A Love Story
You can reach community member and author Lyster Matamanda on LinkedIn
Her view from the penthouse was breathtaking. She had a way with the atmosphere; a symphony, as she slept quietly covered by carpet of soft green rock moss. Without a doubt she was the foundation of everything, and despite her delicate nature she was an accomplished hostess. Unconventionally, we chose a home perched high in the sky so that we could make our love so sweet with no disturbance from the outside world. It was like heaven to kiss her tender cheeks being watched by angels sitting on the whitest feather-like clouds. Pure magic- I agreed with myself, smiling from deep within. She was soft and sturdy; rare like a unicorn. Our love story is common except that the uniqueness of our difference was of interest to many who heard about us. I was a preteen on holiday when I met her in Rio. She presented herself effortlessly, bright and colourful adorned with all kinds of scents. The green background blended well with almost any colour and formed this piece of art that transcended human understanding. It was like beautiful oil on canvas portraits of nature that only a magical mind can imagine. The contours on her features gave away her longevity, years of true happiness in the untamed space. Her age didn't matter because her deep blue eyes sparkled when she smiled and no streak of endurance manifested in her character. For nearly a year, she spoke a strange language I couldn't understand. When I went back home after one long month of seeing her gyrate her hips every day, I realised that the future was exciting. I loved watching her soft brown curves silhouetting against the sky and the yellowing of the tips of her fingers when the sun went down. She displayed confidence in herself, leaning towards arrogance and grace. I absorbed all her ravishing original beauty and couldn’t explain what it did to my heart. But who was she really? How could she captivate my heart with so great a range of colour and diversity? I couldn't be swayed so easily but she did so only by showing me what she freely offered - everything. In that short space of time, I was acquainted with the glimpses of paradise filled with sacred feminine energy. From that day onwards I lived in remembrance of her promises. The fact that no one could fully describe who she was made her an object of fascination which I felt encouraged to pursue hotly. Throughout college, my heart yearned for a pure and serene time with her. I spend my afternoons daydreaming about her. Life in the city was noisy and devoid of originality. The feeling of chaos drove me on edge and created a strong desire of finding meaning in her. The career I chose was out of compassion, I hated losing life so I thought of saving people one at a time, snatching them right out of the mouth of the devil; disease-causing pathogens. All my years of studying medicine drained me and made me a broken man, with a limited taste of life so I lived a reserved life with almost no highlights. Through it all, her devotion to me was complete and unquestioned cutting through technology just to lure me. She seemed to complement my simplicity and that made me content. Whenever I scrolled the internet, her restless energy enchanted me. Just a look at the waves of the sea on my iPad created an impression of deep calmness and discomfort at the same time. In a flash, we would meet somewhere and together soared in a quiet place welcoming the stranger that brought an aspect of colour in our lives. What was so special about heaps of dirt and grit? Unbeknown to many, millions of feelings were hidden inside her. I kept asking myself if my heart was prepared to contain ancient mysteries and the answer was clear. Being a mystery myself, I was no stranger to unexplainable things. Deep down I knew she was expensive, priceless and difficult to please, yet I yielded to her advances. It was an emotional investment that could either make or break me, I accepted both results hoping for the best. Some said I was in love with an idea that was constantly in motion and evolving but I liked the challenge. I had to take a chance in order to be satisfied. If love was nothing how come all things in life were cemented by love? Nations stand because of love, kingdoms are built by love and friendships prevailed the test of time because of true love. I loved her because she loved me back so I was willing to sacrifice my time for her.
When I chose to seek her a decade later, her countenance had changed. My journey to the African equator radiated an aura of agitation. While I couldn't predict the monster she met first, I could only guess her doubtful loyalties which were a sure mark of survival from some terrible ordeal. The beautiful crown of colourful jewels she wore on her head was replaced by a dummy made of dirty plastic. In various places, thugs had violated her and she had lost her youthful appearance and innocence. I couldn’t believe that someone could deliberately take a machete and disfigure her. She had dark patches all over her face signifying bruises that were already healing. The large marks resembled bulls’ eyes targeting her for more destruction. Constantly she suffered from excessive mood swings, with the pendulum moving from episodes of pessimism to euphoria. She was highly unstable judging from her lapses in memory. Whatever she faced; was traumatic. I did not need a psychologist to tell me. Like sand dunes, she was always wandering in the dry deserts; shifting like someone unsure of herself. Many attempts to embrace her showed no room for close companionship. She pushed me away with a warning. One look at her revealed my least expectations. She had bipolar. The deep persistent and enduring inequalities weakened the bonds of trust between us making us total strangers to each other. She saw me as a perpetrator of violence against her yet I was also a victim; of other people’s actions and hers. It was crazy to imagine that we were already arguing before we even properly reconnected.
