When someone who you love goes away

November 24, 2017

Then it would be like an empty room in your heart. And even if you do nothing but sit quietly in this room that was once filled, you will feel your insides crumbling away to reveal your pain.

You must never run away from your pain. As to avoid pain is a form of pain. Instead let that pain go right thru you…feel it ripping, tearing and lancing it’s way to the other side…no matter how painful it may be, see it to the very end with both eyes wide open….never runaway from it.


‘Many years ago in a dusty airfield in Northern Uganda

The Chinaman Cocoa Planter of Gabundi Estate looked on impassively from a distance – as the last of the lumbering twin propeller driven Dakota’s prepared to take off from the make shift airfield – he wondered to himself whether it might be too heavy to make it cleanly off the ragged field. Then again the distant rents of approaching artillery shells reminded him – this is as good as it gets.

Somewhere nestled in the crammed to the brim fuselage of the Dakota was his one and only love – Eva Meyer. They didn’t even have time to say good bye. It was a hurried affair. The renegade pilot demanded his Rolex. He thrust it into his oily palms. Endless jostling. A sea of scrambling humans all with only one thing in their mind – to get the hell out of this shit hole. Somewhere in the melee, their hands separated. The door slammed closed.

As the plane picked up speed against the wind, it roared and whipped up a dust storm….goodbye my love…he muttered to himself…He remembered that final look when the door closed…he reckoned, the German nun must have thought he would be taking a seat beside her. But he knew better. This was Africa…and life is cruel, with these stray thoughts swirling in his mind. The unforgiving realization slowly dawned on him that no matter how much he wanted to be beside his one and only love to take off into the sunset like the final moment of redemption that featured in all Hollywood movies – he would have to content with watching her slip right out of his fingers just then…life his cruel…he muttered again to himself, this time turning towards a knot of refugees as they covered their faces with their kheliffa as the engines kicked up a dust storm – he clucked his tongued as he wondered to himself whether he might be like one of them…another desperate tragic soul left beside in this miserable war that was starting to sweep Uganda like a fire storm.

For a while, he wondered to himself whether he too would wail like them, close his eyes tight…like them…scratch his head…like them. Look up to the last departing plane hungrily…like them. And wished that he had a seat…like them.

All the while the dust swirled around mixed with the sweat, spittle and wails of thousands of simmering…desperate souls…he wondered to himself whether we would end up like one of those faceless pulsating whimpering souls. He flashed them a hard look of wounded despondency that just managed to betray how much he objected to their neediness. At that moment when the dust storm blotted out everything, the Chinaman experienced a rare moment of epiphany – he realized he was not like everyone else…

In the distinctly wonderful way only he could have arranged his thoughts to think the things that swirled in his mind just then – the Chinaman had answered a question that resonated deep inside him. If he was indeed different from all other men that day who watched on hungrily as the last plane in Uganda barreled towards the minty blue safety of the skies. Then maybe he did not really love that German girl with the blond hair.

When the lumbering plane finally lifted off, ten feet short of the end of the runway – the Chinaman lit his last cigarello, inhaled and looked for the first time that day at his tall Matabilli tribesmen bodyguard. Together they smiled.

And when the metallic bird banked hard to regain airspeed to break out from the death grip of gravity – the familiar clang, clang, clang of automatic gunfire began to rent out. But the Chinaman continued to smile wryly – he knew nothing could ever bring her down.

His eyes remained trained on the diminishing form of the plane as it cut through the flak covered skies. He noted the slight whine and felt a wave of reassurance that came with the knowledge the pilot had began to open up the throttle.

In a while the burgundy rage of flak subsided as fast as it had begun and soon the plane disappeared from sight completely. What was to follow was an alien sensation that swept through the desolate soul of the Chinaman. A gut wrenching tug that tore right into his heart ripping it’s way like a molten bullet.

The Chinaman breathed hard and wondered to himself again as the plane slowly disappeared from sight – ‘If I do not love her, then why do I feel this aching pain?’ He scanned the steely skies this time with his field glasses, in an attempt to snuff out that smothering yearning that could only come from regret from not being able to escape to freedom with his one and only love. The Chinaman grit his teeth hard and wondered – what is this strange force that is laying siege to the watchtower of my heart?

He wondered where Eva Meyer would go after this. Would they ever see each other again? He was even felt the acute grief that came from wanting to inhale her breath in darkened hours of infinity and to feel the pain of regret when in the morning, the sun would ruefully ripped them from their death grip embrace and throw them out into the cruel world of light. He wondered to himself how his days would u furl without her by his side – would he mourn her passing? Did he even have it in him to fumble through those waking hours without her. He even wondered whether the days would from now onwards feel so long that it might even threaten to scrunched-up his heart and leave him a wreck like one of those whimpering souls who were left behind.

