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Dear Reader, this is for my slave ancestry gone forever Dear Reader, this is for my slave ancestry gone forever
by Abigail George
2021-08-29 09:12:09
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I think of you often. I think of you standing in the kitchen baking, the aroma of a freshly-baked something, or you hiding behind your bangs, your horse-hair in a ponytail, or I think of you losing all conviction and hope, I think of your release, and I think of you as my relief, as the love of my life, the light of my life, the flame, the flame burning bright throughout the forest of my aorta, or I think of you completely at a loss for words, you hiking, you climbing, you loving me, you talking about Jean Rhys’ sexual transactions as if you were born in the same century, or as if you knew her well, as if somehow, by some chance that the two of you were related. You’re beautiful, and gosh, I know I don’t say that to you often enough. And I know that sometimes I don’t want to go to church with you, but don’t, don’t do that. Don’t judge me. My mother got hurt in the church. And my sister had an abortion, and then three miscarriages, and I’ve never spoken about this to anyone, you know, you know how it goes. How you swear you will never tell another soul, and then you do, and then you’re damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.

I hate my brother today, and I love my sister. This is the night that I want my brother to fuck off to China. I want him to stop asking my parents for money. I want him to stop milking my mother dry, and I know, I know that you are the only one who can possibly understand my predicament. Stuart is a complicated, a complex man, who has turned every girl he’s ever kissed into a mistress, a lady of the night. As soon as he’s slept with a girl, he gets lonely, anxious, and a pathetic frustration rises up in his chest, making love is never enough for a guy like Olive’s guy. Don’t forget yesterday, Olive. You were lying on the couch, when Stuart walked in after his shower. You watched him dry his damp hair, he kissed your cheek, and then your forehead, and then the top of your head, (you were reading Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar, and found it engrossing, and you engaged with Cal most of all, because you wanted to see Paris for the longest time, and the Mediterranean waves reminded you of a California sun, Californian waves. You look like a model. You look like a Christian. How can I ever forget you, Olive, you stole my man, oh, you stole my man?

slave01_400_01Cry for me when I put my hands on you, stroke your cheek, caress your inner thigh, touch your collarbone, your clavicle, your shoulder blade, the inside of the nape of your neck, when I put my lips on you, sending you into outer space like a star. You can have my jacket anytime. Is love reckless, does love burn, are you bittersweet, or just a lesson that I have to breathe out on the exhale. He loves you. My lover loves you, chose you, sleeps with you, takes you to his bed, acts, and poses, and fakes, and he sells his soul to you, and Olive sells her soul to you Stuart. Dear Reader, you are my beloved. Dear Olive, you are mine too, because when he plants a kiss on your warm lips, Stuart is planting a kiss on my warm lips. So, he is adulterer, so he is lover, so he is a two-timer, chapters of his heart, the narrative of my love, and your love Olive singing its way subtly through, and through, and through. I need all the love I can get, I need all the love of a boy, I need all the love of the boys in the world, I need all the love of a man, I need all the love of the older male in the office to stare me down because for me it is like some kind of beautiful secret.

And I know that you have your secrets, and I know that you have some kind of lies. We have to do this face-to-face; you want sex, Olive, you want to have a child with the love of my life. You’re a beautiful girl. You can have anyone you want, but I’ll give in to your motivation (see his mother Rose), his father is mad for you (see Jim, Olive calls him uncle). You’ll make him happy; you’ll turn him into an innocent again, you’ll give him back his youth, and he’ll take care of himself again. He doesn’t love me anymore. Stuart doesn’t love me. He’s chosen you. I’m too different, and besides I’m barren. I’m infertility. Once I and Stuart connected on some level, I believed it was love, but now he looks at me as if I’m a stranger, and he doesn’t come around anymore, and I let him get out of my grip. Stuart looks beautiful to you. Olive, I’m sure you look beautiful to him too. I’m out of control. I’m out of control. Posh clinics, and Hunterscraig, and Valkenburg, and Elizabeth Donkin, and a rehabilitation centre, or a frail aged home, or a halfway house are the only places for me to find sanctuary, and home, and rest. Olive has the moves on the dance floor.

I was raped at a nightclub (it was winter in Johannesburg, could have been a June, or I swear an August, all I remember was that I was cold, cold, cold, and there was a stabbing outside the nightclub, nobody bothered me, except for the fact that I was probably first molested, before I was raped), and I’ll never know my assailant or assailants. They took my panties, and when I woke up my jeans zip was undone. They left a semen-filled condom next to me. People tell me they either have a low, or a dip, or a bout of flu-ish depression (which means they can’t shake over those over-complicated blues, that I’m sure I can relate to too, if people, women, young females, younger females have to take chemicals to be happy, then let them be happy taking their prescription drugs). Olive is a really beautiful girl. Stuart makes her moan softly, call out his name when they’re together like that. I’ll be missing both of you when the child comes. Stuart won’t be thinking of me, or talking about me, or loving any part of me anymore. Who is going to make me rise, turn me up, turn me on, uplift me, empower me, romanticise me, break my heart, and make up with me again?

