Friday, October 9, 2015

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For Annemarie Musawale, Author.

When you get down to it you know that hell is not a pit of Dantesque fire and brimstone guarded by a horned, teeth-gnashing Devil. Hell is the choices we make, things we decide during our lifetime that we can spend an eternity with or without. You plunge into the deepest level of hell, where the fallen angel Satan himself resides eternally flapping his wings, producing chilling cold winds that freeze your life, when loneliness becomes your companion. The three faces of Satan, black, red, and yellow, can be seen with mouths gushing bloody foam and eyes forever weeping, as they chew on your body, might, and soul. Your life becomes devoid of vitality and warmth. Those close and dear to you are frozen to the core by the cold in your eyes.

The day I decided I did not need anyone to tell me what to do, what is good for me, how to dress, to close my eyes and jump because they got me, or what to believe, I did not know that I was walking myself to hell. I did not know how quickly I would forget I had a family, a daughter, who wanted me there both physically and emotionally.

Five is the number of years that have passed and I have not had time to unwind. Five is the number of times I have been called to my daughter’s school to listen to narrations of her metamorphosis. I don’t know her as much as I know myself. I try to correct her myself, but I don’t do a good job with my job demands, the struggle to climb up the corporate ladder, education I chase after working hours, and dreams I sweat for for a pound and bob. If anything, my bachelorette life has diluted much of the influence a mother should have.

So I don’t have much of a social life. I have lost count of the number of potential lovers I have turned down. I don’t remember the last time I had me-time. I, close to menopause, am almost a grandmother, but still building an empire I won’t bequeath to anyone. The little things that matter in life don’t have a place in me anymore, it’s like God is reminding that all I’m doing is vanity.

And when the United Nations offers me a job in New York, an Under-Secretary General in the UN Security Council, I feel myself walk deeper into the 9th Circle of Hell. I had promised myself that after I got the doctorate I would slow down, I would open my own practice and spend my sunset years with those whom I cared for. But now I know there won’t be time to take it slow.

But before I go to save the world, before I start singing the international peace and security anthem, before I decide to turn down the offer, before I decide family is much more important, before I cry round the clock through the lock for a daughter who no longer listens to anyone below the rank of her burgeoning ego, before I chase this loneliness and find a soulmate, before I ask Virgil to walk me out of hell… I am going to start with simple things that count--- birthdays, family get-togethers, calls to a daughter who’s almost a woman herself and family, say lots of I-Miss-Yous, I-Love-Yous, and blow kisses on my phone’s mouthpiece, as well as other things too, like what my body misses.


So, today, the 9th of October, my birthday, I walk out of the 9th Circle of Hell where traitors against God, country, family, and benefactors lament their sins in this frigid pit of despair.


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