Monthly Archives: December 2011

wHo arE YOU?

“Are you a ghost?  I mean, like the one that appears to Scrooge?  Are you here to show me my past?  I already know what I’ve done.  I’d rather be spared the shame of reliving it.  Leave me alone.”

“I am not a ghost.”

“Are you going to show me my past?”

“Do you want me to show you your past?”

“No.”

“You sound afraid.”

“I’m not afraid.”

“You also sound lonely.  Are you lonely?”

“You haven’t told me who you are?”

“You haven’t answered that last question.”

“No.  I am not lonely”

“I am only here to help you.”

“I didn’t ask for your help.”

“Then why am I here?”

“I don’t know, but I don’t need you.  You haven’t done anything to help me.  You rarely talk to me.  I call out to you when I don’t know what to do, or when I’m confused, and you refuse to answer.  But here you are, out of nowhere, speaking to me like you suddenly care.  Why now?  Even when I said I was leaving you, you remained silent.”

“I thought you didn’t know who I am.”

“Of course I know.  I just don’t understand you.”

“Not many people do.  Come.  Walk with Me.”

“Where are we going?”

“Just walk with Me.  Look over there.”

“I don’t see anything.”

“Keep looking.  Do you see now?”

“I see myself.  I see myself as I was last night.  On the couch watching TV.”

“But you are not really watching.”

“No.  I’m thinking.  But, my mind is also blank because I don’t know where to direct my thoughts.”

“Do you see who is beside you?”

“…Yes…that’s…that’s you.  You’re by my side.  And…and you’re crying.  Why?”

“Because you were unable to shed any tears on your own.  You wanted to, but couldn’t.  You think I don’t listen, but I do.  I chose when to speak, and in some instances, like this, I weep when you can’t.  In other instances, I laugh with you in your happiness.”

“I don’t know what to say.  I don’t even know if hearing that makes me feel better.”

“Do you trust Me?”

“I don’t know.”

“Walk with me.”

“Where are we going?”

“On a journey.  You’ll see when we get there.”

“You’re not mad at what I said?  About me not being sure if I can trust You.”

“No.  I cherish your honesty.  I can handle it.”

“May I take Your hand?”

“I already have you in My arms.”

“Yes, You actually do.  Wow… Well… going back to what you said earlier…I guess I am a little afraid….and lonely.”

“I know.”

“Will you stay with me?”

“I never left.  I have been with you since before the beginning of time.”

“May we start again?  I would like us to start again.  My name is Debby.”

“I am Immanuel”

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a PaRtiaL wOrK oF FiCtioN (2): LaW & oRdeR

1. The accusation, The accused

I take a seat on a hard wooden chair that is surprisingly comfortable, given the splinters that poke me as I lean back.

I notice a girl sit in front of me at roughly the same moment.

“good, you’re on time.  That is very satisfactory indeed.  I don’t like wasting my time with late comers.”

The girl has what seems to be a worried look on her face, but is silent.  I continue on:

“well, let’s see here” fumbling with the papers in front of me, “so, to confirm, you are the accused, and the accusation: extreme cowardice.

The main light flickers on and off.  This is very bothersome to me, so I switch it off and lean forward to turn on the side lamp instead.  It is just about adequate.  I notice the girl once more, although not as clearly as before.

She is leaning forward, her arms crossed in front of her on the table that separates us both.  Flawless skin and inoffensive countenance.  A look well below her age.  Will she be able to handle the indictment?

We must begin.

2. The informal trial

“How do you plead?”

“You have to answer”

“If you do not, I can hold you in contempt.”

“Very well, i can see you are scared and alone.  I can only assume that, were you to speak, your choice would be “not guilty””

“Now let us look at the evidence.”

“You were blaming others for their weakness to stand up for what they believe in.  What have you stood for?  You were heard using such words as “yellow-belly”, “sell-out”, “push-over”.  You even used the very word of which you are accused “coward”.  Is this so?”

(Pause)

“I will keep on going until you decide to say something”.

“Your revulsion toward the layman is very apparent, even though you yourself are a layman.  You chose to reprimand them for not doing anything better with their lives.  Your cowardice is so well embedded in you that you wont even venture to voice these views.  They remain silent opinions.  In fact, let us add “hypocrisy” to the charge.  I’m sure you wont protest.  You haven’t raised any objections so far.”

“Let us move onto the final.  The bringing down of your friends because you were too stubborn to see that everyone makes mistakes.  You wore them down with your taunts and jeers, never once looking inward to see if you were qualified to pass these judgements.  In fact, let us add “pride” to this charge.”

“Now what do you have to say?”

(Pause)

“DAMN IT, SPEAK UP”

“SPEAK UP”

“DO YOU DENY THESE CHARGES?”

Her mouth is open, as if to say something, but I don’t let her.

“COWARD…HYPOCRITE…PROUD…IS THIS YOU?”

“SPEAK UP?”

once again her mouth opens, but I interject.

‘I AM TIRED OF PEOPLE LIKE YOU AND YOUR ARROGANCE”.

My hand hurts as I slam it down onto the table while standing up.  I point at her, but cannot see her because the shadows from the lamp don’t allow me to from the standing position.  But I can tell she is afraid.  It puzzles me that I can sense this, but I don’t give it much thought because of my outrage toward her.

