First, remove the ring. It might remind you of stuff, you see, like sitting on the floor, both of you, to a meal of bread and indomie, maybe. Imagine. To be reminded of it, that first quarrel, how cool and collected, you threw cool and collected out the window, because this was the one person you’d brought so close, she’d mastered how to get under your skin at will. So, unable to stand a second more in her presence, you’d left the room, but only as far as the parlour; lay there and slipped it off, this ring, put it on the ground, a few meters from your face, to watch it – watch it like it was some suspicious object a pastor specialized in countering sporadic attacks of witchcraft had pulled out from under your bed. After a long time watching it, this ring, you’d taken a deep, deep breath finally, and slipped it on again…
Brother. To do what you are about to do, you must take this memory and put it where it will not be remembered. You hear? Lose it, this memory…of her leaning into you, to prop you up, on days that weighed heavily on you, of you leaning into her, to prop her up, on days that weighed heavily on her. Not really a pronouncement, you know – this ‘two becoming one’ thing – but a process that takes way too much of our irreplaceable time, much like trees growing into each other. Yes. To forget this, to pretend it did not happen, to – in fact – attempt to re-write what was written on the ethereal scroll where Time recorded the early History of the two of you, brother, you will have to construct very circuitous arguments.
Like – ‘she has changed’. Yes. You will have to tell yourself – ‘she has changed’ – over and over again. Yes. Once you make a habit of doing this, your eyes will open and you will start to see the proof of it everywhere. In the morning, you will see the folds your children left behind when they wriggled out of her tummy. In the afternoon, she will call you, and before you answer, you will say to yourself, ‘I bet you she’s calling me to tell me something has broken in the house’; then you will answer, and what will she say? ‘Honey, we have still not paid the children’s school fees’. You will drop the phone, and after thinking again about it very deeply, you will say: ‘Honestly, this is the only thing she is good at.’ So later that night, when you lock up and come up to find her fast asleep on the sitting room floor, you will think nothing at all of turning the lights off and leaving her there. Yes.
But brace yourself, brother…brace yourself. When you remove the ring, you see, you may find underneath it a determined circle of pale skin. Yes. Some people say, give it a day or two, and it will fade. This is true. But not for those who thought of everything, right down to where they would buy the keg that would hold the palmwine they needed to take that day to their prospective father-in-law… yes, not for those who left absolutely nothing to others. If you are one of those, then – I am sorry – the determined circle of pale skin you find underneath your wedding ring will never fade. This is true. And you will have to live with it, what you are about to do…
Wait! It is in this way – not in the Disney way of ‘happily ever afters’ – that we will speak of Love on Sunday evening at 6.45pm at the Main Auditorium of the National Centre for Women Development. Yes. At NSW, Poetry is our brush, true, but the picture we paint is of Real Life. Do NOT be late. Believe me, we always start strong. Have I not said it before?