The Little One in the form of an Owl...(but don't tell her I said that!)

December 30, 2011

A Day of Reckoning (Part 3)

Looking at the past is a whole lot uglier than the movies would suggest.  The day after Christmas, my parents got into a heated argument on the inane topic of who would ride in what car when they went to visit relatives the following day.  The power was out; it was late, coming to 10 o’clock and the house was half-lit by the erratically placed solar panels.  They sat in the darkened living room carelessly raising their voices into the shadowed halls switching seamlessly from English to vernacular, as they tend to do when excited.  And the Little One and I both wandered in and out of rooms running from the voices, or the shadows, or both.  She had her Big-Hungry-Eyes on, and persistently chanted ‘Mukaka said she was going to make me matoke and groundnuts’ though it was I who was doing the peeling, and the determination of her finger sucking made it clear, she and I both knew the plan had been diverted.  And somewhere in the midst of my fury and-shall I say it??? Okay then-FEAR, from my memories slipped out my own silent story; now I will give it voice (But DON’T tell Vannesa!):

“Once upon a time…time, time, time”, I think to myself.  I am probably about 3 years old. If this did happen, and I’m not saying it did, I’m just saying I remember it, and it would be my first memory. It is in the middle of the night, we are all dressed for sleep, and my father is chasing my mother around a small neat living room with a 3 piece sofa set, t.v, coffee table, and white carpeting.  She is screaming and beautiful in a long silk nightdress.  I am scared and confused, but determined to act like nothing untoward is happening.  So I shout like a small, spoilt child “I NEED TO WEE-WEE!!” And they are running around this loveseat sofa like fucking Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd (I mean, how ridiculous can you be?!? But that thought had no voice at the time.) My mother shouts down at me, ‘JUST DO IT!’ So I lift up my white nightdress, squat down on the white rug and urinate as they continue to playing out this mad melodrama. And I think-I mean, I remember, feeling relieved, like ‘yes, of course, that was what was bothering me.’

  Cellular Memory- that was what the Snake Priestess called it. She told me that my hatred and revulsion of snakes was born of the memories of my ancestors that very literally existed in my cells.  She explained, ‘being from East Africa means you come from the home of some of the most poisonous snakes in the world. For your ancestors, the feeling of a snake slithering across their feet in the middle of the night, for example, would rightly be cause for great alarm. That instinct of fear still resides in your body, but now you have the chance to heal it, not just for you, but on their behalves as well.  By the second day I was making out with the damn thing. She touched a nerve, and it happened to be the right one. 

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