• Vol. 10
  • Chapter 07

What It Means To Love

There’s a shivering in the distance, the bending of clouds and rainbows. A promise of wet moments. Perhaps the tongue knows better ways to proclaim this beauty, but it’s the body that holds the fascinated one together. The unmistakable feeling of being mothered into safety and murdered in carefree style. He finds wings and the birds leave his chest, pulsing, flapping, taking him into the beauty of nothing being certain. Somehow this is enough.

Say, the world reclines tonight. A moment everything is as it should be, and the next, swallowed in the vast ether of eternal destruction. Say, a Nigerian walks into a room and finds a picture; of warmth and reckless loving, it’s a gradual undressing of a wound in his childhood. So he leans closer, and seeks an appraisal. There, face to face with unspoken traumas, he bursts into tears. Hot on the cheeks, he hides that spurt of emotion, says “It’s alright” when a mother pushes a trolley with her kid inside. She didn’t ask, but he feels inclined to provide an explanation. Somehow the world goes on.

On the way home, he remembers: the books. What would the Everette image be without them? On the mother’s laps, it makes the child situated a bit on her side. Which might say, all beauty is useful beyond its temporary dazzle. Which is, words might not immediately describe the sky, but the kid would one day cherish having the gift to do so. And for the second time that night, he breaks into tears, his red eyes meeting the cab driver’s in the front mirror. Somehow this doesn’t feel strange, and so he mulls briefly about asking for a tissue, but soon the thundering skies part, releasing rain, washing away the weight of his tears.


What It Means To Love

There’s a shivering in the distance. Oh, the night calls. Flashes of gray, intermittently wrenching away the dark streak of night sky, and the rain would have another turn in sparking his melancholy. Africans believe some gifted people can hold the rain; but, really, what’s happening is a bending of natural forces, a candy placed in the childlike mouth of nature. Feed one thing and prevent its instinctive lashing out. That assurance sobers him the next morning, and instead of logging into Twitter, he reaches for the nearest book. He situates a sentence in the paragraphs of his life, and with an editor’s clarity makes mental questions of the loopholes in the plot lines. He resolves to be better.

And when the ghost of his former self finds him reaching the stairs of nirvana, he looks back and says, “I have revealed my wounds”. Nothing more, nothing less. An image comes to him later that day, and it’s of the mother’s face: eyes closed, cheeks flushed, caught in the sacrifice of holding the one who imagines. It’s this image that brings his own mother to mind, and for the magic of that memory, he smiles, finally.