MEMORIES, Of the One


Joshua Omenga

The most dreadful moment in your life is the moment when the one you love is lost to you; when, in the dreams of your night you strain to grasp her shadow but she is gone. You will hear her voice in silent places, see her face in crowded markets, feel her touch in your loneliness – but the moment you reach out for her, she disappears. She is the phantom after which your longing desires shall never sate. But you do not believe it because you cannot bear the stunning reality.

Then shall you walk the streets with face bent to the ground seeking to find the unfindable. You shall look into your troubled mind for the moment when she was yours. You are content with a few moment of laughter with her, her face so near yours you choked with joy… In your search into the past you do not know when you are smiling, and hands are pointing curiously at you, and wagging tongues call you madman. O how you want them to know we are all mad; it does not matters how we express our madness. But the striated soul will keep bleeding, and nothing but time can heal it…

You wonder if you shall ever wake up from this. But you do not truly desire to awake from this dream, because in this dream she will be yours. It is at this moment that truth is your enemy. Philosophy is not for your wretched soul – you are willing to buy any lie, believe any hypocrisy, so long as your beloved is given back to you.

Listen, listen, O eremite – is not hers the yonder melodious voice? Hear it as it peels across the stream. The lapping water brings her joyful cadences and her melody is all over the plain. Will you not harvest them – the songs of your dear one? Now shall you know pain, when you hear that voice that shall no more be yours, and you strive after her but do not see her. Every turned back is her wraith, and away from your longing grasp she ever keeps…

Dare you turn away from the stream now? Dare you close your ears to the familiar voice whose softness now rings like funeral chimes in your ears? Nay, you do not mind the pain, you do not mind the agony, so long as you see and feel that flesh from which the voice emanates. Like a giant spectre you lift your feet to seek her. But a voice says after you: ‘Son, do not seek her. Do not go after her for she is not yours.’ You open your protestant mouth to tell the voice that it is wrong, that she is yours, has been yours, shall ever be yours… but the old wise voice has receded and you are left alone in the closing dusk. The world is going to sleep. You are the lone creature in the wide world, and the wicked stars are grinning at you.

Bend your head, mourned one; bend your head and weep. Weep for that which you have lost. Weep for that which you shall never have. Weep for that receding figure which this closing darkness shall swallow forever. But your tears are inured. Your eyes are two embers popping out of lifeless sockets. Your voice has withered in your throat. You need no voice for the ears which have closed themselves to your hearing. You need no eyes for the ghost that ever flees from your sighting. You need no hand to feel the once sensate flesh which now is hardened in the maws of inexistence. You need no nose for that smell that once reeked beside you in the bed… Let sorrow overwhelm you! Submit yourself to disgrace’s emphatic embrace…

What may you not think now? What may you not imagine? As you pour the sand on your sweating head, you raise your head and remember the lullaby your mother had sung for you; the lullaby you shall sing for your offspring:

‘Sleep, little one

God watches over you…’

But now it reeks of lies… You cannot sleep, because the serrated soul can find no solacement in closed eyes. Sleep is the balm of the soul whose desires have been granted. You raise your head and ask, ‘God, do you watch over me? You dozed off and calamity overcame me. You turned your eyes away when my beloved was snatched away from me. No, dear God: you do not watch over me.’ Your utterances are blasphemy: you know it but you do not care. You know that you have come to the crossroad when you may utter any anathema because salvation is no more for you; no, you need no salvation…

You do not need the salvation in which you shall look for your beloved and not see her. You do no need the golden house decorated with precious stones in which you shall wake up to the feel of loneliness. There is no Elysium for you without your beloved. When you recall your pastor’s telling you that when your eyes are closed to this world, they open in heaven in the dazzling presence of God’s glory, His hands stretched out to rake you in embrace – when you recall this, you laugh at your pastor’s ignorance. To you heaven is no heaven if you search among the innumerable angels and cherubim and not see your beloved. It is for her alone that you care; God may keep His angels and make them purer still…

When you have gone through this experience, when you have gone through this chastening flame of lost love – then shall you behold the world in a different light. Nothing will hunger you anymore. You will pay no heed to wealth when it shakes its tail before you; you will grin at fame when it comes luring you. When an angel human comes to knock at the door of your heart, she will find it firmly shut against all enchantments. You do not want love because you think love has ceased to exist: it has fled with your beloved. Only memories remain, memories of bygone bliss whose sweet unreality will never be repeated.

You alone know who you are: you are the man who has loved and lost. You alone can look the world in the face and tell her the truth. Now are you fit to be a prophet.
©2016 

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