Saturday, March 5, 2011

Ode to a Partingale

Fred Wambugu Maina ©. All rights reserved


To a word, this was the only correspondence I have had with her in a span of three tired months. Or at least the only one of any real consequence.

 - What happened to us?

What? I'll tell you more than just that. I'll give you the whys, the wherefores, the whens and hows. And maybe after that you can tell me the who. Because I still remember how wave after wave of fury surged up inside me only to be suppressed like a bad sneeze. Seat across you, watching as you flirted casually with some rough-looking braggadocio. How I peppered my food and slowly began to play around with it, for that was all the energy I could summon at that moment. Had I tried to swallow any of it, I feared my trachea would have found reason to give me the easy exit my eyes had been scouring the pub for.

However, I just sat there, like a zombie; feeling betrayed, sad and dazed all at one go. That you could have concealed so much from me...but more so, that looking deep in your eyes, I confirmed one of the worst of my fears, if not the very worst. The deepest hollows of my heart ached; like a caged tiger, I wanted to lash out. Just spring for the kill. For this one was surely, as so often tagged, irreconcilable. Not open, not complicated. Just quits.

But I would have to bear the differences; you had after all warned me, matter-of-factly told me, that this eventuality would come. And asked that I not hate you when it did. Of course I had thought the when would have taken longer than all of two months to get here, and assured you that it would never happen.

So what choice did that leave me? At that very juncture, as if by incorporeal intervention, I calmed down. With every spoonful I took, every bitter sensation felt in my lips from the hot curry, renewed vigour set in, replacing the urge I had in my gut that threatened to make me hurl. I would not cry for you, I told myself, and even if I did, 'my tears would have a solid alibi', thus spoke Plausible Deniability. What I would do was amend my misconceptions. For what more was love than the very stepping-stone to self-humiliation? The lows I had stooped to for your joys were a shaming picture etched in cast iron at the recesses of me mind. And for what? Let me introduce you to the biggest conspiracy ever told; that of make-belief. That of love.

The emotional man I was with you had to take a step back as a barricade cordoned my heart off to a far off island of retribution, its perimeter walls dwarfing the Great Chinese one, and complete with armed sentries. What breath and life I had thought there was in my affection for you vanished like a candle in Katrina. For if love had life, then what would give it the supernatural authority not to ebb away?

More on principle than any real cognitive evaluation, I sat you down; promised that our friendship would prevail against the winds of any storm. And meant most words of it. Even in the most humanely subjective of situations, my creed was to find rationale, a canon I have retained to this day. An excerpt from Jung comes to mind, fashioned of course to fit the memory that is you:

Indeed, personally you managed to impassion, delight and disturb many crucial days of my year. I remember thinking how your face had a nervous intensity, and certainly, plunged into such a situation, surrounded by such a gallery of seemingly carefree people dancing the night away, a young lady such as you might have had to withdraw behind defences. As such, I understood your reaction. Did not brook it, but could nonetheless perceive to tolerate it.

An essentially lonely person, even in childhood, my heightened sensibilities quickly revealed themselves to a number of perspective teachers, one of whom encouraged my young ability to write poetry. And so I did it, more as a passionate form of self-expression than with any real hope of publication. Soon after, I barely did it at all.

Yet, emotionally intense, with an irresistible charisma, you had waltzed in and physically been the very incarnation of my poems. My muse. The intense femininity had matched my masculinity, your emotional responses as raw as mine were powerful. Your brain no less quick and responsive, if it lacked the depth, erudition and range. But the surfaces I had so been enamoured by on our first meeting couldn't have concealed an identity more unplumbed. Within the powerfully preserved persona, immense conflicts were troubling you, but you carried out the prescribed duties you put yourself to with complete propriety, smiley emoticons pasted all over your face.

Genuine pride in your own integrity somehow reconciled itself with deep humility, and every smile brought to life a glimmering of that fascinating femininity which could melt away all your superficial harshness. A remarkable creature with an excellent feeling for stagecraft and the arts, I shared with you my intellectual pursuits, and you inspired my creations. 'Femme inspiratrice'...a definition they must have coined, nay proposed, specifically with your regard.

And so today, by pure design and after mature reflection, I sit down once again, if only for one last flight, to pen down 'what happened to us'. What you were to me. How with a simple statement of truth, you had restructured my life to a miniature abode best and only suited for Old Nick. A reconstruction of that fateful night, and the fatality my invitation had spurred into a lively façade. For to this day I still feel we'd be in a better situation had I just gone out with my chums and left you home.

Hence, and after those painful words, you and I slowly began fading into the dark labyrinths of remembrance. The mechanic procession to that distant past after such long hibernation seems like a mistake. Even though my words are hearty, reminiscence rocking and echoing in them as they narrate the tale of us, I cannot help but wonder. Thoughts wander as to why you want a start-over. Wonder if the time - shortened by friends - when I was alone in bed, is not about to begin again if I let it. The nights whose silence spoke such billowing volumes. Days when I resigned myself to fate, and the inevitability it had ordained for me, as I struggled to ignore your overwhelming scent all over my sheets. The strength it took to finally soothe the last vestiges of anger, despair and a sense of betrayal I had tacked away in the grottoes of my chest.

Am I really ready to risk that draining procedure all over? Of course you may never get to hear this words, and that -really - is the crux of the matter. These words are my own little reminder, a testament to what could happen if I say yes. If I try again.

But in earnest, those drab little ifs bear no real implications. I have after all climbed back up that horse; saddled up a wild mustang that darn near left me paraplegic the last time I mounted it. Only time will tell what a right nincompoop am making of myself.

One last deep one....hmmmmph. I make for the plunge.


  1. interesting work of art :-)

    Keep on riding and the chances are you will stumble on something, perhaps when you are least expecting it. I have never heard of anyone stumbling on something sitting down...

  2. He he... Thanx dear. Will do just that. You're officially my first fan :)

  3. 2nd fan here!!!
    Really lovely piece! Am quite jazzed :) Cant stop smiling, hehe! Yeah... keep doing that

  4. Another fine mamacita is a fan! Must be doing something right eh...Thanx for the plaudits keep doing what I do best; even if I do say so myself yawa! :)

  5. The depth of emotions in this piece makes me wanna strangle whoever that is who fueled it's writing. But I ges that's just how life is.....

  6. Thou truly art my sister. Nikimpata tutamnyonga pamoja then we share the jail term :) Bora u go in first. Ghe ghe in kucheka ka Kiraitu :D

  7. Thanx Sonificent. We do what we can in the shallow depths of this sea called emotion. And if that means swimming with the shark that bit you to feel alive...then so be it. Cheers for reading :)


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