Gaunt is the old man who lives across the compound. Gaunt is how I feel when I play your words in my head – a hit record one might call it, an album of five words – “it is over between us.” Oh let us remember to add that refrain, “May we be distant forever.” Weren’t you a pretty good singer?
When Mother puts me between her knees, her fingers buried in my African mane, trying to tame it to cooperate, I look at the old man and wonder if he has felt pain.
Pain. The pain that cuts through your emotions and right into your body. The pain caused by words, but felt by the heart, and you? You become a cracked wall, waiting for its painter. How do you manage to work such science? I want to scream from our balcony, “Old man, have you felt pain? The one that tugs at your chest?” Of course, I know he will say yes, then he will come up with that BS of old people have gone through all the things you have gone through yen yen yen.
Lies, old man, lies. If you have experienced the pain which cuts to your chest, you wouldn’t be alive. Your heart would have stopped. It wouldn’t have lived to see wrinkled skin and peaceful days. Your heart would have stopped and you would have returned to dust. Then guess what? He is going to smile and he would expose the rest of his teeth – all sixteen and a half of them. He would tell me of a scar and as he speaks, I would know he has surely known pain.
“How did you survive?”
He points to the moon.
“Time. Time comes with healing and time brings us new chapters”
“But it’s been five moons” I protest, unwilling to accept time as a healer.
“Will. Pain is staying upset for someone else’s mistakes. Unforgiveness is consuming the venom of another person’s bite. But wisdom. Wisdom is letting go of the coulda woulda shoulda.”
Mother taps me. “Aderonke, take the chair inside.” I slide my phone upwards and click “Camera” – what a beauty to behold. Mother doesn’t know how much she has done. I look at the gaunt, old man, whose bench is weary from sitting and whose smile is relentless from being beautiful,his teeth older than I am by half, and I know the moon sees me. I know he never really spoke to me and I know the answer has been in me all along. Tomorrow is another day and tomorrow is a new dawn.
With Overflowing Love,