Friday, June 12, 2009

Venus significat humanitatem

He swings his legs over to the side of his bed, muttering under his breath words I can barely make out. I think he’s cursing or not, given his constant mantra that a man only curses because he doesn’t have the words to say what he thinks. He says that just to rile me, to rub in the painful truth that I can’t seem to stop swearing; as an affront to my supposed eloquence…

It works.

Leaning forward, elbows on his knees, he shakes his dishevelled head. He says it again and this time I hear

“What am I going to do with you?”

There’s laughter in his voice, mirthless laughter. I don’t know how to react to this statement, whether to be angry at his denigrating tone or simply continue my annoying morning ritual of humming broken tunes of all time favourites. I raise a lazy finger and trace little circles round and round on his back, from the nape of his neck to the small of his back and then back up again. He grimaces as he stands and I can tell that he is angry; angry that even after teasing, tasting, taking all night, this seemingly tame gesture can wake his exhausted body up. Angry that he is powerless to stop it. Angry that last night, as we lay asleep side by side, merging into a gigantic question mark, he held me so selfishly, so possessively as if I was only for himself. Angry, perhaps, that I know this and that it gives me so much control….

In a few minutes of hurried preparation, we are out the door and in the car. I make a comment about a project he’s working on. He laughs mockingly at what he says is a gauche and amateurish observation. I know that is his revenge, that what I said is note worthy, profound even, because his brow is furrowed in intense concentration, the way it always is when I make one of my arresting assertions.

It stings anyway; because it’s him, because he knows it matters, because I can’t say anything about it without him making it about my ‘sudden’ oversensitivity to his satirical nature. The drive is silent after that. He, fighting the overwhelming urge to be tender, me, lost in thought. I remember what Maimouna, one of Sembene Ousmane’s characters in the book God’s bits of wood, says:

“You see with us – with women – we love a man when we know nothing of him and we want to know everything. And we pursue the one we have chosen no matter what happens, no matter how he treats us. But when we have learned what we wanted to know and there is nothing left, no longer any mystery, then our interest is gone.”

No matter what happens, no matter how he treats us…..

Sometimes, because of our miserable inadequacy, we are often overwhelmed, with envy or maybe fear, by the beauty in others we feel we can’t realize. We want life; our life, their lives to be limited to the confines of reason. In our desire to grossly violate the extraordinary, to erase its existence, we sever it pretty head and in so doing, level it to the mark of acceptability.

Well, at least that is what he does and now we are in limbo, so much so that we have quietened even what we thought was the immutable voice of reason; our raison d'être, so to speak. We are driving on fumes, on memories of a happier, fuller time. Loving has become so hard, a battle. What we have now? I don’t know…..

Overtime, the pain grows and with it, the intolerable cruelty that unvoiced confusion brings. I become somewhat frightened by the abysmal hopelessness of the ever growing hurt. Somehow, it reminds me of dull pounding that, regardless of how long it lasts, you never quite get used to and in the same moment of shattered glass, flying in ever which direction and yet still shooting wide of the mark.

Silence: that’s what defines us nowadays.

So many things left unspoken for so long that we forget each other so completely; even small talk becomes immeasurably difficult. Then there’s the hidden chaos; the dissonance of restrained feeling constantly mounting to a point that you have to express it or die! At that point, clarity dawns, as if the gods, waking from deep Adam-like slumber open their sleepy eyes and deliver me.

I see the world, I see him.

I see the little boy, terrified by what he feels, by the staggering intensity of it. I see his constant struggle to fight off the demons of past hurt and his continuous failure. I see his effort to convince himself that he is worthy of me; me who always puts up a show of eternal self confidence, me who’s tricked the world into loving me and now struggles to be that which the world loves, me who he has placed on his pedestal……. Me

And I laugh at life and its absurdities, at how like the six year old boy in the play pen, he pushes me into the proverbial sand pit and screams how I smell of dog poo, leaving me in tears – bruised knee and all yet what he really wants to do is share his lunch. I laugh at the detection of his masquerade and the relief I feel in unearthing this deception. And in that moment I think that perhaps Maimouna is wrong, that even when we know all there is to know and solve the mystery, that our interest still holds and we are in as much danger of falling in love with him as we were when we knew nothing to begin with. Perhaps, I shall wait for him to out grow his fears and then share that lunch. Perhaps, I shall stay….

It is love after all, that is the sign of our humanity. And love is intangible, illogical, unreasonable; without definition.


[B2B] said...

"merged into a question mark"
You, chic
have mad mad skillz
can't wait for the Blogger Whispers to reach your joint...
and yes,

one more thing, love the choice of words you have used...

Carsozy said...

Fascinating, Captivating, I could go on..

Princess said...

Child, you went and grew awesomer while I was sleeping.
Yeah, "merged into a question mark," got me too. :)
And may I just add that you have sent me to the dictionary twice today? First Latin, then French?? I don't appreciate!

sleek said...

naaa, really? "merging into a gigantic question mark" got me too and then i get here and it got every1 else; turns out we are turned on by the same things...i always fear that your pieces bear some resemblance with reality,in which case it wd b a hard life...but as fiction,your imagination puts a whole new spin on fascinating

Shy but no one knows said...

These feelings have left me feeling like the deer caught in the headlights for you have accurately described what i keep from my love...I see the questions in her eyes but do not have the courage to tell her, that what i truly deeply want is to share my lunch.