Updated: Jan 20

I think I can attempt to comprehend your disregard and hate towards me. I reckon you consider the whole scenario different than I do. For one, I succeeded in taking up a space you weren’t able to. I succeeded in life, in ways you couldn't even imagine to. I had flourished in soil that hadn’t been watered, and you craved nourishment, still, even as a 40 year old man. You’re a little older, a little more experienced, but you’re still nothing but a stubborn child; at least, that’s what I envisage when I think about you. I can’t say the same about your appearance. I actually can not even imagine your outer appearance anymore. Our last encounter occurred at your mother’s funeral. It was exactly six years ago, and we haven’t had the pleasure (or the utmost horror) to meet since that strange, gloomy day. I sometimes wonder what you would say when you set your eyes on me- after all this time. I wonder if there’s a slither of a chance that you’d actually be excited to gaze upon my face; or if instead, if you’d just want to bash it in with a hockey stick, the same one you once sawed shorter so that I could play with you. Most likely you wouldn’t even be able to recognize me. I've changed quite a bit. You’ll probably just walk straight past me without even noticing me.

I was a naive little child, like most, I didn’t understand the complicated adult world, that you yourself had just started to breach. I called her by the name she introduced herself as, but, it wasn't the name she preferred to be called. It was all part of her little secret, and every time I uttered her name, she must’ve been reminded her of her past, her lies, her insecurities. She was also aware of the love you saved for me because you didn’t have any children of your own (and probably never would), and she could not understand that bond that we shared, she just replaced it with her own love- flooding you with her poison, removing every connection you shared with me. She replaced me completely, after a while. She consumed my place in your life, your mind, your heart, your entity. In your great garden, swimming-pool mansion, are you happy?, are you absolutely content? Was this what you’ve always imagined your future to hold? With no connection to your blood?

I remember seeing you cry, for the first time. You were sobbing like a little child who had just scraped his knee. You locked yourself in your room for days. I remember wishing I was old, or wise enough to comfort you. I wished that I could evaporate your sorrow. You had just broken up with a lover, or she broke up with you. I can't fully recall the details, I just remember you being utterly heartbroken. But, then, not long after, you met- her.

We used to spend hours together, speaking to her over the phone, video-calling, writing emails, sending pictures. I couldn't wait to learn more about her, as you did, every night when the different time-zones allowed it. As you fell in-love, I fell with you. I prayed, on my knees, like a true believer, every night, for her to be the one that could make you happy. For your love story to succeed. I didn't know how love worked yet, I imagined it to be innocent, full of joy. I wasn't aware of the darkness, jealousy, and pain that it accompanied. When you smiled, such a gorgeous, sincere smile, you warmed every piece of me that was cold and frozen. I desperately needed you to be happy, so that I could be happy. I desperately needed you to succeed in life. I honestly only wanted the best for you. You- my blood, my demise.

I remember the night you tried to end your own life, you survived, you missed, but you left a hole in the door. I must’ve been asleep when it all went down, but I remember. It was never spoken of again, but, it rendered you powerful and feared by everyone else in the household. Instead of getting psychiatric assistance, you got bribed into healing. Whenever you asked for something you received it. I’ll never get the phrase out of my head “Mom, may I borrow some money.” You took it gladly, and spent it immediately, but you and I obviously have extremely various interpretations of the term “borrow.”

You moved out, with her, and you never once looked back. I was privileged enough to be let into your life occasionally, there wasn’t much space, but I shrank my being and was able to squeeze into a little corner, waiting patiently for your attention. Your new life was filled with glamour and freshly baked muffins, food healthy enough for horses and hares to strive, and dogs far more loyal than your dad could ever wish to be. I loved jumping into the car on a Saturday morning, wearing my favorite dress, with the notion that I’ll be able to see you, and her, and her children- who suddenly showed up out of nowhere, suddenly just appearing into an already existing world. Just a couple hours drive, and I’ll be welcomed, no matter how halfheartedly, into your elegant, attractive world.

However diligently I tried, I never could fit into your new, dazzling world. I always used to utter something strange, or engage in something utterly inappropriate. Or stepped on her toes too often. I was just too much for you to handle. I tried, I promise. But it was hard, because you tried to live a perfect life and I was far from perfect. You needed me to be flawless, and I was born fragile, broken, strapped of perfection, impeccably abnormal in an already deadly world. It seemed though every time I looked at you through the rear view mirror, departing, that you despised me a little more. I then looked over at her, her perfectly white smile, slithering, content, excited to wave goodbye.