“I am ready for my verdict.  You stand accused.”

3. The verdict

GUILTY

4. The accusation, The accused

I am satisfied with this verdict.  It has released the strain of the trial.

Just at that moment, someone passes by. “I am a great admirer of your work” they say to me.  “Would you autograph this picture of yourself for me?”

Filled with a sense of great importance, I take the photo and hold it to the light.  Something is wrong.  This can’t be me.  But I’ve seen her before.

My blood becomes chilled within me as I now begin to understand why I was aware of her feelings.

I sit back down, she does the same.  The once comfortable chair now distresses me.

I stretch out my hand and it is stopped by an invisible screen.  Our hands touch at exactly the same points.

I am her, and she is me.  I touch my face, she touches hers.  Our skin, wrinkled.  Out countenance, worn.

Our synchronised movements are only now becoming clear to me.

She stands accused, and so do I.

our accusation: cowardice, hypocrisy, pride

The accused: Me


wHeN i was NiNe

Sitting at the desk, staring out the window admiring the clear skies.

I am thinking about past and present dreams.

“I will cure the world of AIDS”, were the words that sprung from my mouth, aged nine.  The words of innocence.  My play tool was a stethoscope.  It was my attraction.  Creativity was my craving.  It was my aspiration to impact those around me who were going through distress as well as to exhibit my artistry.

But then we get older and begin to see the hidden malevolence of the world that skirts corners.  It creeps into our souls, this malevolence.  It strips us of our being.  And for a long while, it stripped me of mine.

We get tired and worn out, until one day, all we can do is hang our tools out to dry, to rust, to fade away.

If we are lucky, if we don’t lose ourselves to the world, we can rise up once more.  If we are lucky.

But there must first come a point of recognition where we chose to let go of the weariness, of the burdens that have built up through the years.  This recognition can be quite subtle.

A metaphor.  An unreal, but yet real happening:

I am seated on a sofa.  I am indoors.  I am alone.

The TV is off.  The music is not playing.  The only sound being those of the neighboring environment.

I hear a creaking – a creaking disguised as words.

Or is it the other way around?  Does it matter?

I look out the window and see a solitary clothes line swinging in its decayed form. Its rusty ends providing the creaking.

Something hangs on the line.  It’s far away, but I can still see it.

I pull the line until the object is near enough to touch.  I now see, they are the tools I hung out when I was nine, barley recognisable to anyone but me, the original visionary.

When I was nine, I had a dream, but now my dream has me.

It’s calling.  It waited all these years before choosing to speak once more.

It speaks so low, I nearly missed it. “It is time to follow your dream.”

“But you are both so corroded.  Time has destroyed you.”

“Time has only momentarily hidden us, but in time, you will learn to use us once more.”

And that is how I will describe my moment of cognizance.

Since then, I have allowed myself to dream again.  To pursue where my heart leads.

I think of my next move as I sit at the desk, staring out the window admiring the…rain???  When did that start?  Has it always been raining?


a WoRk oF FicTioN (1)

I can’t let them see me as I peep from where I am.  The beautiful Christmas tree in the corner.  All those presents…I wonder what’s in them.

More people are starting to arrive and gather near the tree.  If I step out any further, they’ll know I’m here.

Someone is inching toward the gifts.  She opens hers, it’s something small.  I can’t see what it is.  Looks like a letter.  No one else takes much notice.  It’s probably insignificant anyway.

Someone else goes for theirs.  Yes, this is bigger…much much bigger.  They’ve all gathered around to see…I also want to see.  If I edge a little closer?  No, musn’t risk it.

“ooohh, it’s beautiful.”

They said it’s beautiful…what is it?  WHAT IS IT?

“A new house” (SHRIEK)

A new house they say?  That’s not bad…that’s not bad at all.  What have the others got?…A car, their mortgage paid off, a trip around the world, new love. (gasp)

They laugh and dance their way out of this room and into the next.  I can now make my way in, stepping over the wrapping paper strewn around, some gifs carelessly tossed aside – hmm, a large inheritance sum.

The cold wind blows into this room from the open window; the satin white curtain drifts effortlessly in the air.

I slump down with my back to the wall – one of these days, I’ll open a gift that makes my heart sing.

A paper rustles close by.  I look to the side and the girl with the letter is sat next to me.  Her head rests on my shoulder, something I did not feel until now.  The piece of paper, her present, is crumpled in her hand.  She opens it out, I take it.  It reads:

Your gift:  You will not be alone

on this journey that scares you

I look at the girl, her body seems riddled with disease and pain, something I hadn’t noticed before.  She contorts herself to try and stand.

Now it is my turn to crumple the paper in my hands.  I squeeze it tight.  I am angry.  How can this gift be satisfactory?  Is it not just a cruel joke?  Surely perfect health would be more apt. Something that would cause her to dance with the others…but this…this is unacceptable.

But even as I think these things, she continues to move her body until she stands fully upright.

She stretches out her hand, which I accept and stand with her.

Looking into her eyes, I see gratitude there for my presence and then I know.  This gift is all she needs, and I’m here for her.

She takes my hand as we walk together, neither of us alone, on this journey that scares.