By Olubunmi Familoni
All you really just want to do is curl up in a comma with a great old book for company and this nasty little evil spirit for lubrication; but then a certain ex looks outside her nice window and sees that the sun is shining and the birds are singing and concludes that this would be just the perfect day for her to parachute unto your doorstep from out of the blue, the darkest parts of it, laden with all shades of her own blues, complete with red puffy eyes, a morbid grey look, the works.
Now, there is a particular reason why ‘x’ is far down on the alphabet list, close to the bottom — so that The Ex is conveniently out of reach and the ‘A-listers’ can have their day in the sack; there’s also a reason why there aren’t many words that can be formed with the letter ‘x’ — so that you won’t have to hold anything more than an inch of conversation with The Ex; and most importantly, there’s a very good reason why the letter ‘x’ is used to cross out — whatever has been put out should stay out.
But then, this one lies there broken, with the pieces of her heart scattered all over your doormat. And even though your default setting is ‘Trash’ like every other male, you manage to rise to the surface of the bin, climb out, and pull her into the house (making sure the grip is not too firm so that you don’t consequently pull her back into your life).
You think about how it’s not really your business to pick up the pieces of anybody’s broken heart and try to put them back together, considering you were never even really any good at solving jigsaw puzzles. So you sit there not saying anything, just watching her sip her tears and sob snatches while trying to sniff her sorrows back in so that they don’t all leak from her nose. By the way, you sit as far away as possible because you remember this scene from the movie where Halle Berry goes, quite remarkably for somebody in such deep maternal grief, from crying to riding; and you’d rather have ‘blue balls’ than a Monster’s Ball situation. No questions come to mind, your mind as blank as a new page on the monitor, the cursor blinking patiently, waiting for the words to start pushing it forward as your thoughts spill, waiting for you to start typing the questions you should be asking! “What the fuck are you doing here?” in bold caps is not exactly the best way to start a new chapter of a book that had already ended and shouldn’t have a sequel; there is no way to start it — it shouldn’t be started. So you stare at the blank page, marvelling at the infinite possibilities of it, and it stares right back at you like every blank page does a writer stuck between the bricks of a writer’s block.
But then, life can’t go on with a vacuum in existence, of no words and no actions; and you really just want to move on with your life and have her move right on with hers, preferably in the opposite direction. But she sits there, unable to move, or breathe, or feel. Words couldn’t be found to describe the atmosphere in the room; and if one is lost for words, one has to find a way to fill the empty space with something; and the script doesn’t always have to contain dialogue, hence the silent movie that unfolds:
He can’t think of anything to say; well, how about something to do. He had only been reading and drinking before she appeared; he can’t offer her a book, so he pours her a drink. She doesn’t look at it. She doesn’t look as if she can hold a drink. He pushes the glass up to her nose — the spirit calls up to her, to the core of her soul; it shows in her eyes. Her fingers yield when the glass touches them; he puts the glass in her hand. She holds on to it like a lifeline, for about ninety seven hours… then dumps the poison down her throat in one swift throw.
She shuts her eyes against the warmth of the soft fire that the spirit produces as it reaches into the deepest recesses of her being. Her lips seem to melt into something of a moist smile. The smile is familiar. He used to kiss that smile open like a flower. He gathers his lips into his pockets today.
Eyes still closed in the darkness of her sorrow; soul parted open by the searing of the spirit; and lips carrying tender memories… She is a picture of The Passion — of the goriness of suffering and the beauty of love; like a batter of vinegar and honey… He just wants to drink all of this off her lips…
When their lips meet, she can taste the questions on the tip of his tongue; the answer doesn’t come, until she does:
You broke her heart so bad that there was no part left to give anybody, couldn’t be made whole again for anybody to have, man or woman, husband or child. A few well-meaning men had tried to put it back together, but a Sellotaped heart soon falls apart as life and love rub against it as it moves along. So all she had left were these pieces which she had been carrying around in the purse of her memory all these years, mourning the great love you two had; but now she was done lugging pieces of a broken heart all over the place and listening to the pieces jangle in her chest whenever she reached out to love other people. So she had brought those pieces to you and deposited them at your feet, so that even if you can’t put them back together, you’d share the burden of carrying them around.
And you wonder: can the human heart really be broken that irreparably, so much that no man on earth can put it back together; can the heart become such a festering wound that not even time can heal it?