‘The voice in my head tells me what to write. The voice in my text tells me I should read some more’ – Lila
Voice in my Text. Dying to communicate. Imagine having a place where you don’t have to be anything other than exactly who you are in all your fabulous messy glory. There she was, of fair skin visibly euphoric, one of those days a woman is at her absolute best and worst at the same time. She was beguilingly calm yet deliberately flaunted inappropriate smiles. The more innocent and obvious her hints were, the more outrageous my wild thoughts became. Her hair was a timely distraction. From a huge proponent of anomalies dominated by natural haired sistahs to another, she nailed this one! Her hair told a story I had been regurgitating since I was a little girl. No one was smart or interesting enough for me. My standards were too fucking high for a dark skin on a double-decker, but I cared not. At 25 when my friendship trajectory was at its lowest, only my hair could get me. No one was perfectly equipped to understand every inch of my tortured soul. She did me proud on that front.
Her gown, a perfect fit. She had designed it herself I was sure. A mixture of modern and medieval, of the retro-relevant and wildly fanciful. The room she was in, a mess. It bothered me as to why her crew was compelled to leave her alone in that filth. It was a large straggling building by the looks of it, very old in the centre. Not a place one would fancy mouthing soft congratulations. I gazed around, an odor of age and regret pervaded the whole crumbling building. Her outdoorsy youth would cringe at this obvious contrast on display. My perfectionist genes were under massive threat. Suffice it to say, the room had the measured elegance of something you would look at lovingly only when under the influence of something lethal. A quiet desperation that could so easily be lifted with just a little bit of courage. There should be some glorious epiphany in all of this, but this one here was real struggle.
We know more than we can tell. I had not seen my daughter for almost a year. To be brutally honest, I lost track of her. 12 solid years of queuing up every evening at the Watch Tower (as we’d call it) to catch a glimpse of what’s happening on the other side of the road took a toll on me. So I left the Tower sessions to her father for a year. He would brief me on the happenings. It didn’t look good. He’d voice his concerns about how solitude was getting the best of her and how his hands were tied when it came to offering any sort of help her way. Although It reeked of selfishness on my part, it was sensible to do that. I let her down in so many unthinkable ways, I chose afterlife. I observed her puberty days from a distance. A seamless transition to full womanhood turned chaotic and miserable. Right when she needed me most, I bailed out. To watch her go through the motions was not a plan.
People assume it’s all diamonds and free flowing honey out here. I’ll let you in on one thing, High School all over again. There’s always endless queues of something. For days you lose interest in everything after-life, the only place where a damned soul can find respite is the Watch Tower. It first sends us into the magnificent chill of the imagination and then ferries us back to ourselves, both changed and consoled. I could understand why souls exceeded daily limits gazing into beloved earthly residents for hours on end. Made so much sense until you end up casting death stares to think that you have to Love them from over here while they are 400 billion light years over there. You reach out but feel the separation of an invisible chasm. That there was the cue to head back to our reality.
So on this day particularly I met up with J Rivers who can’t quite leave the towers even for a micro second which is normal for a newbie. The long nights in front of strange monitors and fervent fingers hitting keystrokes are a one way ticket to landing at the bottom of the social pole. She’d soon be branded the Patron saint of socially paralyzed shut-ins of the Afterlife. With a boiling water challenge thrown for good measure.
“She looks average yet flawless. With that gorg gown and the glorious mess of drink-up she’s holding though, It’s clear Lila wants to join us with a bang” Joan Chuckled.
I could see the point. There was a gathering storm of dimness. I watched on as my daughter’s eyes moved slowly and lovingly over the dusty bottle of red wine. It was as if some frenzy had seized her, and she vented her rage upon the bottle. She turned her eyes to the ceiling in search of perspective and solace and she finally broke down into a massive wreck of sobs.
“She must have dreaded the idea of Forever with Him” added Joan in a reminiscent voice.
“I wish she could throw some light upon what is worrying her” I thought. I Was dying to say something to her, many things. And so I will speak of her:
Your tears look beautiful,
Of filters that scream,
darling you looked better in the first mugshot,
Heard you found a way to get by,
No longer a captive of my hold,
In helpless disarray I watched you fall,
Into several holes along the streets of recover,
I watch us decay like I never had choice,
Leaving blankets of fading scars behind your eyes…
Blue episodes, waning and wasting away,
You sure did thrive in times when pain replaced your fears,
When demons would whisper every step,
Only to cower before your fears,
A time when snatched lines became my own,
Life has gone quite well except for when it hasn’t…
“I can’t do this, I can’t… I’m sorry.” Her lament broke the silence.
She spoke a quiet prayer, perhaps reaching out to the voice in her head for help. It was male, raspy and Dutch. Or so she thought. The voice in her text that spoke of silent whispers and a bucket load of regret however, was yours truly. Lila had invested her entire childhood in trying to figure out the gender of her inner voice. Sounded like candy and trouble. The voice in her head is behind what has her reaching into the fridge when not hungry, losing her temper only to regret it later. I am only behind the good decisions in her life including pruning her inbox whilst in conversation with other human beings. The only way I could reach out to her considering she avoided me in her dreams. The medium was frustrating but I did what I had to do albeit with help from books, messages, articles and when you factor in timezone… an exercise in futility.
She grabbed a book from a drawer, brushed away a cloud of gilded dust and opened it. After a short intent perusal, she threw down the huge book with a snarl of disappointment.
“It’s pure lunacy!” she exclaimed, downing what’s left of the bottle.
A few minutes later, she picked up the book and read out loud, perhaps not wanting to confront the very obvious fact that I was the one pulling strings.
“I need to let go of him” I was running the show here.
“My detractors will undoubtedly cringe at some details but It has to be done.”
She put her left hand soothingly upon her ring finger. Oh dear! It was there. The ring, a huge rock pressing on her finger. It’s done isn’t it? My girl has already belted the cringe-worthy vows to the horrible bastard hasn’t she? She furiously shook her head, then removed the ring. I couldn’t help but nod in approval. He didn’t deserve her anyway.
“I am miserable and I’m pretty sure he is as well.” she continued reading.
She started roaming around the room admonishing herself aloud for not using it to better advantage. In the midst of all this gloomy fearful one sided dialogue that had the makings of the shortest marriage ever, there was this crazy girl jumping around with a bottle of all that’s good in the world. Sometimes what we need the most is right in front of us, we just can’t see it.
I cannot possibly embrace this mysterious Son-in-law. He must be of the demeanor that does not appeal to the eye that judges incompatibility I reckon. Luring my child into forgiveness every passing day after drowning her into a sea of tears was never a qualification from where I sit. She must have really aimed low, but why? I am not generous with expressions of love yet affections do spring up with surprising force…
All this while, I hadn’t realized there was a knock on the door. At last I would finally glance into this man who’s Lila’s life a misery. A slab sided man with loose limbs entered. His frame had fallen in. Her eyes lit up when she saw him.
“I sure hope you’ve gotten into character this time for the last scene.”
“You bet I have Mr. Director.” she smiled sheepishly.