i’ve always believed that people embellish the truth when asked to talk about someone publicly.
attending a mass and a tribute that was held to bind the community together and protest M’s arrest and detention, this was going through my mind. i listened to speaker after speaker tell the crowd gathered in a church built inside the ruins of an ancient one what a marvelous person my former flame was.
don’t get me wrong. he is not a bad guy. in fact, he has devoted his life to a cause he believed in. this belief made him work tirelessly without material compensation or personal glory. unfortunately, it also gave this government grounds enough to fabricate facts and slam him with common crimes. many people would consider that kind of selflessness noble. and that includes me. i believed in that cause and similarly devoted my life to it once. in many ways i probably still believe.
but this is not the point. all these information about him have been said by people who spoke. so what do i really know about him?
my politician friend joked that i should give testimony on M as somebody who knew him on a different level. (our secret fling was not so secret after all.) i cringed at the thought that the only new information i can offer so far is the size of his dick. and i cannot possibly say that. not in a church, anyway. besides, i don’t think that piece of information needs embellishment.
after the programme we headed off to the nearby town where he is detained. as hundreds turned up to visit, i mentally prepared myself for much waiting. the atmosphere outside the jail was almost festive as most of the visitors knew each other. the jail itself did not look particularly imposing, except for the military men with high powered guns sitting and standing all around. since a number of them were actually wank-worthy, i guess lascivious whimsy held intimidation at bay.
my politician friend arrived and we were heralded inside (damn, i didn’t even have the time to offer one of those gun slinging brutes a cigarette!), escorted by the assistant warden. political patronage is fine when it works to your advantage, i suppose.
my anxiety came back as we entered the visitors’ hall. would he see that i have managed to forget almost everything about him?
and then there he was. he was cheerfully greeting everybody with a hug and he did not see me until i was in front of him. when he realised it was me, he let out a small delighted expression of surprise that almost sounded like a yelp. then he pulled me in his arms in a bear hug. i didn’t say a word through this and just quietly gave way to others who wanted to greet him.
he is bigger than i remembered. and better looking. except for some lacerations in the face you wouldn’t think he’d gone through a lot of shit. if i didn’t knew better i would say imprisonment and torture become him.
when the crowd settled down a programme of sorts commenced. M started telling everybody the circumstances of his arrest, his torture, his transfer to this jail and the status of his case. he thanked everybody for their support and asked for everybody’s continued assistance in the long legal battle that he foresees. in return, my politician friend sang (god bless him) and so did a distant niece of M. M closed the programme by singing his favourite song that (not surprisingly) asks everyone to exert themselves to right the wrongs of this world.
while all of this is happening, i sat quietly in a corner wearing my shades and puffing on my cigarette like the good other (wo)man that i am. (did i mention he is married?) i would have wanted to say that seeing him opened the floodgates of memories of tender moments we have shared. only, it didn’t.
as people started leaving after the programme, i queued up to say my goodbye. he embraced me again and gently asked almost in a whisper, “when are you coming back?”
i smiled, turned to thank the warden, walked away without looking back.