Regret, I heard her say, comes at the expense of enjoyment.
There is an uncanny silence and a recalcitrant disappointment which remains unseen and hidden behind a shame I consider myself privileged to feel.
The weirdest feeling in the world is putting yourself in front of a camera and speaking self-consciously about no one but yourself, as if the words you utter echo with a universal verity hidden above the clouds. This weird feeling causes a rupture in the self-reflexive self and from within the open shell, clad with flesh and skin, climbs Acacia. Flesh of my flesh and blood of my blood. Yet she can’t claim freedom; my words will not redeem her. My flesh burdens hers with my encrypted words; my blood taints hers with my heavy heart beat. She sprouts in May from a desert-like dryness, embodying an unquenchable thirst amongst the Ténéré region of the Sahara.
The Tree of Ténéré, Acacia; my best friend. I commit myself to rupture with this declaration. Acacia will die as a condition of my writing. My best friend, this is a promise I’ve made from the very first sentence, when I decided that I’ll sacrifice your life unto fiction. All friendships begin with the possibility of survival. “Surviving—That is the other name of a mourning whose possibility is never to be awaited.” Jacques Derrida.
Acacia, she lived among many others, learning from them and befouling them. Nevertheless, it was a communal feeling which made her feel as part of a whole, invincible, purposeful and grandiose. How blameless and shameless time passed. She was as uncomplicated as a child, and I watched this tenderness grow with drunken yet unquestionable eyes. But all things come to pass.
Acacia, you were neither good nor bad. You were divine.
Did not the child grow? Deceit and envy filled her and she became like a jealous God. Condemned to the black violence of the Sun, she cried to her unbearable mother for help. The nails of the sun taught her of the monstrosity of the cyclopean eye of God.
In my head, all my stories start with the conjunction “and”. And Acacia looked at her uncle in such bedazzlement; a nine year old child in awe of being in the penumbra of uncle Arb. And when they were alone he’d tell her, straightforwardly, “don’t grow tall like me, spread wide beneath me, go beyond me. There is nothing beyond the sky except the sun. Keep the sun at a safe distance.” But what can a nine-year old understand from this except everything uncle Arb did not mean. So she kept herself under his shoulder whenever she could and tried to dance around and between his feet. She danced like ripples around a centre, her hands joined her uncle’s and unaware to his direction, she was led to the periphery. Decentred roots travelled in all directions, but avoided the sun. She danced like ripples with eyes closed, the inertia created by her uncle Arb led her on. She danced like ripples until she could dance no more. She danced like ripples until she felt the bottom with her saltatory taproot.
Great Bermuda. Acacia opened her eyes and looked upon the Ténéré; the landscape forced her to close them again completely. She witnessed a vast nothingness and the horror of dancing with eyes closed. All was gone and she was left alone; no more tall trees to compete with for uncle Arb’s hand. Dunes of sand enveloped her. She was no longer in the penumbra of her uncle but under the direct gaze of the sun. And did not the child grow to an aloneness disguised as independence?
The Ténéré became a space for herself and she occupied it with a lonesome stillness which filled the Sahara with trepidation. Acacia closed her eyes and created another world through the imagination of the sublime confronted by no limit. She closed her eyes and imagined a studio with red walls, a staircase leading to a tight low-ceiling bedroom. Beneath the bedroom, a bathroom stood opposite a kitchen, a refrigerator and a microwave cramped next to a sink. She hung paintings on the walls and adorned the balcony door with thin velvet curtains. And on she lived, with imaginary friends and imaginary conversations; she wrapped herself in the night time of shut eyelids and made of herself a God, indifferent to circumstance. It was not good and not bad; her imagination was sublime. Her aloneness was no longer a sickness, but an opportunity, a door.
But every once in a while, she’d scratch the bottom with her taproot with an immense hatred for life. The bottom reminded her that her tragedy will soon know completion under the real sun.
And I joyfully watched her closed eyes and kept silent. I was alarmingly close, but subtle, accepting of everything. I was every grain of sand upon a dune sculpted by zephyrs. And I thought I was safeguarding her freedom with my mute and cautious drifting; And I thought I was maintaining equilibrium as I stood behind velvet curtains and imaginary doors, stalking, listening and gazing on eyes closed shut. And…And…And…
…she opened her eyes; she had to. Stability is inevitably short-lived, as unreal as the illusion of my clear conscience. I sat on the edge of the bed as a clash of substance in the middle of nothingness knocked her down to the ground and derooted her: a chance-fuelled event of rupture.
She opened her eyes. Regret, I heard her say, comes at the expense of enjoyment.
[Excuse the anthropomorphism.]