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February 26, 2024

Coming up for air

By Abigail George

I have become weary of fighting wars. Of standing at the threshold of waiting. I have become wary of the experience that comes with the effort of sustaining love. I tell myself that I could never be with him because he was tall. Tall and beautiful. He had long fingers but all I could see was a balled-up fist. My head bouncing off a wall. Yes, he might have had beautiful hands.

Spoke in educated and dulcet tones but I knew, in the end, he was not the one. Mikale was not meant for me, and in the end, came discipline, superfluity, human will, and the beauty of the small, helpless constellations found in strength. The seizing of progress, spiritual prosperity, and irony found in life.

It is the strangest feeling in the world when the familiar, (youth), is no longer on your side. You're no longer the creator but a memory. Once the memory was vivid. The memory of you had many colours. It, (youth), could sate your thirst. It had a depth to it, a dogged and serious nature, even an ego but now it has a false illusion that carries with it many secrets. A Namaqualand of flowers. A Namibia. The wasteland of an identity that could summon even flowers at will. The intellectual or physicality. To age sometimes feels as if you are making or rather moving mountains politely. With no wrong. With no wrong. Shaping valleys that sing with the force of winds, human beings, the sun, the bright shine of nature, the gentle genetic simplicity of the relationship between Noah and his animals. When it comes to the customs, the rituals of aging we begin to catch up to our parents. Middle-age. Mortality, death, solitude and yet, we can still live. Fall in love repeatedly. Live in isolation. Laugh at will.

In all of the profuse tidiness of mother nature, the drama of leaves falling to the ground, I fill the hours with the pleasure of writing, interpreting the heritage that I find in water. The purity of the sea and the river flowing into that sea. Filling the ocean with the tumult of salt, light, life, fish, oppression. The wired wild fused with the voices, the waves, the cloth of both wilderness and wasteland. The autumn chill is impending and so is the solitary wave of the sealed letters of temporary discontent. These shadows of honey and milk. The action of the swarm that comes during the day beat with a rhythmic assurance. These shadows that have a self-aware awakening and with that comes the birth of giving. Grace. Mercy. Generosity. Memory. Yearning. Compulsion. The birth of a writer's diary. Lines written after communion make allowance for a childlike imagination and for joy. Our lungs are furnished with guise, confidence, energy, matter. So are the distant genetic inheritance in our cells. The quiet found in our chromosomes. Our selfish organs possessed with the muscle of concentration. Focus. Clarity of thought. Speech silver. Silence golden. The silver linings of glory. The world is cold when you're a girl with no man by her side to teach her about life, or even a woman on her own for that matter, I have come to discover.

This is written in praise of unity and solidarity amongst young men. There is a flux. Voids even in the origins of night and day if you look up and into the fabric of the eyes, the windows, the soul of the night sky. The worry of the touch of the dangerous and dejected despair of hardship. I have the keys to the radiance of the ancient stars found in the realm of a dark city. Another rainy season, and I wondered what she's told other people about me. After the silence, of winter rain that has moistened the ends of the world. Every branch is a living thing. Indigenous, familial or otherwise. Branches are full of meaning, silence, preludes. I'm so worn out with the energy of trying to live. Liberated and innocent she walked the streets of Prague while I juggled my world in Africa meticulously. The sleep of my brother's child.

The filament of nightfall in another country. The gravity of love. After all these years, here is me letting go of rage. Letting go of solitude. Aging. Life. Grief and death. The milk and honey and manna of the fabric of difficulty. Sibling rivalry. The disillusion found in poverty.

When I look into my sister's face and meet her eyes, it is like looking into another world. Coming up for air. A world I recognise from childhood. It is like looking at the complex life of stars. A galaxy filled with constellations and starlit black holes. She's her own person now.

You will find me writing, sitting at my father's desk most afternoons. Removing oppression from life.

There are ways of diversity made of iron when it comes to gender. The opposite sex. The female gender. The song of the feminine. Children under the age of eight love my mother.

They worship her. Fall asleep in her arms. They adore her glowing red lips. Her magazine hair and fashionable clothes. The scarf around her head to keep her hair in place. My father brought both a manic utopia and his bipolar life with him. The apocalypse. Wherever he went I followed. The dutiful little schoolgirl. I was always a little bit in awe of him. His high mountains. Complex rivers. The pastures in his environment found in valleys. I still am. Mum, well, today she's giving him the silent treatment. Thinks she has nothing to say to him. She's screaming at him at the top of her lungs. She called him a homosexual once but what's so especially bad about that except that he's her husband. The father of her three children. She cannot bear to let him touch her anymore so they sleep in separate beds but in the same room. It's a bit like living on an island surrounded by applause. So, in return her children scream at her. Shut her out of their lives but at the same time, they cling to their mother's apron strings because she is all that they know of mother love. Documentaries taught them about the assassinated writer and academic, Rick Turner. The assassinated communist leader, Chris Hani. That great leader, Patrice Lumumba, and the celebrated poet, Maya Angelou. If my mother had loved me, perhaps I would have been a different person. So, I write to silence the pain of the false illusion I have of her.

Article © Abigail George. All rights reserved.
Published on 2017-11-06
Image(s) are public domain.
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