ABIGAIL GEORGE - STORIES
Mulatto You Are Loved (Don’t Give Up)
I hope you have the sun. I long for the sun today. Yes, I’m thinking of you. You and moonlight. You and tenderness. How you express yourself. How you make me feel from my smile to my soul. Only you know what I want the world to see. So, you took me and then you left me. You were mentally cruel to me. I love you anyway. I accept and understand that it is part of your genetic makeup. I accept and understand that that is just a part of your personality. You bring out the best in me. You bring out the worst in me. You’re holy even when you’re holier than thou. I accept and understand that we can’t be together. You’re not here. I’m here. The sea is here. Driftwood is here, my love, but you’re not. Are you drinking again? I know that you are. Of course, you don’t have to explain anything to me. You are my beloved. I understand. If there’s another woman, other women in your bed, you’re a man, I understand and accept that that will always be a factor in your life. I will never cut you. Understand that. I will never wound you for the sake of wounding you. You want me conveniently out of your life now. I understand and accept that. I will be writing to you to try and reach you for the rest of your life. Understand that. For you are my kind, my beloved, my kind of man. You will always be my type. Unfortunately, I will always be a stereotype. What do you see when you look at me now? Is she, your wife just a few years older than me? Both of you thought you’d be safe. That she wouldn’t fall pregnant. You did not use condoms. This is what married people do. I understand. You’re lovers. I understand you needed someone. I would not give in. I tried to tell you that I loved you. I just couldn’t put it into words, you see. Do you understand? Is it fine where you are? What is the weather like? Is it hot there? How are you? Are you coping? I am trying to make things happen. If I was your woman, and you were my man, life would have been exciting all the time. Interesting all the time. My sister is in Europe. That is her life now. Which is why I contacted you. I didn’t know how to say goodbye to her. I’m really in the depths of despair, which is why I tried to contact you. I wanted to hear the sound of your voice on the other side of the telephone. I wanted to hear all of your voices. I feel the ache in my lonely bones most of all. Yes, the loneliness is getting to me once again. Here I will pause; will you think my hair looks pretty like this. Do you still love me? There are bowls of fire in the linings of my heart. They are burning for you. You’re the enigma. You’re the enigmatic prize. Other men look at you envious. Other women want to be at your side. I know you. I know you. I love you anyway. You’re breaking my heart again. You’re walking away again. We must stop meeting as lovers. We have to meet as friends now. Friends who sleep together occasionally. I love you. I love only you. You are gone to the afterparty. The wrap parties. The social function. I could never host anything. Just thinking about it makes me feel tired. She’s at your side. You have pulled me under again, my love. Your beautiful wife is at your side. You make quite a handsome pair. I have to let you go again. This time for good. You’re beautiful, and once you were mine. You’re not mine anymore. I will love you all for eternity. The ghost of man. The ghost of the man you were when I met you. I won’t keep you waiting. This is your time. This is the woman you have chosen to build a life with, it is her life too. She’s your human shield. I am anti-matter. I am non-existent in your world. We can pretend we feel nothing when we look at each other. But everyone can see our chemistry. How good we would be together. When I look at you, when you’re on television, all I see or feel is electricity. You’re angry at me that I can’t be more discreet. I can’t do your bidding anymore, my love, my love, my love. You’re gone. My sister is gone. Mike Murdock, American television evangelist is gone. I know the whisky tumbler is in your hand. There’s a woman lying next to you. You kiss her hard. What are you doing? You don’t love her. If I phone, you’ll answer. You’ll make me the happiest person in the world. I’ll make you the happiest person in the world. I meet so many people. All I want is you. You made your choice. You live like a family man, which is what you always wanted. You live like a free man. Perhaps one day I’ll see you again. I’ll see you and I won’t see you. You’ll see me and you won’t see me. Thanking you for your time. I can’t thank you in advance for your reply anymore. You won’t see this letter. I love you. I love you. I love you. Understand that. You’ll never let me down. You’re not going to answer the phone if I reach you. You’re gone. You hate me. I need you so much. You’re gone. I tell myself that you hate me. You loving me is impossible. Me loving you is impossible. The woman lying next to you. Well, this has always been your modus operandi. I miss you. You miss me. I don’t know how to be wife, mother, or lover. I’m sorry. I should call. I don’t have airtime. I don’t have data. Can’t give you a baby. I don’t feel that I am woman enough for you, because I can’t give you a child. There you go, you are breaking my heart again. You are my miracle. You are really gone this time. You have no need for me to substitute anything in your life. I am scared. I’m frightened. I’m running scared. I’m alone, but it is not the first time in my life that I am alone. Everything is in my head. I’m a mess. I’m a mess. We don’t even talk anymore. Those days are gone. I wish you well, my friend. The passion is still here. What am I going to do with all this passion that I have for you? All this feeling that I have for you. You’re gone. Yes, yes, yes, I know I keep saying that. I have to remind myself of that fact as if it is alive, as if your departure it is temporary when in fact it isn’t. I’m crazy. Crazy for you. All you have to do is touch me once, and