On Evernote

Words have never been more meaningless than when I attempted to repair my previous relationship. Nothing I said or wrote worked.

I really messed up. I feel like a monster. Maybe I am such a bad person, maybe I am the monster I feel like. If I was a better person, I would have spared her the agony and I would not be in this deep dark emotional funk.

I have avoided using Evernote since we broke up because this is where our shared words live, those now empty collections of phrases which were going to be the threads to stitch us back together. It is where we put our shared ambitions, our plans, our thoughts and where we tracked our progress. And now, it is where I can track my heartbreak.

During the tense weeks when I struggled to fix our relationship, I somehow managed to keep my dreams alive, skating around the edge of despair and not falling in. Then I saw my complicated fantasy edifice come crashing down. Standing in the rubble, I gazed around myself with clear eyes and shuddered at what I saw and Evernote was part of that chaos.

I see the titles of the notes and fear delving into their contents. I avoid the reminders of darker days, darker for the unfulfilled hopes and dashed dreams they hold, suggestions of the crystal glass of my yearning against the will of a jilted lover, razor-sharp shards on the pages.

Evernote became where my scrambling to hold on to her found a home. I often think of deleting my account. For now, I will keep it and its contents. Maybe one day I will look back and see how far I will have come. Maybe, with these new words and their promise of catharsis, I can reclaim that space for myself.

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On Wanting

I watched Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 yesterday night and part of this morning. I thoroughly enjoyed the puerile humour, the visual effects, and the music. The story line was predictable and cliched, however, it did not prevent the movie from coming together, as it were.

I have been waiting for this movie since the trailer debuted. In my impatience a few weeks ago downloaded a poor copy, sitting in the office in the evening waiting for the torrent to finish, with our security guy hovering over me because he wanted to go home, and consequently getting disappointed and deleting it. I went to bed that night ridden with angst.

The copy I watched last night was high definition: the colours were vivid and the sound impeccable. Yet, beneath my enjoyment of the film was dissatisfaction. I wanted it so badly and when I got it, I mostly felt empty. Was it worth spending so much energy on something which was ultimately going to let me down? Rather, why did I pin my hopes of happiness on something so fleeting, something which did not ultimately bring the contentment I had imagined?

Maybe there is something to be said for being careful about what you wish for. It is not the thing itself which will hurt you. It is an inability to acknowledge that that thing you so crave will never make you happy.


We stumble over the liquid honey turned to rocks in our chests and split the lips we used to kiss each other with. We graze our faces and mark ourselves uglier, adding pepper to our frowns. The truths which shone lights into our murky minds have become razors to our affections, shredding our soft bits and callousing them. We walk haltingly, falling over ourselves and over others, often scratching them as we seek purchase on figments of feelings which once seemed so real. We are dragon flies with broken wings.


 

Fishy

I have been living in my current house for seven months and I have never cooked a meal in it. I am a fairly decent cook and I love cooking, but I have never bothered to here. I survive on take-aways, heavy lunches, chapatis za Mama Vicky bought from the nearby market, and many meals at my partner’s house, who is my neighbour.

I promised myself a few months after I moved in my first meal would be a fish curry. My partner does not eat fish. She finds it disgusting, yet for some odd reason she enjoys sea food. Prawns, lobster, octopus, calamari, but not fish. I once pointed out fish also comes from the sea and, by that measure, is sea food. She was not convinced.

Exploring the reason for this, I find it is a way to assert myself in my space. By preparing a dish someone close to me cannot consume, I am laying claim to this territory as mine. It is infantile, yes, and even after this insight I still look forward to this meal.

Marcos

For some reason I stopped. I never stop for strangers who look my way or say hello. Not any more. But I stopped for Marcos. Mackintosh. Enthusiastic in his greeting, jovial and energetic, I walked back to shake his hand.

He seemed deeply touched by this gesture. His hands were cold and clean as if he had just washed them. His lips were the characteristic red and chapped of ch’angaa drinkers, flecked with green spittle like he also chews miraa or muguka.

With his breath sickly sweet, he tells me he does not drink. I tell him he smells like he does. He tells me he has family problems, then he tells me he sees something in me and there is a reason I stopped and we met. He says he sees God in me. He asks if I am saved and accepted the lord Jesus as my personal saviour. I lie yes. He asks me if I am a student. I am flattered at this. I do not look old. I have recently acquired a heightened awareness of my looks, partly brought on by weight loss due to stress.

He repeats how it is God who has brought us together. I smirk inside but I feel myself seduced by the thought of a benevolent all-powerful being that cares about me. I almost believe it. I feel I am close to slipping back into religion at this point, when my love life has gone awry and I am questioning my job and my life choices more than usual. A few months ago everything was so clear. I thought I knew what I was doing. Life has a way of showing you you know nothing.

We pray together and he asks God to bless me. I accept this and welcome it. He wishes me a good day when I tell him I have to go. As expected, he touches me for something small, kitu ya chai. I oblige, removing a two-hundred shilling note from my left back pocket and thinking better of it. In my right one, I remove a hundred and give it to him. He thanks me and asks God to continue blessing me. I ask God to bless me. I will even ask for a blessing from a God I lost faith in.

Somewhat Sisyphus

Movement creates movement. Anyone who has stared down the blank page and the blinking cursor knows this. Anyone who has attempted to make a change, within and without, understands this. Dragging your heavy comfortable self – the one scared of being proven wrong and instead deludes itself it could be genius should it so wish – is hard.

Inaction, when coddled even for a moment, burrows itself into your marrow. You are left enslaved to a fickle muse, waiting for a flash of magic to propel you to artistic heights. But, there is no muse, there is no magic. Show up every day and do the work. It adds up. There is no monster but you.

You are both Sisyphus and rock. You can crest the hump. More accurately, you can keep cresting the humps. It never ends. You can only go when you go. None of this is new. But, in the fight with the fat unmoving beast that is me, it may as well be. That is why I am here, to constantly remind myself of all of this.