This Thing Called Love: An Excerpt From ‘the Book Of Anger’

This Thing Called Love: An Excerpt From ‘the Book Of Anger’

So when I told a friend of mine that I was going to write a book of anger. He told me ‘ why not write a book of love’. It is with this in mind that I shall proceed and speak to you of love. Mindful of the fact that love has no place in a book of anger I shall nonetheless proceed to speak to you about love.  Having spoken about Islam and violence, it is by speaking about love that I shall attenuate the anger that I feel  towards these religious bigots. I would you bid you to pay close attention here for in speaking to you about love, I am baring my soul to you. Years ago I fell in love with a certain girl from my province. The moment I set my eyes on this girl a torrent of desire  awoke in me.  If my heart was  the boat sailing across  these torrentous  waters  then readers could easily imagine the tumultuous state my soul was in. When did I first notice this desire raging inside me like a ceaseless inferno? When did I first realize that it was plunging  me into utter destitution ? When did I first notice that I was losing my soul to the ensnaring desires whose formidable forces enraptures me ?   The answers to these questions eludes me. What I know for certain is that once I met that girl  my heart melted. My heart melted, I know this is a lame sentence to explain what I felt for that girl  but I cannot think of any words to describe the state of my heart when I first set my eyes on her. In thinking about her I am at a loss for words. I am almost speechless. But I must speak. I must record here what I felt for her. When did I first realize that, like a bandit in the middle of the night, she had stolen my heart ? When did I first know that I had found the one who would forever hold my soul in the palm of her hands. I must not answer these questions. I must not stoke the fire in which I am already burning. But I must  say this: in her presence, the spirit of my longing soul was rekindled . I longed to fall into her arms and to kiss her lips. I longed to bask in the wonderful ambience of her enthralling being. I longed to touch her, to feel the electrical impulses going through my body as my skin comes in contact with hers. Like the stars needs the dark sky to shine bright, like a raging fire needs fuel to keep on burning , like the birds in the air needs the nurturing fruits of the earth, I need her warm embrace to make me feel alive. Without her  I feel like an accursed ghost condemned to walk the surface of this earth without direction or purpose . Without her , I feel as though the monster called melancholy has sunk its teeth into the skin of my flesh, pouring its venom into my veins.  Her  love is the antidote. But as I long for her love, I am aware that this feeling shall elicit a fever in me. I shall languish willingly in that fever.  As my temperature spikes, as my heart rate increases, as my body shivers and breaks into a cold sweat, I shall remind myself that I am in love and that love is a sweet torment. I shall seek comfort in these words ; ‘ Oh, love is a sweet torment. I give  you my soul willingly . Carry me to your alluring domain, bathe me in the waters of your ocean, suffuse me with your magnificent light, carry me to the shores of the ocean where I shall feel the cool breeze that comes with the tides, clip me with your wings so I can sour high into the sky and become one with the stars. Carry me , love. Carry me into your arms . Afflict me with your malady for it makes me delirious. You are the morphine with which I dull the pain of my miserable existence. You are my opium. You are my hashish. I am in love and therein, I pray, I shall be for all of eternity.’ And once I  have uttered these words, I shall immediately feel like one whose broken soul is being mended by the hands of love.  The Hebrew writer Shmoef Yossef Agnon once wrote that for every word we think of to express a feeling, there are better words to express that feeling. It is with this in mind that I have conjured up the most poetical words to express my feelings for her. Words, words , words. I must curtail these proliferation of words that is spreading like a virulent organism onto the content of the pages of this book. The astute mind knows that the most profound love is the love we can’t express with words.  And my love for this girl was nothing if not profound.

But the tragedy of life, I have come to learn, is that those  whom we love , those who we  give out our hearts  to most often do not care that much for us in return. And so in the end I was left with nothing but  a broken heart.  My paramour did  not feel the same way I felt,  she did not and could not  love me . For how many years did I nurture my love for her. For how many nights did I dream of her. How many times did I reassure myself that she would love me back, that she felt the same way I did. The answers to these questions rarely matters now. A broken heart is a broken heart.  No one really cares how it got broken except for those who would rather wallow in their own misery than move on. I did try to move on. I gathered the pieces of my broken heart and tried to nurture it back to life. But it was an arduous task. In everything around me, I saw the images of her face.  Every time I closed my eyes, I envisioned her  body, that curvaceous shape that I had longed to touch. When I slept, she invaded my dreams, her hand holding mine and then slipping away the way  dawn slowly slips into dusk. I gathered all the things that reminded me of her, the pictures we had taken on some occasions, the tie she had bought me as a gift and even some of the pages of my diary where I poured my heart out to her, I gathered these things and set fire to them with the hope that I would then be free of her love.  But I was still in agony. I was in utter agony. If falling in love with her had elicited a delirious fever in me, being heart-broken by her plunged me into disquietude where it seemed everything around me existed only to torment me.  The laughter of my neighbors reminded me of the unhappiness I had incurred by the loss of my love. The blankness of the wall of my room reminded me of the stretch of ennui life had become for me. The wall clock reminded me of the time I wasn’t spending in her company. And now that I have broached the issue of time , I must talk about it at length. If one could draw a line between the time she broke my heart and the time I began to show some signs of recuperation, it would be  a long line. Because the time in between these two states in my life was laden with gloom and destitution , I prefer that the line be drawn with a black chalk. Let the darkness of this line serve to explain the lovelorn state in which I had found myself but let not the straightness of that line confuse the fact that my recovery was not a straight-forward thing. If there is a tendency to confuse this fact then by all means make that line haphazard. Because my life had become these haphazard lines, I sought to draw links between them by reading but more importantly by writing. But enough about lines. I wanted to talk about time and that is what  I shall talk about. In Aristotle’s Physics, he argued that just as we can divide matter into indivisible units called atoms, we can also divide Time into indivisible units called moments. Perhaps with Aristotelean Moments in mind, the French author Andre Gide suggested that happiness entails suffusing these moments with joy and fervor. But following the loss of my heartthrob, my moments was suffused with nothing but anguish. Hence if I must speak of Time in the context of the moments that they are made of, then I must speak of the moments in which I felt as though my innards was on fire, I must speak of the moments in which at the thought of her  I felt severe pain in my heart as though someone had driven a stake through it, I must speak of the moments I felt as though my skin was constantly being pricked by needless, causing me endless pains. I must speak of the moments in which my life became so unbearable that I wanted to die. I must speak of these moments. I must speak of them all. But I must curtail these proliferation of words.  Words, words, words, I must write these words. I must write about my love, my heart-break, about my anguish. But once I have written these words, once I have drawn links between haphazard lines, I am still left with a feeling of utter desolation, like one who had been abandoned in the middle of the desert.



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