There were more skeletons in her life, ghosts I will never know of. Those grey areas mattered to me more than anything if I was to battle for her soul. I wanted to understand her to care for her. She, however, was like a stubborn, malnourished child who wouldn’t feed no matter how much she was given. Extreme hunger had overtaken her beyond repair. Travelling the depth and length of the giant continent, I started connecting the dots. To my amazement, she was not deaf and dumb as they depicted neither was she stubborn. She suffered from dwarfism and lack of self-esteem. Her disability, although advanced could be undone with much love and special care. Because of her handicap, she could not reach on top of the table to feast on the delicacies laid on the table. Greedy men duped her off her royalties, stripping her of everything she owned and built mansions in the north for their children to inherit. All the precious minerals invested in her before the foundations of life were stolen while she watched helplessly. She was left bare like a naked mannequin while they loudly proclaimed that she was slow and dull, unable to learn yet their conduct had left her with no strength and will to fight because they came at her with big automated guns and bombs. Every day they invented new ways of destroying her and she was the testing ground much to her disgust. They took her provision as an act of ignorance. With the elements she provided to elongate and enrich their limited lives, they made cocktails of weapons and ate war for dessert. When they finished their dirty deeds they asked her to transform death into life by burying those everlasting toxins. Yes, she was known by many names and could multi-task with excellent results but magic was not one of her specialties.
Over Africa, she was more than distressed and wept bitterly but could not shed a single tear. Her eyelids had dried up completely because of the heat of the Sahara. She made gardens and they turned them into graveyards. Miles of brown sand exposed her nakedness and refused to be trustworthy, to be keepers of anything at all. Tiny crystals of quartz specialised in passing on everything, even water and heat without a trace. Oh, how I yearned for the days when everything was flawless! Gone were the good times but, how could I judge her? She was justified after all was said and done. There was stress in the centre of her delicate heart and war on all her margins. She was stirring up strife and calling for attention. In the fine calls of music from the waves of the sea, I could hear a rare voice of restraint, pushing me away and restricting me from getting closer to her heart again; if she had a heart at all. Although her heart was still in place, it was as good as dead, clogged by thick black gold from the Gulf of Mexico where fierce marine destroyers lived. Her lifeblood was being sucked out of her as they extracted the black gold causing extreme fatigue, headaches and dizziness. While death is a portion for royals and paupers alike, she was having nightmares because she was being overthrown by chronic toxicity. Years of accidental leaks caused by the refusal to shift to safer sources of energy were weighing down on her. To her, mankind was manipulative like a magician using tarot cards to predict the future. The oil moguls knew that she was made to live forever only when they followed a specific manual yet they extended cosmetic handshakes at sustainability talks. Tracing back to the place where I first met her, all the grandeur and the loneliness characterizing a dense forest were gone. There was a thick throng of humanity wielding iron axes and chainsaws harvesting where they did not sow. Fine poles of timber from decades of watering and providing sunlight were mercilessly cut down. Day and night barons ploughed her back and choked her veins with debris. The pure milk from her large breasts in the mangroves dried up after eons of flowing. Out of them came un-purified murky waters that could no longer nourish the rivers. Even I could smell capitalism gathered around digging her grave slowly. Women and children were already conducting a funeral service their faces filled with a deep sense of loss as she was one of their own. It saddened them that her fate was in the hands of a few men. Being givers of life themselves, they could relate to her suffering. The superiority to nature called for by men, was utter nonsense because it broke all the rules of co-existence as if they were the only inhabitants of the earth. I felt weak and powerless knowing that I could not offer her a shoulder for consolation because I was afraid; all her exploiters were rich and powerful. That rot in the system was the source of her gangrene. Before I could fix my mind on surgery, I already knew the difference between death and dying. Her chances of survival were slipping away one place at a time and she knew it. Her anguish was gathering momentum and it was only a matter of time.
