Let it go!

It is the nearly the last day of June, 28th June 2017. I have decided that today is the first day of my fight back to liberate myself from all negativity and all the effects of the misfortunes smeared over me.

So, when did it all go wrong? Like a perfect storm, it, probably, started with a very small something. Maybe a decision, a thought, an action of some kind. It was like that single drop that started a stalagmite. Then the steady drip, drip of bad stuff. Nothing stupendous. Just drip drip until you say sod it and bust out of this upward-growing mound of tribulations.

Life under the mound has been the classic double life. All happy on the outside but inside plotting to wreak revenge on those who have wronged me. Revenge is mine. I even gravitated to books that supported my thoughts. I remembered a passage from “The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo”. I might have been paranoid but they wronged me and I would have my day.

Life, for me, has been like a dark cave in the Mountain of Time. For three years, my life was obsessing over the millions that I no longer had and assets once dear, ripped away like roof tiles in a tornado. I tasted the acidity of humiliation. I silently cursed friends, who couldn’t see through my serene facade. I reviled kinfolk and friends, who refused to honour their debt.

Life was self-destructing. I gave the finger to my diabetes and ended up with bad eyesight, queuing up with the masses for out-patient services and recovering from eye surgery in the general ward. In another life, I would have had private health care.

So, the daily struggle of living in a new normal of decreased vision. Life’s refuge was nightly comfort of dreams, powered by data-consuming programmes of BBC Radio 4 and BBC World Service. Every night, I wished that the dreams were my life and my life was the nightmare from which I would to wake up, just like in the movies. Life was the terror of the financial bad wolf banging on my door, huffing, puffing and threatening to blow my house down; the house that had long gone. But he kept huffing and puffing, and I kept quiet, hoping he would go away and leave me in peace.

My soul was like Gollum with his Precious. And I nursed it and it consumed me. I spied negativity in everything. Even death was contemplated, but it was too complicated to achieve. Too many loose ends. Everything would have to be tidied up first. Tidiness was my only control in the cave. Closing all social media accounts and e-mails would take too much time away from my Precious.

During all of this, was my forever mate, my wife. She promised us a bright future if only I could talk to and be in tune with the Universe; the Laws of Attraction; Chopra’s insights; the Dalai Lama’s humorous wisdom. Water off a duck’s back; not for me all this Oprah moment mumbo jumbo. I was at the edge of the abyss and I didn’t need distractions. I was in the valley of darkness and my eyes were tuned to the pitch black. I needed no flicker of light to blind me.

A change of scenery took me home to the place of my birth. I was away from it all, cocooned in my childhood domain. A refugee. And I still had my BBC World Service, but on the radio.

Just like how it started, the drip-drip stopped. My Precious and I parted ways like reluctant lovers at dawn. No words uttered. Just a screaming silence, causing tinnitus in my soul.

I started writing a novel to quieten the silence. Instead of my Precious, I had the childhood me. My soul was naked like a baby leaving the warm womb. It flittered around the spaces in my nano universe. I coaxed out the memories of my delinquently carefree childhood. The story took shape on my BlackBerry Passport, and after 121,497 words, I had my first draft. It had taken me the season of Autumn. Eleven books in one. The silence was now a warm solitude. Nothing had changed other than the season and I. Life went on. Politicians continued lying. The corporate world continued fleecing customers. Fake continued with its news. Facts multiplied in an alternative reality. I was coming to terms with my situation and my future.

Something happened during my writing. It was the realisation to let it go. To let it be, on the breeze, like dandelion parachutes ridden by fairies. I had befriended a neighbour. His sheep had entered our garden and were making the most of the uncut autumn lawn. I had felt indignant and locked the animals in. The owner came to collect them. His shepherd had left them in the garden for safekeeping. After all, is that not what neighbours are for? He was an old man, slight of build. Nothing to look at. The sort who is invisible through poverty. But there was something about him. His eyes and his words. His eyes had the fire of defiance and his words were that of an orator. He intrigued me enough for me to release his sheep.

One Sunday morning, whilst having a late lie-in, I heard the bleating of sheep. I looked out of the window and there he was, defiant. My selfish thoughts were of a ruined day. “Let it go,” whispered my soul. His eyes glinted when I approached him. “I brought your wife milk.” The old man had brought a litre of fresh milk from his morning’s milking. He had brought his sheep along because his flock had no shepherd. My forever mate had left him the bottle and money the night before. She had told me about an old man, from whom she bought the freshest and fattest milk. She had only described him as a wily old fox. Not being a milk person, I had no interest in the man. “Come and see me. I have something of interest for you,” he said as he rounded up his sheep.

A few days later, I took him the empty bottle. He lived in a tin shack on top of a rocky slope between two expensive estates. He had a small corral for his cows and another for his sheep. The view was what made the estates expensive. The old man was a leprechaun and his pot of gold was his plot. We stood together enjoying the view. He told me his name. He had been a prominent personality and, like me, misfortune must have deluged him. He didn’t go into details, but I noticed that certain topics ignited the light in his eyes. I googled him. He had, indeed, been a prominent political personality. One incident had been the catalyst of his misfortunes. He had done the wrong thing for the right reason. It had been headline news for awhile, but the circus had moved on and left him invisible, with his tin shack and a great view.

On this day in 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife were assassinated. Their killings sparked a chain of events that led to the outbreak of World War I. Exactly, five years later, the Treaty of Versailles was signed, officially marking the end of the first World War. So, who am I to clothe myself in misery when many died during those five miserable years? I have much to be thankful for; a home that will keep the winter at bay, a forever mate to love, a son to continue nurturing, interesting people who are in my life, the listening Universe and a future.

Every day will either be a small victory or a celebration of life. But, it will be a day to be grateful for because there will be a sunrise and a sunset. The old man will endure and have his place in the sun with a beautiful view, still providing the neighbourhood with the freshest milk and God’s bleating lawnmowers.

Like what you read? Give Tau Bataung a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.