you know that what I am saying is true. My sister is such a talent. She has the potential to make it. To become an honest woman. To become lover. Somehow, she was saved from the kind of life that I live. Falling in love with emotionally unavailable men. There’s something else I wanted to speak to you about. I have to write something. Do I write something serious or light-hearted? Do I give the game away? Do I show and tell? Or let the audience in the theatre connect the dots. I trust your judgement. You have to explain the situation to me now. We are not on speaking terms anymore? Can I contact you, because you said that I could? You’re not free. You’re not available. Perhaps you’re not in the country anymore. Perhaps you’re at home with your family. This is my message to you. I love you. I inhabit you with every force. You’re embarrassed and insecure and shy. You were always shy. I loved that about you. I’m embarrassed and insecure and shy. I love how you make yourself vulnerable to me. You’re with someone tonight. It’s Saturday. Love is just a game. And to you, loving is just a game. Call the police. Call the memory police. Gosh, you are so beautiful Robert. You still take my breath away. Be safe. You made me feel safe in your arms. No worries. Love who you want. Take to bed who you want. I’m sorry. I’m sorry I didn’t behave. Otherwise tonight, tonight, and all the nights after that we would have been together. I just wanted to say that I’m thinking of you. I just wanted to say that you were the greatest love of my life. But tonight, tonight you are on my mind. So, I relax into the dream of you. Smoke a cigarette. Pop a mint in my mouth. The sun is setting here. I know I can’t just show up again in your life. Unannounced and uninvited. You make me so happy. And all I am doing is just sitting here, thinking of you. You’re the man. You’re the man. You will always be the man in my life. I’ll go on pretending for your sake. I won’t pretend I know who you are if I ever see you again. I’ll avert my eyes and walk on by as if we never even met. I think of Brink and Jonker. How brilliant they were together. How brilliant we were together. Who is holding onto you now? Who is wrapping their legs around your waist? I’m missing you badly. Of course, I know this depression won’t last. It will pass the thought of the holy perfection of you. The man, the man, the man. You were the man in my life once. All the life in me has died. All the love that you had for me has died in you. I don’t regret anything, love of my life, light of my life. Perhaps they will say this one day, that my characters are complex. Males living in a reality of their own making. Will they ever know how true that is? Will they ever know your potential to be both lover and husband? Will you ever know? Yes, I have no one. I always have had no one. No one is in the picture. Except the master of the universe. Christ, the Saviour. I’m not coping. I’m waiting here for someone to take this pain away from me. Yes, yes, yes. I know that person has to be me. I know that now. I have to save myself from this flux. You’re loving someone. Your mouth is on her mouth. Your lips are on her lips. Your warm breath is on her neck. The nape of her neck. When I think like this, I think of us. I think of us together like that. I’m a big girl now. No longer naïve ingenue. Am I confident? Looks can be deceiving. You see what you want to see. The world sees what they want to see. You don’t want me for some reason or other. You don’t want me. I accept this now. Do you understand this now? I am telling you that I accept this set of circumstances. I feel so rough, frustrated at myself because even after all this time I’ve isolated myself. I haven’t fallen in love. No one really cares about me, the way you cared about me. I can’t remember now what I was protecting you from. I was so poor. Perhaps it was my own poverty. I felt ashamed. You did everything in your power not to make me feel that shame. I absolutely hated you seeing me like that. That was not who I was. All I want to do is sit here now with you. Look at you. Look at you. Look at you. The way your eyes crinkle up at the corners when you’re thinking, when you’re laughing, when you’re with your friends. That is your life. I won’t ever be a part of that. I’ll do this any way you want me to. Now comes the leaving part again. The departure. And I know the reason why we’re not together. You’ve got your life back in order now, you complicated, complicated man. I don’t want you to change. I know who I fell in love with. Rich man. Poor girl. Older man. Girl in her early twenties. I will love you for the rest of my life. I just wanted you to know that. I’ll go on saying that until my last breath. No answer. Silence. You wake up in the morning and greet me with silence. You go to bed. Silence. Silence is also an answer. You are saying that you don’t love me. That’s okay. I’m okay with that. I’m scared. The demons come at night. There’s a struggle. Always this struggle. They’re calling it body dysmorphic disorder. Do you understand? You are the only one who understands me. You are the only man who has ever touched me. I am old. Old. Old. Old. A woman’s body falls a part when she becomes older. Oh, quite literally. There’s no getting used to that. To the fact that girls stay young and in bloom forever. Let her love you instead of me. She will love all of you in her own way. That’s the most important thing to know. That she will try. I can’t let you see all of me, but you know me so well. You’re in my head again. You’re in my head again. You’re the only one who sees me. The real me. You’re the only one who listens. The only one who will ever understand me. I go everywhere and I see you everywhere. Oh, I know they’re just a pale version of you. But understand this, it is my pale version of you. All that they are doing, these men, are living vicariously through you. I asked God, to give me something to remember you by, and He did. For me, you will be my reflection of eternity.
