By Kendi Gloria
I have always been strange, since I was young. I used to talk to the couches that my mother imported from Ghana. She said the Ankara material was really nice. I only liked the royal purple seats because they had this tranquil feel. She really loved them. In the first few weeks after they were bought I was not allowed to sit on them unless I showered first. Especially when I came home from school; most of the time my otherwise neatly pleated skirt was stained with the dirt I siphoned from under the Jambula tree. I talked to the seats telling them my troubles. Telling them how I found a nice tree bark to write my name on. And sometimes even, how I spent a day crying under a tree because my classmates laughed at my hands that were too big, I was never good enough for them.
Over time I became more dramatic. I still talked out my grief, but now to wine glasses. I’d speed home dodging obstacles on my way like a mad man and once at the gate I would leave the car parked haphazardly on the drive way while I stormed into the house with the sobs already choking my throat demanding to be set free. I would then collapse onto the nearest surface and open the floodgates, that are my eyes, to flow and then have wine. I liked my glass half full, so that after a few sips I’d be able to swirl the drink in the glass without it pouring out with the class of a Hollywood actress. I’d hold the bottom of the glass with the palm while gripping the stem firmly in between my fat fingers. Unlike my earlier expectation my hands never reduced in size. In fact my body never grew in proportion and my hands remained to be just as they were; huge chunks of flesh standing gawkily on my body. Many a times I drank my tears mingled with wine. I was in campus then.
And when I grew older, there came a day I needed that sort of therapy. You see, I was placed in a position at work that left me undaunted; way up the ranks of power. When at first I received the news of my apparent promotion, I was overwhelmed. It felt nice to be in a position where no one had the power to crush me. It became my new-found hobby to crush others instead. And now owing to the new façade I had acquired, it had been a while since I had expressed my grief. This suppression had significantly become my detriment. Most of the time emotions did not quite move me. I loathed how I had grown up to be a cold woman; I was easily a walking cube of ice. But on that day things would be different, I would seek the therapy I knew too well. I remembered fondly how I walked with a resolve, though shallow, quite visible in my stride. That day, I decided, I would let out the child in me and nothing would deter me!
Oh how I talked on that day!! I talked of the weather with gusto; I told myself I needed the sun’s consistency. I needed the will to pierce through the clouds of my life and at the same time I needed to be soft enough to allow the moon take over, even though for a while. I told myself that I needed the warmth of the morning sun and the radiance of the evening sun. I needed the serenity of the stars, I needed to twinkle.
I talked to the desk at the office; I told it of the parallels I could draw from both our lives. We were both cold and stationary and with no doubt unhappy. Sometimes even stale. I told it of how I would cajole myself into a joyful life and how I would be happy henceforth. I talked to the fragile glass door. I said to it how fragile I felt. I told it of the fragile state of life, of happiness. I felt pity for the both of us-easily breakable. But I refused to be broken. I made a resolution to be glass reinforced with ceramic.
I talked to the elevator on my way out of the office. I told it of the ups and downs of the life I had chosen. How I would be down and expected to be up quick enough for the sake of other people’s leisure. I told it of the weight I was forced to bear every day; mostly from the past. A weight too heavy yet I never creaked. I told it I would try not to break down, not to malfunction.
And when I was home I talked to my wine glass. I told it of my grief, of my empty life, of my vague reality. I told it of my hazed visions brought about by layers and layers of tears that never matured enough to leave my eyes solely to see the world. And on that day, they left my eyes. They demanded to be set free. And I saw clearly, there on the carpet while drinking wine laced with my tears; tears of a weary soul.