Friday, February 18, 2011

The Pawns of Reality

Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away. It’s a part of growing up, learning things the hard way if you like. It’s a lesson for which you may need to endure endless hours of boring lectures, with no real measurable degree of finality to its insanity. Even then, only a working knowledge of this phenomenon can be hoped for, and hardly any expertise.

Many a times have I gone for the easier common course of classic denial, but ironically, that many a times I have come to realize the very same lesson I so tried to evade. Reality: that in-your-face cold-bloodedness of fact which you can only succeed in trying in vain to escape. I remember sitting up all night that cruel morning, labouring to convince myself that it hadn’t really happened. Busy trying to force my mind to disregard the plain logic my eyes had unmistakably witnessed; what my ears had infallibly heard; the insurmountable pain that had riddled my every fibre long before the truth was finally shoved down my throat, ripping my gut apart.

Despite all the evidence having been registered somewhere within my being, I still would not allow myself to believe that she was gone. I found myself conversing reclusively with my own psyche. Like a Machiavellian lawyer, I was ready to turn my back on all the proof of my loss, relentless in my effort to let her live on in my saddened intellect’s deception. The only problem though, was that this – unlike many little lies I have told myself before – was one lie everyone else could see right through. A lie that only I could fall victim to, and do so willingly, if only for a day or two more of her presence, a lack thereof that I could not even begin to fathom.

To everyone who was abreast with my forlorn figure and the knowledge of her sudden progression to non-existence, my headstrong commitment to forge on without ever flinching met mixed reaction. Within the week or two before her epitaph on her headstone was finally inscribed and cast - for all intents and purposes - into a wilderness, some thought my apparent nonchalance improper. Others yet commended my display of bravery for the sake of my siblings. But when you don’t have too much in the way of options, you tend to stick to your guns. I refused to conform, refused to do what I ‘should’ have been doing. Only much later did I come to understand that there was no should  , no script, to grieving a mother.

One thing remained as sure as the very death that had robbed me of her; sooner or later reality would hit home...and hit it did. In fact, it didn’t quite hit home, much as it tore it down and blew every bit of it away. I’ve heard it said that grief looks different on everybody, and I certainly didn’t make it look too good. I know, it shouldn’t have, but in my effort to stand firm, I actually pushed beyond my limits, zooming past the stages of acceptance in an inebriated blur, only to awake to the buzz of sober defiance every next dawn.

It’s hard to understand why it’s always the good ones that seem to go first, and to a great degree, the harsh reality of reality itself drove me to justify doing the wrong thing. After all, the villain always ends up smiling doesn’t he? That’s the sad thing with justifications – their repercussions do not ever occur to us beforehand, and in the off chance that they do, we tend to be at the ready, bat in hand, itching to go down swinging at them.

Friends, however, can be a timely lifeline in the most abyssal of oceanic trenches we find ourselves drowning in when fate turns a deaf ear to our pleas. I came to learn that even the youngest – in some cases even the most immature – of friendships can be what little resource our existence requires to cope with the darkness of reality. I now see that whereas all the hope I could ever grasp at could only really bring me as close to her as a photo could allow, the one resort that keeps me coming back to life is her virtue; the personality she managed to lend me in fortification of my own.

Days when I loaded my gun and cocked it ready to blow my despairing inexistence away, her hand would jam on the trigger; her memory would jilt me awake when I tried to fade away in sleep; and every moment I felt like taking leave from the drones of life, her own determination for it would shame me into taking that extra step. Now I have finally found the will to move on, dug myself out of my own grave; for her memory points out who I am, who she always meant for me to become. I choose to be here, for this – unlike the series of coincidences and plans, sorrows and tragedies, skill and luck my life has borne – this I can actually control. This is, after all, my reality.

And while there are ephemeral moments when I feel the urge to summon my life’s chess-master and question him on the absurdities of it all – and by question I mean torture to the point of death – this realization has helped restore an aspect of feigned sanity back into my life. Eventually, there is wisdom in avoiding a quarrel between our past and our present, lest we lose the bearing on our future. I very nearly did, having had to deal with irritatingly incessant clichés in the way of emotional acumen from my unwitting hearties.

I found myself thinking, every time one of those was bandied around towards me in what I can only imagine was empathy:

Everything happens for a reason...

'Gimme one good one that applies here...'

She’s in a better place...

'Really? What better place could you possibly have in mind?'

Thing is, everyone who believes in an afterlife hopes to be headed towards Shangri-La, yet not one of them wants to hear that their date with the hereafter has been brought forward to, say, next week. So, she’s in a better place? Spare me the brouhaha, because frankly you’d be at pains akin to childbirth just trying to imagine the peculiarities of the extent to which such sentiments lack meaning to me. The ironic beauty of being barely on the other side of this battered bridge is that my relation with others in similar fate in my later years will be guided by hindsight, and the insight that we share only a grand plan – a theorem – of reality. Its practical applications and implications in our lives, however, are pretty much situational.

Life is only 10 percent what we make it. The other 90 is all about how we take it.

RIP Ma,  


  1. Thanx dear. Writing this for me was all part of the recovery process I guess. Sometimes you just have to say something, and for the last two and a half years I haven't managed to say it without getting angry or frustrated or one of the many other negative emotions that tend to engulf many an exasperated human. So that's a step forward i guess. In you I know that friendship part of the passage is well and truly meant. We got history :) Cheers. Keep on reading and I'll keep on spinning the web...

  2. I have gone thro ur blog from yesterday reading all the posts, and each time i go from one to the other i think....damn that's some good stuff until i got to this the way u express ur emotions-raw and so real..... motivates me to deal with some of my issues from my past :-)
    Indeed 'Life is only 10 percent what we make it. The other 90 is all about how we take it'
    May she rest in peace

  3. @ Wambui. Thanx for the support dear.

    Any gem is born a gem, but for it to really be priceless and sparkle its delight to all, a gem must feel the friction of polish. Man is made better by his trials. Cheers dear :)Am always here if you need a friendly ear.

    And may she indeed rest in peace.

  4. it is so beautiful, real and vivid.
    The truth in it is so deep that even a stranger reads it and feels the emotion so depicted. Amaizing.

  5. Thanx Dee. Twas an impulsive thing. Sat down one night reading through the messages I received from friends during that time, and one particularly led me to writing this. That's probably why it's so intensely emotional.

    I had to say something, and this was the only way I felt it could be said after so long...


Your comments are highly appreciated.