A Hole in My Heart

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PHOTO: Courtesy: deviantART

I have a hole in my heart, a condition that has consigned me to love on the sidelines. No grapevine in the ‘hood about it, where a specialist listening to some radio evening jam can hear and offer to check the severity of the defect. So, I have to play safe.

Don’t love,that’s what I always tell myself. Don’t break your heart. It is a punctured, red, cupid’s valentine though.

When I was six, I saw a girl and my heart whooped. When I was eighteen or nineteen, I met the one I thought was meant for me. I love you with all my heart, I told her. When she got the letter she told me never ever to contact her again. I took a sinking low, like the Titanic.

My suicide note would have read, love killed me, but I was not planning to leave any. Not that something as good as love is murderous, but at the very worst of times it is an emotion of immense joy but great sorrow that when one cracked under the bereavement and oozed strength love would still be able to kill them. And in the heart, the kingdom love rules, what would overcome love?

But the real reason I still risked love again had less to do with the fear of not being loved than with myself. I just couldn’t not do it again. When I pictured it, it wasn’t love bleeding my heart. I saw love slow-dancing with me, rousing my body from eons of slumber like Rip Van Winkle, opening for me like flower sepals and I moving inside with a striking sense of wonder. This, to me, was love, the one I wanted to spend my life with.

I never would have had a hole in my heart if there weren’t many cupids’ arrows thrown at me with the sole intent of maiming me. The first rebound led to another, a series of a progression of women who were out to milk my heart dry of any emotion akin to joy, kindness, and peace. I gave myself an ultimatum in my mind: one more time, I thought, and if it happens, I will never love again.I tried not to be the one leaving; I imagined it instead as saving my heart.

At forty-five and one of the most eligible bachelors around, when I met a twenty-four-year-old model whose heart whooped and somersaulted lasciviously to land on my lap, all those memories resurrected, instead of the fantasies that her idol body could bring me.

I convince myself that I am incapable of love. I remember when she declared her undying love for me. I took a sabbatical to the Vatican to meet with the pope. I am that demented. Only the pope can pray for my heart, not soul. They say Pope Francis is touching souls. What then can he do to hearts?

No wonder, I now realize. I see the extent of the damage: all the love I had gathered for and from other people drains out, an unstoppable sieve. 

Late Night Shootout at Embakasi

I see them go down. They couldn’t all be dead, but I want to make sure they stay down, forever. I aim and traverse the gun in the room, on the two lumps I assume to be them on the bed. And I don’t stop. Even if I don’t get them, ricochets will. I can see the door out of the bedroom; it is still closed, now riddled with bullet holes; if any of them survives, I won’t let them get to the door.

Deaths of Right (Part II)

Take care of my children. His voice never left me. There were nights that I dreamed in such vivid detail that when I woke, I was confused, forgetting, for a fraction of a second, that I was in my bed. For the minutes that followed, the grief washed over me for the loss of a friend who had had my back, the uselessness of my life fighting for the imperialism of a country that didn’t care for me. Part of me wondered if the dreams would change, if one day they would be the same monochrome shadows of before Somalia.

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