These unenthusiastic interactions continued until Christmas day, when you decided to completely cut me out, no communication, no relations, not a single mention. It lasted for about two years. Your mother was heartbroken, anguished. She didn’t have anyone to comfort her, your dad had died the previous year and she was overwhelmed with distress, with you not acknowledging her existence and your sister being a devoted and abusive addict. She couldn’t bear her suffering alone, I was the only one there to soothe and to be punished for the absence of both her children. And what could I, treated as inexperienced and invalid, contribute?

The only deeds that I was capable enough to undertake were to observe, acquire knowledge, and receive the jarring punishment intended for you. I’ve purposely tried to mute a fair amount of it, but I pledge that it’s not a picture you would willingly set your eyes upon. It’s vile, disgusting and horridly melancholic. Sad, vulgar and inhumane.

When I had the rapture of encountering you again, it was when you were, conveniently devastated, locked out of your mansion, by her. I remember trying to inform you of my suffering, of the anguish prior to your arrival, I so desperately needed saving. You’re response wasn’t to come to my rescue but merely to establish my crimes in the matter. To lure out my dark-side and for me to reveal the devils in my head. The motivation rooted in your crimes to be forgiven. Your plan worked flawlessly. Your mother welcomed you with open arms, clinging onto you like a koala onto a tree, hoping, wishing, praying that you’d never leave her sight again- that you'd be her redemption, just like I needed you to be mine.

That was until a few moments later, when she fiercely drove her fresh, mint Mercedes into the yard shattering your mother’s heart and my freedom. You took the only functioning vehicle on the yard, and followed your now beautiful bride, off into the sunset, without even a mention of farewell. I didn’t see you again, not until your mother had spent about 40 days suffering silently, unconscious in a hospital bed and you realized she was about to die, and you smelled the wealth from the other side of the country. You received your wealth, all right, just not from her. Little did you know that she had nothing to give, that she herself had been starving, struggling, battling to pay her own bills. You thought she was swimming in riches, you didn’t know that you already devoured it all, even before it could be written into her will and estate. There wasn’t anything to receive. She had nothing to give. This made you furious. I still remember the calm evil that overtook your face. You couldn’t accept it. To you, another explanation was more believable, that I, little, manipulative mischief must’ve stolen her riches, must’ve plotted against her, must’ve abused her and tricked her and forced her into bankruptcy. So you broke down the doors, while I was shaken by fear of what you might do to me, terrified of your voice spitting out one threat after another. Its true after all, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

Little monster me, fresh out of high school, first year university student, with R200 spending money a month, trickster- the scum of the world, a thief. Is that really all you saw when you looked at me? What happened to the eyes who couldn’t bare to stray away, what happened to the hands desperate to hold and comfort the tiny crying baby, when did you stop being my protector and started being the devil?

I remember the days when you used to beg me to walk on your back as a massage technique, because it hurt, you were stressed, and my little body had just enough weight to temporarily relieve your anguish. I was so excited to be able to assist you, to tend to your needs, I put up my best performance, balancing on your back while you lay on your bedroom floor a few meters apart from the bullet-hole in the door. You repaid the act, not with your feet but with a dagger, stabbing me, right in my back, causing all of my adulthood back-injuries. 

 

Now, you still, after six years of wrestling, attempt every measure known to man, trying to somehow prohibit me from seeing any of the remained riches of your mother’s estate. You just couldn’t bare the thought that she had the nerve to write my name next to yours, to give me equal right to what she would give you. So instead of just accepting and respecting her decisions, you had to take a defense position, pointing all of your weapons at me. What are you fighting for, dear blood? There’s nothing left. There wasn’t ever anything to begin with. Why are you so determined to waste your time? After all these years? Why are you still trying to tear me apart?

Did you not want me to graduate, similar to you? Because you failed- I graduated, without her money or your support, proudly, with a distinction, honorary colors, and two degrees. Did you not want me to be independent? Because I’ve been learning to be independent since the moment I was born- your sister leaving me behind for any notion of adrenaline, her ex-husband only contacting me when money is involved, you, the closest thing I had to a brother, abandoning me for a hoax- made up fairytale, the closest thing I had for a father, your dad, a cheating couch-slouch, and your mother, the woman who raised me, always punishing me for your wrongful deeds, your sister’s mistakes and your father’s lacking presence.