Above all, as the Chinaman stood there like a solitary tongue of light long after everyone had moved on – he wondered to himself how he had allowed a pathetic German girl he hardly knew to lay siege to his being….an insurmountable fortress – in most cases one which has been built around him brick by brick from his many travails – he chuckled to himself like a deranged man when he toyed around with the notion. The perverse reality could well be while he secretly craved the forbidden fruit of reassurance which could really only come from being in love, which he could really only experience from a kindred soul such as Eva Meyer – he was also frightened of what opening that draw bridge might deliver. The Chinaman loathed the very idea charging through the gates of his heart may well be the apparitions of something he could never ever exert control.

On the sixth night when a meteor streaked through the night sky and illuminated an ambushed French armored column – the Chinaman and what was left of his ragged Adomako tribe donned the dead uniforms of fallen legionaires and resumed theor long march along the serpentine roads of Kufu and Khilahsa leading to Sudan – when they finally reached the Sudanese border, even the normally trigger frisky Ma’alia border guards hardly gave them a second look as they strolled right through – the whole entire country had after all gone to the dogs.’

Commentary by the author Darkness

It’s very Casablanca. I’ll give you that on a plate…but with a twist. And the twist makes all the difference. Well that is how I see it in my minds eye at least when I penned it. Comes across as rather gruff – after leading Eva to the plane, the Chinaman shuts the door. Woman turns around in horror and at that very moment there’s an almost eriee finality to the realization this is the last time they’re ever to going to see each other. Eva hits the plexiglass, she wants to ask him what is the meaning of this. Yet he remains implacable and in a sense the scene makes no sense. Because when one considers the normal train of how stories go – man and woman is supposed to take off into the sunset….but instead he stays and she goes. The Chinaman planned all this and this should prompt any perceptive reader to ask why?

At one level of understanding you could say they come from entirely different worlds and it would never have worked out. The cocao farmer of Gabundi estate is really just a glorified gutter rat. He may very well be seemingly clothed in all the accoutrements of respectability and wealth, but like F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Jay Gatsby this is a man with a checkered past and that could well explain how he ended in Africa. He’s an outlier pretending to be an insider. He doesn’t truly belong and the amount of effort he puts in betrays not only his own psychological inadequacies, but also his will of power like Jay Gatsby to reinvent himself as well, who keeps insisting that he’s an Oxford man when he’s not. Hence his constant use of that sobriquet term of empire, old sport….the Chinaman falls within this genre of this archetypal hero. Both of what I call empire men. Essentially these are characters who experience the inequities of poverty, lowly social status and lack of opportunities to improve their lot and have little or any incentive to conform – instead they see their own redemption in running away from their seedy past, just like Gatsby, I portrayed the Chinaman in the same make belief sheen of ‘greatness’ – his single mindedness to transform his hopes and dreams into reality thru the vulgarity of amassing illicit wealth in gun running and as a merchant of white gold, ivory. But there is a twist here, because Gatsby is the man he is only because he’s fatally drawn to the character of Daisy Buchanan as he sees her very much in the context of forbidden fruit and a sort of secret garden to his own loss age of innocence that he hopes to recreate and even relive. The irony here is Gatsby is not actually in love with Daisy, he can’t be. Because she’s a mess and from the very moment her character gets fleshed out in the chapter 3 of the novel. We the reader can even sense this dissonance acutely – we are dealing with a psychologically unstable character who is bordering on a nervous breakdown because she doesn’t know what she really wants out of life. On one hand she’s distressed by her husband’s constant infidelity, but on the other there’s also tacit acceptance. So from all this we the reader can only come to the realisation, that Gatsby is not really in love with Daisy the psycho woman. He is in love with idea of Daisy. It is very much a personal abstraction very much like the mysterious green light that he keeps looking at from across the Bay. My point is nothing about Daisy in Gatsby’s mind is real, it’s all make belief. That if you ask him is what really makes Fitzgerald’s novel such a laughable tragedy – it’s essentially not a story about love. Rather it’s dysfunctional relationship. A psycho drama.

The Chinaman may have perhaps harboured the same sentiment as Jay Gatsby. I say perhaps only because unlike Fitzgerald’s novel where the story recounted in the third person thru Nick. In the case Chinaman there is no introspective recounting. Rather I have left all this to the reader to assume the position of Nick. I did struggle with this idea, but I felt that less was more and by omitting this third party narration it would have allow the reader to draw his or her own conclusion.

It’s essentially self selecting – you can read whatever you want to read about why the Chinaman did what he did…’

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