Monday 1 July 2013

Thought Picnic: Before you call him a man?

In distance and in nearness
Distant and near has been the journey from home, distant in person and near in the mind, distant in its reality but near in the memory, distant in the possible but near in the impossible, the ambiguity and ambivalence of existence captured in realities that life is changing and priorities are shifting as one becomes more distant to others and near to oneself.
It was never easy, the hold that beliefs had on all of them that led to initiations into activities that simply weakened the bonds whilst creating longings that none could fulfil as needed and left the journeyed way out at sea that there was no boat to go home.
Once of the same beliefs
What the eyes have seen that reside in the memory is no more the reality, it is far gone that it has become the stuff of dreams, dreams that relive times that can never be now but come into the now with fearful impact from the unresolved, the undiscussed, the unsolved and the ignored.
There is anger, there is regret, when they could have listened to each other, they attacked each other and now that the listening could have been of the greatest value the bridges are too tattered for a crossing that risks a plunge down into eternal oblivion, they have grown more distant and never so near.
They all once believed the same, attended the same temple and grew knowing it did not have to be hard, at least that is what the children thought but amongst them, they fought, they railed, the jostled and rivalled.
They did things
She went out to wildernesses of supplications to prophets of the eerier and the utterly bizarre, rituals of incantations derived from Psalms prayed into all sorts of liquids, candles lit to outshine the sun, there were enemies everywhere; at home, at work, amongst enemies, amongst friends, within family and far abroad, to her marriage, against her children, they were consumed in a never ending battle of Psalmist wars that they were never sure they will win, each glimmer of hope was one that was almost but never grasped.
He had his issues, always denying lechery but seemingly always compromised, a dab hand at the core animist rituals, shaved heads, tortoise shells, charms and many more things that unlike her were kept away from the purview of the kids, discretion was evident and at play though in the end you never knew what he believed, the old or the new, the customary or the fashionable, he seemed to be able to straddle both systems in marriage, in involvement and in engagement belying a maturity to be envied.
He saw things
The boy was lost in all worlds of identity, discovery, expression and impression, each path seemed fraught with danger and peril, he never found the opportunity to reach out when it really mattered, things happened in ways that brought the empathetic out of her and the sceptic out of him.
It all culminated in one fateful night when earlier in the day, the stories shared to the hearing feasted on the most fertile imagination that as the dark came, it was able to create apparitions that only those eyes could see and voices only those ears could hear, all in the presence of people who could not understand the beginning of the knowledge of fear that brought terror beyond the control of all around.
Whatever it was, he had seen the devil and that was twice in 6 hours, red-chested, horned, tall and scary did not begin to describe it, he has searched and been unable to determine what that phrase he heard in middle of the night was – Poofau! Poofau! It was terror that put horror to flight and the gateway to much else that defined a journey that has never found words.
His road made out
Rituals too many to all sorts of religious practitioners and charlatans, baths in houses and groves, in forests and in pits, with lizards and too many unmentionable, everyone brought a story, a view, a prophecy or a reading, tackling it from all corners, he ate the inedible like performing magic tricks, scarified to draw blood on all parts of the body with all sorts of concoctions rubbed in, he had become a reliquary of absurd unexplainable theologies and a living receptacle of fetish practices that were forgotten lifetimes ago.
Conflicts came with the urge to break away when they were needed and then he veered off on a tangent of religious beliefs that left them first scared, then hostile and ultimately implacable, the purposes for which one was to exist failed as this path offered nothing but the reality of great disappointment.
Cursed from the source
One Sunday, he returned from church, she was livid with rage that the order never to believe as one had now chosen to believe was defied and there and then in her room, she stripped and cursed her son from the womb from whence he originally came that if he defies her again he will wander away never to be seen again.
He never understood the significance, there was nothing to fear from that act and they never talked about it afterwards though he did defy and did continue to do what he believed for himself and with that came separation and distance unbeknownst to the man who probably would have been absolutely livid with rage with her having tolerated much of her deviation from the conventional into the esoteric.
A wilderness of the world
He has however wandered away, far from all that is conventional, proper and expected, charting his own course away from prying eyes, he has died to emotions that once made them near, nostalgia is only a matter of taste than presence, the memories are things one lives, but the pictures today are too difficult to look at, the changes that come with age have wizened them all, they are all closer to the grave and as distant as ever in life.
That distance was consolidated when he found himself in hospital with just 5 weeks to live if the medicines did not work, he was there alone though maybe not alone, who could tell, but they were not there. He fought to live but lost everything else apart from the hope that something might just be made of a life that has done much and wasted much – time, resource, opportunity, fortune and relationships – regrets that could sink a man loom but they are ones you strive daily to walk away from.
How many roads must a man walk down, before they call him a man? To them, he has not walked enough roads and to him, he is honestly past caring, he cares enough for the basic connection that has history and a past but the present brings some resentment, some anger, some bitterness and very little forgiveness – this is not even half the story but it is a start - the wander in the wastelands of the world continue as tomorrow, if it comes, becomes another day.

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