After two weeks of beautiful weather and incredible time with an incredible girl in incredible circumstances, I’m back in my small and very boring town. Very hot here. 35 degrees, but feels like 50! Because of the humidity. And I’m wondering what I’m really doing here. The last two weeks have passed like a dream, more like a very sweet dream, and I wonder if time will turn it into a nightmare. But for the moment, I’m relishing the sweetness of it all, the honey that dripped out of the rays of each sunrise for the last two weeks, and the beauty of the elusive sunsets that nevertheless brought me dreams from fairy tales.
Suddenly, I’m in a relationship.
And when I got back home, it struck me how hard it is to be a bachelor. I found the house very dirty, with cobwebs smothering every inch of the ceiling, the kitchen littered with plates and pans that I left unwashed two weeks ago – and something stinking somewhere – and a mat of dust on the floor lent the house the smell of desolation.
Normally, I would have simply slumped into my bed – unmade for two weeks! – and cleaned up one bit at a time over the next few days. But this time, I had this feeling that she might walk in any moment, though she’s an ocean away – I just thought it wasn’t right to live in such a dirty place, because she is now in my head as though she is an imaginary Siamese twin clinging to my heart. And you can’t live in a pigsty if there is a girl with a clinical repulsion to dirt living inside your head.
So I cleaned up, and spent a really good part of the afternoon making the house as clean as it could be – though I was starving. I had to make the house clean before cooking, and by the time I sat down to eat, it was already 6pm.
Talk about life changing all of a sudden, all because someone burrowed her way into your head like a mole looking for a piece of cassava to steal.
Which reminds me of what I was really writing about – hope she doesn’t read this and get angry and sulk for the rest of her life, but she’s in my head, so I figure she is reading it as I write! Well, at one point, as I was taking out the trash, I heard something slither away amidst the dry leaves. I turned sharply, and caught the tail end of a snake.
It wasn’t a normal snake. It was really long. I remember that first time I didn’t see it’s head, or it’s middle part, but what seemed like the rear end, and it was slithering away, but I still saw it for a good many seconds, which made me think that this is one very huge snake! Right in my backyard! It climbed up a tree – more like a shrub – and vanished in the thin foliage. I can’t imagine how, for the tree is barely twelve feet high. Now I tried to look for the snake up there, but couldn’t see it.
Was I scared? Nope. Just excited. As if I’d walked into a zoo and seen a snake – only that this was more interesting because it was a really huge wild snake slithering about in my backyard. Should be scary, ugh?
The snake came back a few hours later. I was looking out for it this time, with my camera ready. Only that I should have deleted some of the useless photos first, to create space on the memory card, but still, I managed to capture a few shots of it. Something was telling me that I should try to kill it, or make noise and let the neighbors deal with it, but I was pleased to see this monster. As if it was some kind of pet. I wasn’t scared at all. It seemed to be playing with itself, maybe hunting for food, as it went round and round in circles, keeping itself to a certain corner of my backyard. And I kept myself a good distance away, at the doorway to my kitchen, hoping no one stumbles upon us and scares it away.
And I snapped away happily. Until the camera started to tell me ‘memory card full’. Which pissed me off, because this was the best part.
The snake was climbing up the tree again. But for a few seconds, it reared it’s head up, so tall, standing maybe three feet off the ground as though it had legs. It reminded me of the way the snakes poke their heads out of the baskets of snake charmers. Only that there was no one playing any flute here. The snake was for a few seconds standing parallel to the tree trunk, then it kissed the tree, wound itself up and vanished into the leaves. I had managed to delete some unnecessary pictures, but by this time, the snake was gone up the leaves. And I cursed.
But at least I got some pictures of him. And this tiger color on his face is something I’ve never heard of before. Or is it zebra color? If my ‘brand new’ girlfriend learns of the zebra color, she might think there is a connection, for between us, zebra has a special meaning.
Well, later, as I ate a mango, I remembered the story of the forbidden fruit. You know, Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden? And suddenly the unexpectedness of the last two weeks, the way things rushed, and a heated conversation I had with her just this morning before my flight, sort of mingled up with the image of a snake in the garden of Eden, telling Eve to eat the fruit. And many words and images tumbled through my head. Temptress. Liar. Virgin – I figure Adam was a virgin then, wasn’t he? – Discovering the meaning of true love.
And I asked myself, is the appearance of this snake a sign that this relationship is similar to that of Adam and Eve? That I have made the biggest mistake of my life? Something that will cast me out of Eden, and into a world of tears and torment and all that?
And even as I asked myself these questions, I could hear her voice screaming at me – remember, she’s inside my head all the time and she could hear these doubts and fears as clearly as if I was speaking them out aloud – and she was screaming back at me. “Stop thinking like that! This is the kind of thing that can break a relationship before it even starts! You are insulting me with these thoughts! You are making me very sad.”
But in this time of Aids, you can never stop having such thoughts. And even if it weren’t for disease, anyone would have second thoughts just before committing to something so big in his or her life. Even Juliet was thinking twice about what she was doing during that famous monologue on the balcony, with Romeo eaves dropping, asking ‘but what’s in a name’ signifies that she was torn between two forces.
And love won.
And even as this ‘brand new’ girlfriend screamed at me to stop thinking like that, I couldn’t get the snake out of my head. And I couldn’t help thinking that, though Eve and Adam blamed each other, they never broke up. They went ahead and got married, and lived happily ever after, which is the reason why I’m writing this blog and you are reading it, because without Adam and Eve, we wouldn’t have existed. Would we?