You see, all I want to do is call you by your name. I want you to break through to me. My sin is great. My sin is great. I’ve filled journals with my sin. Who the hell am I putting on this act for? There’s nobody here. I feel wretched. I feel nothing inside. I feel four again. Being called into the horror chamber. The bathroom. My mother is waiting there for me. She wants me to wash her back. I need to talk about this to someone. Nobody wants me. Nobody loves me. The loneliness is getting to me. I need a friend. Perhaps it’s true. Jesus Christ is my only friend. Shame. I think of what my mother did to me. It was done to her. The only life she knew as a child was the one that she was given. The life she gave to me. I need someone to talk to. I want you to understand me. I want you to love me. I want you to be my friend. Most of all, I want you to protect me with your life. I am Hemingway. I am Updike. I am Rilke. I am Bessie. Be mine. Man, of every season. My brother’s girlfriend is pretty. And she’s nice. She wouldn’t like me if she knew the real me. I try so hard to make new friends, meet new people. Where are you? Come to me, my love. Stop this death. Please stop this succession of deaths. My life is awful. When I woke up this morning, everything was in a new light. The day was breaking. I thought of you. The light in your eyes. The sexual energy poured into your body. You’re chemistry. You’re physical. You’re confident. You know what you’re doing, and you look sexy doing it. I’m the gone girl. Remember me, when I’m gone from your life. Even the writing has become bipolar. Multi-polar on the page. I’m the girl you used to phone. Now you’re the one walking away from me. You are leaving me again, again, and again. I will never feel that fairy tale feeling again. I always wanted it to feel like the movies the first time I made love. You all made a fool of me. I thought you desired me. You wanted me on the backseat of the car. You wanted me to suck you hard and give you a blowjob. You called me a lesbian because I wouldn’t make you come. You grabbed my crotch. You, you, you finished my sentences, teased me about Antigone. I still tell myself that you were my prince. That you were the love of my life. You wouldn’t, couldn’t accept my lies and deceit. And when I told you the truth. You hardly glanced at me. Looked my way. You could have pretended to care, but you were to cool to care. You have all found your way in the world. I am in his study again. His wife is in the kitchen. He takes out the photographs. Again, he says, because he is horny, again, he asks me looking at me curiously through his spectacles, what are they doing. I don’t want to play this game. I start failing fast after that. Losing interest in everything. I don’t know how to cope with being a woman desired, because I am a child. Inside I am still a child, can you see. Can’t you see. This idea that I’m a woman, I might look like a woman, but inside I’m a traumatised child. I hate myself tonight. The world is spinning around me. All I see is words. People can see. People can see. The words are Dadaist-surreal. The world I paint is the world of the mentally ill. I look to Adeline Virginia Woolf and Hogarth Press when I want to feel brave. Brace myself for the glacial walls of this emptiness. There’s this flux. Tonight, the stars are aligned. That couple are holding hands. My first boyfriend abused me. My first sex act sealed with utter humiliation. He liked it like that. Control. He had to be in control. He’d call me sweet little names. I suppose to make up for it. There’s no place that I can call home. There’s no place I can call sanctuary. I will stay in your arms for the rest of your life. Will I ever move on? I refuse to be happy. I choose the life-world of unhappy people. For my whole life. Inside I am dead. I feel nothing. The couple on the television, they are kissing. I can’t kiss. I have been kissed many, many, many times. I’ve never kissed someone that I love before. Don’t know how to love, to kiss, to make love, to even make out. I’m terrible at this love game. Like I said, there’s no fairy tale feeling left inside of me. Where are you tonight? Out with your wife and daughter at a burger place. You’re laughing. You’re smiling. You’re the gone man. You were the perfect man. To me, I knew you well. I can’t say after all this time that we’ve known each other. Every day now I have to wake up and tell myself that I can’t be with the one that I love. You’re not looking for me anymore. You’ve found the woman of the dreams. She’s given you a child, a daughter. Oh, I know I’m being dramatic, but you see I miss you. I need you. Your family needs you more. My family, on the surface it seems as if they care about me. But they don’t. This love is not an unconditional love. My mother loves me for my money. Other than that, she doesn’t talk to me. There’s no love. There’s no affection. I must behave. I love you. I love you. I know what is on the line for you. We never went to bed. But you feel like my lover. I am in a bad way tonight. Perhaps, perhaps I won’t wake up tomorrow morning. Heaven doesn’t want me. Hell welcomes me with open arms. I dream at night in non-reality mode. Dream of being an actress like Kirsten Dunst and Taraji P. Henson. I miss Karen Carpenter like she was my best friend or something. I am losing it, because I lost you. Stay in my heart, my love. Don’t go away. But you’re looking into your daughter’s eyes, not mine. My brother is going to marry this girl. I am tired but I must carry on for my own sake. There’s so much writing to be done on Africa, on South Africa, on patriotism. I have to accept that this is me. I’m older now. You only date girls. Men. Men are impossible. I feel no love and affection towards women. I only feel love and affection for men. Unavailable men. Men who do not want to be attached to the likes of me for long. All they want is the sexual stimulus and impulse sated. Do you pray? You need to pray. I need to pray to have love in my life. The world is a beautiful place. You’re not in my arms, my life anymore. I have come to life too late. Much too late. He doesn’t phone. They all feel sorry for me. Once I was beautiful. Desire is such sweet sorrow. Someone loses out in the end. I have lost. No winner am I. I’m pathetic. The day is gone. I need you now, but you’re not here anymore.
