Monday, 27 January 2014


He sits on your sofa, the same way he used to all those years ago. Your best friend, well, not your best friend per se, he used to be your best friend, but not anymore. You don’t like him that much anymore; your likeness for him is just ‘there’ now, you like him no more than you like Golden Morn, or Semovita, or Wheat, or Poundo Yam – the way it tries desperately to be pounded yam but it just can’t. Your friendship is like that, you are really not friends but you still try to keep up appearances. He laughs exaggeratedly at something you say swaying his small head back and forth, it wasn’t even funny like that, you think. But you smile. You wonder what happened to him, he used to be your wingman, your sidekick. Now you can’t stand him and you’re almost a hundred percent sure that he can’t stand you either. He tells you how he is pursuing a career in singing; you nod in excitement and say ‘really? That’s interesting.’ But deep inside, you think he is better suited for a rapper. Inside your head, you say ‘you will never make it there; the industry is oversaturated; besides you cannot sing. Leave the singing for people with soulful voices.’ You remember how smart he used to be in school, how he used to argue with the mathematics teacher on one particular question for the full fifty minutes period, rendering the rest of the class redundant. You used to like it when he did that, especially when you were tired and were in no mood to be taught. You wonder if he’s still that smart, you doubt it. Even in conversation you can see that your IQ has risen farther than his, in such a relatively short time, it’s shocking. All you see is dumb and muscles when you look at him. He’s now a devoted Christian, he says. His friend is a pastor and he assists. You find this strange. He wasn’t a good Christian in school, you were; now he’s the devotee while you are considering becoming an atheist because you’ve seen just about enough fake miracles, just about enough men that were blind from birth and then immediately they ‘receive their healing’, they can tell the difference between colour red and colour yellow; enough dumb-from-birth men that receive the miracles of instant English language speech as well as hearing. You nod your head and smile. ‘Interesting.’ You say again. You believe that churches are springing up here and there because the rate of unemployment has greatly risen. You have a theory: The degree of successful citizens in a particular location is inversely proportional to the number of churches in that location. You start talking about the future and getting married. He says he wants to have four children and that he has to be married within the next two years; you feel it is stupid that he has a timeframe within which he ‘must’ get married, but you don’t say that to him. You see the way he looks at you as if you are from another planet when you tell him you don’t want children, his liquid gaze, his brown iris that look as though it was squirted over his sclera in a hurry. You remember that, you can’t forget. ‘You don’t want children?’ He asks, flabbergasted. As if the only thing we are here to do is procreate. ‘No,’ you say and raise both of your shoulders up for a second or two as if to say: I don’t know what the big deal is anyway. ‘How can you not want children?’ he asks. His face wrinkled from surprise. You no longer want to talk about it; it’s just going to start an argument that would never end. You wonder why he does not think like you. His mentality is now quite different from yours; you wonder also how you two were ever friends. He believes what everybody believes: Everybody must get married and have children, Gay people deserve to be buried from neck down and their head stoned until they die, the village is the best place to celebrate Christmas, a woman’s place is by her husband, and so on. You have a feeling that he has lost his ability to think for himself, if he ever had it. You shake your head and then smile. He asks you if you would come to his church tomorrow, Sunday. You lie, you say you will not make it as you are a chorister in your church and you have a ministration. You wonder why you did not tell him the truth, the truth that you no longer find any meaning in religion, that your belief in an afterlife – which is more or less the rationale behind religion, is gradually eroding, waning, dissolving into sweet nothing. ‘You can sing?’ He asks, in a pleasantly surprised way. You hope he wouldn’t ask you to sing to him. That would be ridiculous, you imagine. ‘I try.’ You reply, after a long pause during which you act as if your phone is vibrating in your pocket. You wonder what has happened to him, still. Why you have become so different, so opposite, so divergent – like magnets of the same pole. It beats you. Is it the time that has passed? Perhaps it is, perhaps it is distance and time that has blurred your friendship into mere acquaintanceship, and acquaintanceship into, well, nothing. A short time passes and he stands to leave. You exchange fake smiles, smiles that lack happiness. You are no longer impressed by him, just as he looks disgusted, the same way he has looked since the moment you told him that you are in no place to judge a person that is gay, as you are also a sinner. You thank him for coming and say to him that you will probably visit him next week. But you hope never to see him again; of course you would not visit him next week. Sometimes, there’s nothing more suffocating than hanging on to a friendship that has let go of you.

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