am only ever able to say one thing to your writing. WOW!

Cinderella said...

spleandour in juba... it seems you are happy there, are you?

modoathii said...

phoenix and jas said it all. i also feel leaving a comment, other than 'clocking in' will 'stain' such great writing.

i too say 'WOW!'

and to think you wanted to close this blog...i shudder.