So, loving family member, that couldn’t have been the motivation behind your treacherous, lurking smile. What else could it be? Did your wife’s hate for me evolve so drastically that the both of you wanted to see me in a ditch somewhere hungry, an addict, just like your sister- whom you despise so greatly? Did you want me to turn out like her? Because I didn’t. I live in a country where using any sort of narcotic for the wrong purpose is punishable by death. I’ve removed the temptation of ever being anything like your sister. So why are you still standing on the battlefield? What motivation are you holding onto? Are you trying to hold onto the memory of your parents because you feel guilty for your participation in their demise? You should feel guilty, dearest uncle, but stop wasting your time fighting me, I am not in a position to take away that guilt. You’ll have to live with it, you don’t have a choice. Just like me, we are both fated to remember, to feel, to re-live, to always feel empty and broken.

Do you want me to suffer? To retreat? To lose the battle? Haven’t you realized that I’ve surrendered to your commands before you’ve even created them? I never once fought back. Do you realize that I could never wish harm towards you or attempt to cause you any pain? Even though you’ve only caused me pain. Do you realize that my love for you will be eternal and unconditional, even if you decide to personally break every bone in my body and steal all of my possessions? Because from the moment I first opened my eyes, and could look at you, I thought you were my savior, the sane one, the one that could take my sorrows and burry it deep. I thought I saw trust in your eyes. I thought you were the most beautiful soul one would ever see. And all that you desire to see is a little, wicked monster in me.

Dearest uncle, I am not going to quench your thirst for revenge. I am not a threat to you, blood of mine, please just leave me be. I have enough demons constantly stabbing at me. Let me go, you’ve already won the fight. Rather engage all of your energy into the eyes of the monster in the mirror that you fail to see in bright daylight. 


Updated: Dec 31, 2019

It’s 7:05pm. I’m not nervous, but I’m focused on my breathing, in and out. Maybe that indicates that I am indeed nervous; but I’m trying to convince myself I’m not. I’ve done this before. I’m going to be fine. I don’t actually know if I feel any emotion right now. I bought a new phone case today. It was an impulsive decision. I can feel the unnatural heaviness in my hand. This isn’t the only thing that’ll make me feel unnatural tonight. But I’m trying not to think about it.

I’m in the taxi. A strange song is playing on the radio. I can’t understand the lyrics because it’s in Chinese, but it’s distracting me. The taxi stops. I’m here. I’m focusing on my breathing again. Reapply my red lipstick. Smile. Breathe. I’m ready. Introductions went fine. I couldn’t stop staring at your teeth. They were crooked, and that’s me trying to be polite. I remember you asking me what I did for Christmas the night before. “I just went to sleep.” I answered. That made you happy. You continued by saying that you too, had no plans. You too, were lonely. I nodded. You asked if I was alright. “Just nervous.” I replied.


Afterwards, I walk to the nearest 7/11, to grab another taxi. Its windy, it has been pretty chilly the last few weeks. Actually, it has been chilly since you broke up with me. It’s time to go home. It’s only 8:30. I conclude that it wasn’t a waste of my time. I look at my phone. I have missed a couple of calls from you. I video call you back. “Why are you out?” you asks upon noticing my attire and once heavy, now smeared, makeup. “Oh, the usual.” I respond. “You can pay your rent.” you say full of support and excitement. “Yes. I can.” Instead I immediately spend the money on an overpriced bottle of wine, and I go to see a movie with you, and other friends. I still haven’t opened the bottle of wine. I just stare at it, resting on my kitchen counter. I need to rest too.

We’re in an elevator. We have to travel 3 more floors. “How’s your week been?” “I haven’t heard from you at all.” “Pretty short- boring, nothing special.” I’m making conversation before the movie starts. You notice that I’ve been absent, that I’m still absent. I must reek of duplicity. “How’s the German?” “We’re fine.” I say when the door opens. “He’s only coming back in 2 weeks.” I reply. I notice the shake in my voice. “I miss him.” I add. And I really do. I didn’t lie, I was lonely on Christmas, you weren’t there. I was bored. I needed a distraction. I needed a diversion. To escape this mental distress. I needed you. Your touch, the way you soothe me when I cough. I’ve been coughing for more than eight weeks now. You’re so gentle, even though I encourage you to hurt me, you stay gentle. You stay pure. “I need to use the restroom, I’ll be right back.” I stay there until the movie starts. People don’t have to talk when seeing a movie in the cinema. I like that.


After the movie you pull me aside. I can practically feel the authenticity in your voice. “You have to be honest with him. He deserves to know.” “I know.” I say. I promise that I’m done with it. And I mean it. I mean it when I promise I won’t attend to such nonsense again. I remember what my horoscope warned the previous day “try not to become dead inside.”

