“Tell that noisy committee in your head to shut up,” the preacher said.
Twilight comes, and I am here in its embrace. I am here on the roadside waiting for a conveyance home. I hum a tune like I am happy that today’s work is over. My waist strains from bending down always, cleaning toilets and emptying waste bins. I barely rest.
Night is beginning to swallow up the twilight. I look at the buildings, these tall buildings, aloof and tall. Their tall pompous silhouettes lay across in this nascent night like giant monsters. The lights of their generator-powered interiors shoot out through their glass walls like the lies which politicians have been telling us.
The road before me is a bed of many frowning smiles frowning like unemployed graduates. It is a busy spectacle of fancy and ramshackle boxes on wheels, rickety, rickety and quacking like poverty, on wheels rolling free, free like freedom, speeding by, bumping on, dancing along, speeding past in constant succession like there is a prize to be won. Of course, there is a prize. Those who win never return to this road again. The night buzzes of numerous engines, numerous with greed, and hooting horns blaring away with impatience. t usually happens in a split second. A screeching noise which the ears hear first; and an aftermath of rammed bodies and jammed boxes meet the eyes.
The road is here. I am here. The road is busy. I’m busy. My mind speeds off like these moving boxes, ding-donging along to her. The emotion wells up in me. Sneezing, I stretch my tired body. The effort doesn’t get the usual response of my tired groan because there is no awareness to feel it, at least for now.
There is this feeling which has been there like a recessive gene. Now it bobs and ducks on the ripples of my thoughts. It steals my awareness away from the road’s life; pricks the whole of me and boils down to my center. I begin to bulge yonder. The flesh there between my legs rise like flowers waking up to the early morning sun.
Sex! Vagina! Penis! Stop! Stop! Stop! You don’t want to hear any of those words. You don’t want to feel yourself feeling them. But they are your feelings right now. Since the first time you set your eyes on her, you seem to feel yourself asking always, When was the last time you had sex? Almost immediately, my manhood seems to make a mockery of me saying, Oh sorry, you have never entered that bearded slit. Haha! Then it continues in vehement vexation; That’s why you behave like you are not even aware that I am an organ that exists. I am your penis. Do you think I am here just to empty your bladder? You are mad!
So you hide away from yourself. Have you seen your nakedness, the pornography of yourself in the mirror? No. You don’t want to catch yourself admiring the burrows on your belly, the biceps of your arms; your broad shoulders and your ridged chest, your behind, and in-between your legs, I’m there forsaken. Who owns them? Who owns me?
You like her breasts -full, round, juicy Bengali mangoes. You want to fondle them, bust them even. Sorry they don’t bust. You feel like sucking on them. Her fat fleshy lips you want to steal away with yours. You like the curves behind her front. You want to hold them. You want to feel them with your clammy palms. And her bare long legs, you want to caress. Her voice, that sonorous utterance that sings music to your ears, you want to hear it always.
And do you even listen to her words or you just look at her lips-the various shapes they make, the rise and fall of her tongue, the gap in her teeth? You look at how they combine to produce the words. You like the way she laughs and her bosom dances along as a result. That deep throaty laughter reminds you of how much life you are not living and how much you want to. But you shut yourself off those feelings like you are someone watching someone having those feelings.
Haha! Do you have a penis at all? Do you have me? Pull your trousers down let me see. Oh! See, you are just scared. You want to have sex. You want a woman. It’s not a big deal. Just tell her you like her, since you like her. Don’t think about it. Admit it. Just tell her. Tell her. Dare her. I am this feeling. I’ll not fade away. Don’t think about it. Or who is feeling this feeling?
I’m this feeling. I am you, coiled up here, abandoned. I am your demon wailing in here. Yes. I’m banging you with this feeling. You must not keep me, yourself, locked up, in here, in the recess of your inside like some godforsaken dirt. Damned! Speak me out. Talk me out. You are not a lady’s guy, but you’re feeling this feeling?
You are lusting? Haha. I caught you. You are dirty. You are thinking of me. So you are dirty. Okay, you are dirty. I am dirty. Haha! It’s you who is me; who is thinking me; who is feeling me.We are dirty.
I wave a conveyance down. It stops. I bundle myself, my tired self in. I yawn. The yawn pricks my awareness back to the hitherto achy effect of work that earlier had met my unawareness. My face contorts into wrinkles of pain. I greet the being behind the wheels.
“Workers’ village.” I muttered afterwards.
Tomorrow is another day. Another eight hours of engagement with the insipid monotony in the bowels of that flat. From the stereo, I manage to catch the last words of the preacher; “Tell that noisy committee in your head to shut up.”
“Tell that noisy committee in your head to shut up? Really! Can you shut me down Mr. Preacher? Am I not also your tormentor,” my Self queries. “Do I look like a computer to you? Answer me, Mr. Preacher. How do I resemble a laptop in your eyes?” It asks. Then, turning its focus on me again, it gives its final warning; “See, you coward, I am not going to shut down; you are not dead yet.”
I am home now. There is no light. There has not been electricity for a month, maybe two. I have lost count. I flash my phone’s torch. The cockroaches scurry away. The rats scamper in the roof. My phone, this ‘Nokia touch’ winks a dying note. I put it off to save the battery. I turn on the battery-powered lantern. The batteries are weak now. I manage to see in the dim light. It’s my room after all.
I am tired. I take biscuits from the cupboard. I munch lazily. My beverage is finished. The cans decorate the inside of the cupboard with emptiness. I have to wait until salary comes. It may not even come.
My Self still prattles like a silent dream. It jeers. It laughs. It mocks. It is strong and crimson red. Tolstoy’s War and Peace stares at me from the reading desk. Pierrie is having a new life. He has found joy in living. I am happy for him.
No. I can’t read now. I need some sleep. Let’s continue tomorrow, I say to the book. My books are used to my procrastination.
But you will come back tired and ignore me again, the book seems to say.
I promise, tomorrow. I insist
My Self rears its head again. Shut up, I say to it. I don’t love her. I am not ready to incite any illusion of love in her. It keeps quiet, for once at least. I sleep off.
I am awake at cockcrow as usual. But I want to stay longer in bed. My waist, my chest, all my joints are aching like toothache. I want to stay longer and just do nothing. I notice dampness around my loins. I feel starchy dryness there too. How was my night?