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The East African : Apr 6th 2015
The EastAfrican MAGAZINE APRIL 4-10,2015 sho≥t sto≥y IX A da≥k and heavy condition BY GRAGORY NYAUCHI those things that the ancient gods held at bay as a reward for worship. He knew that he had to get it out of I his system. That an exorcism had to be performed, an evacuation of the body, leaving it clean and ready for more defilement. An event that was meaningful because of its repetition and its effect. It had to happen to other people too. But he couldn’t believe that it happened quite as often because he watched people as they went through their lives. A man who feels broken, who feels outcast by the demands of his body becomes adept at looking for signs of similarity. Solitude, world-weary wisdom, hard-boiled cynicism, which all meant one thing — a life alone. He often thought about the need to belong, especially as he worked hard to hide his disorder. The word disorder felt t happened sometimes. He suspected that it happened for other people too but when it descended on him it felt personal and fated. It was dark and heavy, one of wrong, it felt more like an accusation. A nod to the unnatural, an acceptance of abnormality. A sense of belonging was important and he knew it. The way each of them defined themselves with words and generalities as if just one word could describe all that they were. They were men or women, black or white, this or that. He had tried to talk about it. He had even come close to saying something substantive. There had been concerned queries but he read something sinister in the concern. The people who asked looked at him strangely, as if there were something different about him. Something in him was different and he needed He had tried to talk about it. He had even come close to saying something substantive. There had been concerned queries but he read something sinister in the concern. The people who asked looked at him strangely, as if there were something different about him. Something in him was different and he needed saving from. saving from. They looked hopeful for an answer that would explain his difference. They looked hopeful that they would never be like him. That all he needed to do was visit the doctor or that maybe he had been born that way. He pushed them further away from himself with his every word. To them his words were a blithe answer, a carefree joke. His words conveyed an ironic weariness with the world that only those doomed to go through his experience would ever feel. His words seemed to satisfy them; they seemed to tell them that no, they would never do what he did, or at least not as much as he did. There were people who approached his situation with a morbid curiosity especially when they quizzed him about his proclivities. Endlessly interested in the details. Shocked at how this could possibly be, but gleeful. This second type did not need reassurance, they knew they could not be like him. They also did not offer him any reassurance. It may have been a physical problem; it may have been a psychological reaction. He couldn’t tell. He pretended that it did not bother him and he had never tried to google his problem. The world had created a repository of human knowledge, a cauldron into which all the ingredients that made up people’s cultural and scientific knowledge for millennia had been deposited. Yet, he found himself unable to type in the requisite query that could put him at ease. He dreaded thinking about his prob- lem, which he faced many times a day. The urge would take over him without warning. He would sit at his workstation willing himself to be normal for a little while longer. Trying to fight a battle he had already lost. Sitting there he could feel it building up and no amount of intellectual theorizing could stop it. He stood up as calmly as he could, pulled his roll of tissue and slowly pulled off a few sheets. He was aware that this was his fourth time today and of the studied indifference with which people around him went on with their work. He refused to be known as the guy who went to the toilet six times a day even though that sentence said so much more about him than the monikers everyone else wore so proudly: Accountant; receptionist; boss; client; strange.
Mar 30th 2015
Apr 13th 2015