In the taxi ride home, I look at my phone. I have a new notification. I won’t open the app. I promised you. Instead I try to focus on the skyscrapers out the window. The lights are so pretty. I wish they were distracting enough. They only make me think of your pretty eyes. My phone keeps buzzing. I pick it up but I’m used to the feeling of the new cover now. It feels normal, it feels safe.


The taxi driver isn’t very pleased. We were almost at my apartment when I commanded that he redirects the route. “It’s innocent.” I say out loud. He cannot understand me. To him I’m just mouthing gibberish. I get out of the taxi at the destination. It’s unknown, but the neighborhood seems okay. This is the last time. I need to pay rent, I remind myself. I look down at my clothing. It’s nothing special. Black pants and a white sweater. It’s cold outside- it’s cold inside too. Introductions develop fine. You’re tall, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with your teeth. There’s not an elevator in the building, so I walk up the 7 flights of stairs. “Why are you not talking?” “Are you OK?” “Yes. I’m fine, just nervous.” “Don’t be nervous. Is this the first time you try it?” “Yes.” You’re so desperate to believe me.

I’m on my way home, I had to wait for a taxi. It’s late. Or early. Depends on which way you look at it. I feel like I wasted so much time. I’m tired. I want to sleep. When I enter my building, the landlord is sitting on the big sofa in the lobby. “Can I pay my rent now?” I type into the translation app on my phone. I pay my rent, get into the elevator. I think of calling the German, but he probably went to bed already. We haven’t spoken much, a goodnight text here, a picture there. You said you like it when I send you selfies. I hate it. The varying time-zones won’t allow me to talk to you.


Instead I take a shower and get into bed myself. The sun is hot in the sky already. Hotter than usual. Or is it me? Am I getting sick? I’m still coughing. I get up and close the curtains. My room is darker now. So am I.

Tomorrow I have to go to work early. I have a slight headache. I hope it’ll be better by the time I wake up. I hope everything will be better by the time I wake up. As I dive off, I can see my dreams form before me like I’m watching it unfold on a movie screen. It’s the same as every time I fall asleep. I dream of you. I don’t want to but I do. I always do.

I wake up to more notifications. It’s dark. I should’ve deleted the app. I paid my rent. I have no excuses, no reasons, no motivations. I should go back to sleep. I have to be at work early tomorrow morning. After the arrangements have been made, I walk to the 7/11 around the corner to grab a taxi, again. It’s the only thing I can do to keep myself sane. The only thing that keeps the thoughts of you away. Introductions go fine. I’m headed for another sleepless night.


Have you ever tried catching a glimpse of the sun?


Snow blindness, arc eye, welder's flash, immediate retaliation. Most shriek, turn their gaze elsewhere, shield their eyes. Most wear shades to shelter themselves from the brightness. Most seek refuge in the shadows, to conceal themselves from the luminous rays. But you, darling, you are too graceful for me to glance away. I would rather blind my vision voluntarily, than to shy astray.


Your eyes are the mirrors between night and day. Your rays flow on to my blank canvas like the strokes of a paintbrush drenched in dazzling shades of vibrant reds and energetic oranges. Your light shines so bright, gladdening the darkest of my days. Your stories inspire me, lighting fires inside my veins. You radiate warmth in places that has never seen a slither of daylight. Your dancing gesticulation thrills me like twirling flames. Since we've met you've installed brightly-colored light-bulbs in my most vacant of caves. You're awareness motivates me to be convalescent. Your desire to protect and cushion secures my darkest insecurities and brings tranquility to my epoch of growth and I thrive in the notion that once I wake up, you'll rise and be by my side again. Your scarlet lips empowering my knowledge. Your ruby-colored hair fluttering beauty into my esse. You are absolutely gorgeous, glamorous, an extremely hot mess.

Sometimes, you allow me to observe you through a personal solar filter. I notice the smolder, the smoke, the discolor, the damage, the pain. While your blistering flickers are fierce and torrid, you are frequently the only one to get burnt by the ugliness of the human brain.


But I make you a promise, my dear, I shall never allow anyone to scorch you again. For now I am here to be your protector, your shield, your safeguard from torture, discomfort and heartache. I'm here to love you unconditionally, regardless the calefaction and dog days.


When I see you walking towards me, I know, little darling, here comes the sun, and when dusk reaches its end, we're safe and sound in our own little tranquil world, together, you keeping me warm, and me keeping you calm until dawn ignites and bring rise to your irresistible flame.


LET'S TAKE IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL

© 2019 by Michelle