Seasons & the dark side

May 24, 2015

June is the seasonal equatorial midpoint…it’s the proverbial half way mark….the unsettling period when the seasons begin to change. The time when one season steps in and another bows out. The wind pivots only in June. Rains always fall straighter. Rooms appear longer and bigger. Razors blunt easily. Door knobs sting with a barb of static. Dogs howl often.Water from the tap runs warm. Clothes dry indoors. Canned food warps. Rubberbands snap easily. Bubble wrap pop crispier. Matches light effortlessly. Stubborn doors close without gaps. Window frames torque. Cats disappear for days on end. Snails travel less far. Copper acquires a greenish patina. Brass dulls. Stars appear to be further away. Roof tiles loosen and frequently fall from the eaves. Slippers are less stick. Socks fluffier. Toilet paper feels like sand paper. Knives loose their edge faster. Paper curls at the edges. Books unhinge from their spines. Batteries die out before they are supposed to.

June is when everything in and around the man acquires an almost supernatural quality.

The morning light in June is not the suffused wooly light of January or April. It beats down fierce and hard, leaving nothing to the imagination. There is no fairy tale lingering mist during day break in June. The flight of the swiftlets are broken. They dip from side to side – it’s the effect of thermals that makes it difficult to maintain balance in flight. They, the birds chirp two stanzas again and again, Kee and Yee, as if to herald the arrival of that primordial season of uncertainly. Either that or to mock the proud sea eagles who glide high above them in arcs during this time of the year.

In June, the man who lives on the hill installs himself on a rattan chair during the copper tone evenings. He wears only khaki during this season blending into the bronzed landscape. The laces of his boots are turned outwards to allow the leather uppers to breathe to keep his feet cool during the hot season. They say the man learnt this from the ever wandering Foreign Legion in Africa along with other such things that only those who know of the revolution of seasons.

Or maybe this simply gives a tone and hue to the man’s ever changing thoughts during June. Like his much rumored nocturnal soirées where the man will drink himself into a maelstrom and knuckle fight thereafter round after round till the early morn only to lumber back and slip back into his life of sobriety, propriety and respectability.

When anyone ask why the man’s face is always scarred like a prize fighter only in the month of June.

Everyone just shrugs their shoulder and mutters, ‘it’s the heat….it makes men do stupid things.’

No one knows why this man who lives on the hill likes to pick fights only in the month of June. Probably not even the man himself. As in June, the heat renders it almost impossible to hold on to the barest morsel of thought….as everything melts away leaving a melange of nothingness except maybe the man who stands alone watching the before, during and after of all and much more that could only be his mistress of torment called June.


‘I never talk about it. Never. I should, I reckon, get it off my chest that is. But for some inexplicable reason…I keep it secreted from the world.

I always know how it’s going to start. Usually, with the belief it will be different this year. But as the days creep imperceptibly towards June and the air begins to be hollowed out – he steps right out of my skin.

It’s easy when one goes out to look for trouble. You see I am always in control. Or shall I say he is. But I can’t stop him. Not even when I have the power to walk right out of the door. Not even when I am slowly wrapping thin strips of rubber to turn my fist into a club just before one of those fights where men are all laying bets on whose going to be left standing when it’s all done.

He’s not afraid what happens to him in the ring. He doesn’t even care. It’s as he’s steered me here thru out the whole evening and I am only there for the ride, this is all he ever wanted out of the night. To fight. As for the rest, or what comes thereafter – he just don’t care.

I take a look at the mirror just before I step out – I say to myself, stop this! But there’s always a louder voice that tells me – this how it will go down to tonite and you are powerless to stop it.

He steps right into the ring. There is a swagger about him. Someone offers him whisky. He takes a swig and kisses a girl with big tits for la effect. It works. The crowd is in a frenzy.

It’s a human ring formed by men who would either make the circle bigger or smaller depending on how the fight goes – when the boxers get hit and fall back, they get pushed back into the fight. No rules here. No count downs even. No referee. Just the brutality of whose left standing when it all over. That’s the way it is in kampung rumbles. That’s the way he prefers it.

The sound is deafening by now – the crowd is laying down bets fast and furious. He does a Mohammad Ali jig, two jabs, left…left…right followed with a lightning upper cut and caps it off with a pirouette with both hands held up high. It drives the kampung crowd wild. Someone smears Vaseline mixed with Tiger Balm over his forehead, it cuts the pain. Another oils me him down with coconut oil and the bell rings.

Then it begins…..

Somewhere in this choreography of screaming men and women, spit, blood and sweat suddenly the world slows right down to a crawl – I can see myself in the ring shadow boxing. I shout out, ‘stop! Please stop! I am afraid. I want to go back home now!’ But it’s only a whimper somewhere in my head. As I watch in horror as this monster tears right in with teeth gnashing when it begins. He takes a couple of hits, but he’s to deep in the gyre to feel a thing – ‘stop! I beg you please stop! But it just goes right on like some terrible nightmare. The crowd is going wild…the lights of the lorries…a girl flashes her tits…a smiling man with a row of gold teeth…he’s covered in blood. His eyes are all swollen. But I can just make out that he’s relishing every moment of it, as he flashes me a crazed look of a tortured soul.

Please stop!….please. I am afraid. Please I beg of you. Please stop now and let’s go home together. Please. I am afraid. Stop. Please stop….I just want this nightmare to stop.’

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