Most people described her in many ways as wild and free but people like me and perhaps men of the cloth knew the real meaning of carrying baggage. Those overhanging rocks on eroded cliffs deep in the Canyon were oversized loads-a true reflection of the burdens placed on her by those of my kind. Her freedom was a controversial topic because judges and other men of the law kept her bound in thick fetters of iron, not willing to let her go. Decorated generals and war heroes claimed her like a trophy and pinned her down like badges on their lapels. They demanded that she give livelihoods to the whole creation at no cost. They were asking for the moon and offered nothing in return, not even the well-deserved gratitude. Like a lifelong prisoner, she obliged knowing that her time would come. Even if they didn’t give her an audience she would make a showdown. This arrogance towards her was shaping her personality, creating a new norm marred with uncertainty. At this, she shut everyone out and it became difficult to connect with her. Years of dedicated effort to know her intimately were thrown away on a whim. She looked to the other side thinking deeply, muffling soft sobs that could only be heard with the stethoscope. From a humble place at the feet of the Alps, her tears could be seen flowing down the slopes in avalanches. Gallons of tears which had been held together by love and care in perfect equilibrium were let loose by selfishness. All the mist and clouds that covered the mountain tops fled her roars of anger during the day. In the deep of the night, chilling; heart-moving songs of widowhood could be heard. Like a slave picking cotton in the Americas, she sang with dark passion; wordless but sorrowful hymns invoking even the dead. She was giving a voice to her pain and her objective was to be heard. She was speaking to nothing but the wind. Surely, somebody had to listen from somewhere otherwise her cries would remain like bad vibes in her closet. She had always been there like that woman praying by the roadside. Only angels could be heard weeping with her. In a bid to protect their hidden agendas and selfish desires, they called corrupt men to the witness stand whenever her trial came to court. The court itself proved unworthy of compassion. Because of this, she vowed that vengeance must always be profound and absolute. Her desire was to keep the powerful accountable; she was determined to turn her pain into power. To her displeasure, they turned her troubles into a fashionable thing. They mocked her desperate, fierce calls for attention by trending her on social media. Although she gained millions of followers trending, she was an unwelcome subject in their lives with many feeling that she was a hindrance to productivity. She was beyond wearied by redundant cheers of politicians loving the limelight of meaningless conventions. Even if great leaders gathered on the world stage in huge numbers, their intelligence seemed to go in circles. Over and over again all this madness extended to scenarios beyond the courtroom. She vowed never to get tired because her energy came from elements which were in abundance, but man's energy came from food. She didn't know how to go through uncomfortable experiences which forced her to display her wide range of power: earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis; floods and deprive others of vital resources with droughts and famines. She became unpredictable and often threw fits of rage. The intensity of her anger and destruction were horrifying, never reaching a crescendo. I asked myself one more time if in my right mind I would love someone like that. Despite all that, I failed to replace my affection for her with resentment. Emotionally she was a wreck but I could tell that she was desperately holding on to the thin shreds of trust in men. When I arrived in Australia she had already suffered third-degree burns. Helicopters hovered over the uncontrolled forest fires ravaging her. She was already deformed and hardly felt the burns in most of the parts since there was scar tissue from the previous infernos. She had questions that no one was able to answer so she voluntarily joined them in what now seemed like a tradition of lighting fires. She felt no pity because the world over she was already damaged. Honourable men, the homeless and even housewives as well as those who constantly live on the other side of the law felt her wrath but they were marching toward positions of power to change their ways much slower than actually required. All those crude oil conglomerates and billionaires; like an old woman walking to her bed, dragged their feet towards endogenous climate change resolutions. Like a man who had experienced a nasty divorce, they avoided putting their signatures down as if it was on a marriage certificate. They rejected commitment and tossed it away like a dirty piece of underwear. They didn't want to be caught in the net, bound by chains of justice and forced to pay back for the destruction they caused that affected a starving child in India. No! They hated to have their conscience sprinkled with innocent blood and be reminded constantly of their hidden transgressions which they thought were atoned for. Secretly they hired fine Asian businessmen to carry their guilt while they walked free. The industrious Asians smoked huge pipes and laboured all night, providing goods for the western aristocrats leaving a trail of dark smog and dye-stained rivers. On a bad day, they needed forklifts to push away the fog that engulfed their cities at sunset while kings had picnics on the green lawns of their estates and ate strawberries in golden china. Not even a day passes without thinking about their guilty pleasures. Weighed by their delinquencies, the Westerners make frantic efforts to clean up their mess. They live a double life, one in the fast lane and the other in the eye of the storm with imaginary happiness. After a considerable time diagnosing her unexplainable fits, I went back home knowing the diseases affecting her. The cancer had metastasized and spread to her brain. I felt unloved and rejected. In my wildest dreams I never thought she would overlook a soft-spoken and caring man like me. I thought I was all she could ever want; someone with deep knowledge of her being; her highs, lows, imperfections and still love her. My deepest fears were confirmed but I was not willing to fail her, especially in her vulnerable moments. The destruction was rampant and had already started choking her vitals. She was already wheelchair-bound but continued dancing salsa in the minefield just for the love of life. She was a spirit-filled being who loved independence and freedom. The wheelchair didn’t limit her and that is what made me fall in love with her in the first place. It was as if her wheels grew wings to allow her to be in tune with the waves of the wind. Thus far she had made it alone giving signs of a bleak future, now it was time for me to carry her burden with her. The messengers and the message had gone out into the world but only a few knew what to do to save her life. The rich had the money, the poor didn’t have the means but the enlightened had willpower. I vowed to fight for her freedom with everything I had, one step at a time even if it meant shouting from the top of the highest mountain. Even though many think I'm in love with an idea, my love is real and comes from a place of understanding who she is and the many good things she can be for me. I was determined to win so I had to gather strength to redeem her.