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Friday, November 27, 2009

Mortifying Mona Lisa ii ~ Know Thyself

Before you could say Miss Muddah and Mr Fadduh, my ‘activities’ with Cherrie increased generously to statistical levels. Quote after quote, and epigrams woven in witticism adorned my profile wall. Some, clever and humorous, especially when I tagged her in an amorous poem: ‘Your intelligence inspires my humour that I end up lavishing generously in your wall.’ She’d say and my quick reply would be: ‘if you squander word for word with me, I shall suck all your sense of humour dry.’ Some, embroidered, especially when I sent her a daffodil: ‘How like a dream is this I see and hear! May fortitude bequeath on me the serenity to abstain as long as it lasts!’

And some ‘innocent’ comments should have alerted me with their foregrounding tomblike avowals because it was just after a week of knowing each other and she was already talking of death. She confessed in my wall: ‘Do I finally have you, oh, my celestial crystal? Why? Now I may die, for I have lived long enough. It’s my heart’s desire, a dream come true. Oh, this blessed hour!’ Mind you, that was the same suggestive discourse between Eve and the insidious Snake. She was dazzling me to her lair and enthralling my head quicker than a jugular vein.

My closest friends noticed my changing relationship landscape—I was ignoring them, apparently—and so they summoned me. Mojo was cynical as usual. Mojo and I shared the same noble school of thought—that women were evil—and couldn’t explain my sudden turnabout.

‘Who is this star that you worship so spiritually?’ he attacked.

‘Ah! The Queen of Stars,’ and I attached Sweetie’s smile-like-an-angel shot, ‘and isn’t she a divine creature?’

‘No,’ that was typical of Mojo, ‘but an earthly archetype, shoddier replica of a planet.’

‘Christen her celestial.’ I pleaded.

‘I wouldn’t flatter her.’

‘Oh, flatter me, commend me because love enchants in sweet-talk.’

‘When I was love-struck, you prescribed bitter herbs; I must honour you with similar dosage.’ He eluded.

‘Just admit it Mojo, that if she’s not a celestial star, then at least acknowledge her as a prototype comet to all heavenly bodies.’ I said but sensed nothing good was forthcoming.


This followed a moment (so I had a suspension of poetic beliefs too?) when my vulgar aloofness and contempt for the ‘weaker sex’ became makeshift buoyancy. I was a becoming a rare cock; not a typical rooster. My crudity for women was wearing away and replaced by a resilience, which seemed to have been as taxing as the old tenacity. I was becoming the proverbial fool who erected his crib on a jerky sandy precipice on the verge of a gulf, already destabilized by invisible forces, and the cliff and the foundations all crumble to wee-wee bits and pieces along with him, and he is plunged into the roaring billows of wretchedness from which there is no flight.

I started perceiving her—together with Skylark, and my cousin—with a sure-footed mutual faith—albeit wavering, as a hen is in no doubt, that is, with no shrewd knowledge about it. I was jeopardising my manhood and deserved the void inside for I let the ‘Genius’ escape from the bottle of my heart. I was a terrible impostor, silently and anxiously bustling with an uneasy ado, and laying my traps and nursing the qualms in a kind of restless dream that still was full of sureness. I would braggingly cackle and pretend to be the one calling her sun out of bed. Yes, I wished for detestation and adoration at the same time—the paradox of trying to fit a square ball into a round hole. That revealed my catch-22 entangling me—frayed between masculine dominance and masculine yearning for the ensnaring pretty creatures of romance and poetry.

And when you are dazzled by the combination of poetry and romance, how life turns out to be as a dream. How things appear so spanking new. Oh, how mesmerizing it was! How I wobbled under a heart painted red! How I loved going online, signing in to Facebook, sitting there, chatting on IM all night and day on end, watching things slither past. Not caring what people said or did. Like a book that you read slowly so as not to get to the final page! Like a man who dreams slowly for fear of waking up!

Yes, it was like drama. It was exactly a play. You would agree strongly that was a prompter behind some curtain. Or, that my Profile Wall was the painted backdrop. But it wasn’t until a little inconsistent ‘prompter’ showed up on my Profile Wall glumly and then reluctantly ambled off, like a little ‘theatre’ cat, a little cat that was on valium, that I first suspected that there were more principal actors and actresses than just Cherrie and I as the leading dramatis personae in the play. This ‘prompter’ wasn’t just reminding us our lines, but was actually pulling the strings of her two performing masquerades.

We were on the theatre. We weren’t only the audience, not only watching; We were performing. Even the ‘prompter’ had her part and came every Sunday. I swear, someone would have noted if the ‘prompter’ had been absent; the ‘prompter’ was part of the performance after all. How strange I never saw it that way before. And yet it explained why Cherrie ensured that she availed herself just the same time each day—so as not to be late for the rehearsal—and it also explained why I had benefit of doubts as to tell my friends how I spent my free hours—chatting online with Cherrie. I laugh loudly at myself when I come to think of how I was enacting the stage for my own ruin.


‘I don’t think I’ll ever forget this evening. I have a feeling that I’m becoming a new person every minute I’m with you. Please forgive me for saying it so openly, but it’s as if something were radiating from inside of you that—I don’t understand how I could have walked by you so indifferently before—it’s simply that I’ve never felt anything like this before… you know, that heavens predestined us on that quiet morning yet on creation day…before the beginning of time and space…’ she couldn’t allow me to finish my rapturous declarations, as if she were afraid I’d change my mind in the next phrase.

‘How lovely! Isn’t in the still, quiet places that things do happen? I imagine that when God embarked on creating the world—on that early morning, the first day of January—you might have peeped out of your balcony and perhaps listened to the plaster and mud splattering from His trowel as He erected up the everlasting hills. What became of the noisiest undertaking in the world?’

‘The Eiffel Tower?’ I was losing her.

‘I mean the construction of the Tower of Babel? Well, there is a footnote in the Encyclopaedia Britannica and one can stumble on it in Google Search when those clattering men tried to challenge the plans of God.’

‘Of course,’ said I, ‘human nature is universally similar. It’s just cultural difference that conditions us, but there is more passion—er—more comedy and parody and –er—romance in some places than in others…’ I was no longer following her; it was more of a chase, for she was prodding me into a verbal hogwash while at the same time taking advantage of my complete lack of interest.

I only caught up with her when I saw on the MSN screen . She was in a monsoon of tears, sobbing and crying. That was my other issue with her and other women—they were like that—always dripping wet with sentimentality. She wanted us to dance to that. For the new found happiness and undying friendship. Soul mates for life! We were to declare to the Facebook world of our changed Relationship Status, that we were officially ‘In a Relationship’.

Somehow, I accepted her invitation although it was a pity I’d never danced before in real life—my ‘default’ attitude forbade it—and laughed off any suggestions of being a ‘robot’ at parties especially if you were with charming girls whose calculated dance moves made your groin itch. Yes, it was a pity, besides; I was that exception to every rule. That, a young man should be mortified of not being able to dance! I’m not hinting this out of bigotry; I don’t in the least presuppose that your intelligence should be in your feet—thank God, the thinking organ is still not below the neck—but my attitude is ludicrous now—It’s just that how do you dance with the devil without getting entwined in his clench?

coming soon part iii

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