Love, love. What is love? You are love. When I look into your eyes, I see love. All I see is this thin sea of love waiting for me. You captivate me with your inviting smile. And all I want to see is that smile. Am I trouble? If you see me in a new light, will you still love as much? Will you believe in my reality? Will you take me on and be my man? I’ll take your name. If you want children, I’ll give you children. You make me happy. You make me the happiest woman in the world. This blood that runs through my veins is there for you. I need you. I want you. I desire you. Only you. The other men are forgotten. All those older male father-figures. Where are they now? I’m not thinking of them. I’m thinking of you. Of how you’re going to hold me when I cry in your arms the first time we make love. I think about the things we have in common. I think of kissing you. I can’t take my eyes off you. You’re the most beautiful thing that I’ve ever seen. I’m a flawed individual. He’s a flawed individual. I want David. I can’t have David. He can’t have me. He’s moved on with his life. I haven’t. I’m afraid it is always going to be this way. Men leaving me. Me being the other woman. Talk about it. Talk about the rape. I can’t. I can’t. Nina Hastings spoke about it. You can see it in her eyes. Brilliant and bold and brave and beautiful now, she is wanted and loved and adored by men. I have that. I can sense it when I walk into a room. I don’t want to be Fiona Apple. I want to be the Duchess of Sussex, but I will never be the Duchess of Sussex unless I deal with my past. Unless I talk about the rape. Unless I talk about being molested and being, feeling so ashamed to tell anyone, anyone, especially Robert. I look desirable again. I feel as if I want to be desired again. I am red sparrow. I am Jennifer Lawrence in that film. I look and I look and all I see are certainties of the life I lived before. Being taken by a man. Being taken in by a man. And this man gives me nothing in return. I love him, but it is over. I won’t see him again. I know this is a lie. I will see him again. For, after all, we are friends. I am trying to survive. But some days it feels as if I am fighting a losing battle. I think of them touching me, laughing. Making a joke out of me. The condom in the suit pocket. Me undermining him in front of all his friends, his work colleagues. I can’t take being hurt again. I just want to be free. Free to write. Do whatever I want. For now, I am incommunicado. I am silent. Tomorrow God will give me a voice, and I will speak. Today I’m in a million different pieces. Two suns inhabit this world. One day I will be desired again. Looked at, but in my head, they are always laughing at me. Tearing me apart. They see my pain and they laugh at me anyway. I have to be brave. It has been a long time. The rape. I remember nothing. Someone put something in my drink. I was out for hours. I will never know what happened. I want my life back; I tell the universe I want my life back. The universe doesn’t answer. There’s an enviable silence. I take long, hot baths now. I want to be free. Help me. Save me. I pray. I pray. I pray. I meditate. The last thing I want to do is talk about the rape. I will never know my assailant. I will never know the assailants. In my head I call myself hundreds of names. How could this happen to me. It happened to me. The quintessential good girl. I was saving myself for marriage. I was saving myself for marriage. I was saving myself for marriage. I understand sexual violence now. That it is all about a patriarchal system. It is all about lust, perversion, greed, jealousy, sexual inadequacy, clinical depression. Men want love and acceptance and approval too. It is all about control. Understand this, you are not alone. You are not alone. I tell myself that over and over and over on the good days. I want to remind myself that there are millions of me out there that cannot put a face to their rapist.
I slipped away into the underground for twenty years. Longing to hear your voice. I’m longing, I said, to hear your voice. Save me from drowning in the sea. You’ll find me there on the beach of my childhood sea.
THE WAY THINGS ARE