On This Side Where It Is Cold

by Orhemba Mhembeuter Jeremiah

This evening, again, you take your place on the rust-stained seat, fervent you are with hope that today you would certainly meet your destined. For weeks, it has been your daily ritual: sitting under the shade of a gnarled tree, absently taking in the young men trooping in and out of the hostel, eyes alert for the moment when, mysteriously, the universe will establish a lock of eyes with your beloved. 

It will be magical, so you have been imagining. Time will come to a standstill. Your inner core will buzz with affirmation in resonance with the soul of your fated.

You inhaled deeply. Because you believe in the idea of a fated soul mate, you have scoured almost everything online about love. Each essay repeats the same thing, encourages you to get out if you truly want to find love. So here you are, like every other preceding evening, resolutely latching onto hopes that your soul mate will walk up to you—out of the blues.

At times, while coming out of your hostel, you just pick up strides and throw yourself into a sea of walking people. You search faces, feeling strongly that your fated one is around, close. Seeing embracing couples makes your heart ache. Your smile is desire and envy. Chest heaving, you would begin walking, pace fastened, towards an illusory gravitation in your mind.

There are days that you are overwhelmed with a crushing sadness. You walk slowly on such days. You pause and peer at people longingly, regardless of their gender. You stare hard through the glasses of passing cars, at old people, and at times, you wander through incomplete buildings. You return slumped and exhausted to your room, everyday, gloomy and misfortunate. 

Tears fall out of your eyes. A sudden restlessness seizes you. Your eyes dart around, ascertaining how far the evening has gone. In your mind, you call on God. You implore Him to perform His promised miracle now. Desperation is sinking its blade deeper into your heart.

Time slips by. Not even a soul has been motivated to join you under the tree. Your chest rises and falls. You can hear your breathing, can feel a contraction in your chest.  Hands on your chest, you struggle to stabilize the pace of your breathing.

You rise up. Shapes and figures blur in your vision. You stumble backwards, turn round and round, breath ceasing in your chest. You fight for breath, wheezing, weaker with each passing second. It feels like life is drawing out of you. Then you are falling, only that you fall in very strong arms. Though you can barely see, your heart shudders in elation.

At last, you intuitively gasp, sure that you have met your destined. 

In this comforting manifestation, it is the most pleasant way to die.


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