I’m impossible. But Olive you make everything possible in Stuart’s life. I wasn’t drinking that night. I danced like a wild thing on the dancefloor. I was alone. I was lonely. I was an animal attuned to the scent of every woman. I’m getting over you Stuart one day at a time. Yes, yes, yes you don’t come over anymore. And maybe I’ll fall in love again with a grown man whose mother will understand what I’ve sacrificed to be normal (whatever normal is), or maybe he’ll be an older gentleman who will know how to pleasure me, and will in turn teach me how to pleasure him, and there’s more to life than lust, you know. Give me a piece of your soul, Olive, like your soul is manna from heaven, or bread, and I’ll teach you to fish for a lifetime. I turn up the radio, sing along to Selena Gomez’s song. Stuart doesn’t love me for real anymore, and for such a long time he confided in me, didn’t listen to my flaming lips, or a blue note that I said, or that I was “touched” too when I was a child. I never speak about the mental, emotional, verbal, and physical abuse at the hands of my mother.

Olive, and Stuart will be leaving for mainland China soon, and it will probably be a kind of honeymoon-phase in their lives I imagine, and I wanted Olive and I to be friends, because I don’t have any female friends. Stuart jokes and says maybe they’ll put him in jail. The only reason the Chinese authorities would do something like that is because he is too handsome for his own good. Stuart is a honey, kind, and sweet on the inside. But I think that Olive is way touchy-feely. Nobody does it better. Nobody does self-pity better. Nobody is as masterful as I am at not coping with the fact that I’m unloved, unlovable, and disliked. So, I’ve prayed for friendships with girls, but I think many people presume that I’m in love with them. And the ones I really fall for madly leave me for their wives, and children. Where there is no equality, only a kind of mutual admiration club on behalf of the man, and on behalf of the girl. Because even in my early forties I have this kind of spell that I keep saving for a raining day, saving for someone to love me in spite of me being me, and everything, everything I’ve been through. I came here to forget the men, all, all the men.

And even David Helfgott, and Professor Stephen Hawking found love, and I’ve discovered now in my forties that I need love. I need love right now. I map daylight, and all night with my all-encompassing tears, I sob into my pillow, and all I want to ask both Olive, and Stuart is for them both to love me unconditionally, which they won’t. I mean as plausible, and coherent as that sounds to me. I’m the third wheel. They have each other. They have each other now. I’m epic-pirate. I’m Nikita from Elton John’s eighties-music-video. I’m Johnny English’s female sidekick. Let me get out of this while I still can. I’m not in love. I want something, some kind of purpose in my life, I need an exit out to escape, some meaning, some kind of tenderness, not some kind of tension, do you understand, are you understanding me, and they get married, in the right moment they leave me, and marry other women, and I come home to this windy city to hide from the outside world, and my picture is in the newspaper, I sell newspapers if you can believe that, but one day my father won’t be here to save me.

Tell me, Olive, tell me, Stuart, when is the right time for me to say goodbye, and wish you both well, and all the future success, and personal happiness that you both deserve in this world. Or am I getting too close, am I making another mistake. I’m sure Olive is lovely when she’s quiet, and shy, and cooking her stringy beef stews, with dumplings, man’s food, food after a man’s own heart. Stuart, Olive, my heart is breaking in front of both of you. I think of both of you living in the same house, moving around the same rooms, the conversations you will have are like a stuck record inside my mind. What are the facts, let’s see then, shall the three of us see? I’m crazy for love, always in search of a novel identity to frame my psychological guesswork, my loneliness, and aloneness. In other words, my father’s older sister will say in brethren company that I’m a grilled-cheese talking kind of a demented-lunatic, a loon who recites prayer, and proclaims to be Jesus Christ undeniably in the real, who is the black sheep of the family, the mental patient of the family.

All I want now is to have another nervous breakdown. Every member of Stuart’s family knows I’m in love with him, and that, that right there is the worst feeling imaginable in the world. I’m afraid, I’m never going to come out of the madness, because playing with madness is one thing, it’s all this crazy-talk about love, and where, where is it going to lead me. Stuart is the land of glory.

He’s into writing copy for advertising, and wants to do a documentary on the Cape Corps (1939-1946). Olive is a teacher at a school for the mentally handicapped, and the physically disabled. I blame my brother, for Stuart not loving me. Olive is perfect. Stuart is perfect, perfect-hair, perfect-teeth, glowing skin that belongs to a woman who drinks two litres of water daily.

I need to breathe. It hurts though on the exhale. I have no one to call me sweetheart, so I take my happy pills. I try and make a fire to burn this emptiness in my soul away, to calm me down, so, I take my fever’s temperature, eat candied hearts, pretend I’m eating my own heart until nothing is left. I think I’m a bird. This song that’s on the radio now is sad.

Are people laughing at me, that I really don’t know. All I know is that I’m feeling birds of despair, and I want things to happen for me.

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