The Grandmaster’s strategy

A man, with the synergy of an ex-soldier and pastoral counselor took my smile and turned it into a parachute. It grew wings and flew into the sun. This was a kind of strategy on his part. The village of the swimmers was half-formed by strategy and the sea. I held my father’s brain in my hands. The clear bright image of the high achiever. You did not want the child. It was a test. I wanted to see if you loved me. If I was enough for you. If I was loved. The man left his essence inside of me. I thought sacrifice and redemptive love would be enough but there was this bridge between a new era ideology and synergy. Both were inseparable topics.

He spoke to me of the cannibals in the Congo when he was stationed there and the mafia. I shared my poetry with him with a mind that was in a state of bliss. It has been two years now. My identity, self, psyche and ego is fractured. I don’t believe in relationships with the opposite sex, romantic love and friendship nor the supreme hierarchy of the syste. anymore. I think of the stars above the Russian and Ukrainian border the night before the invasion.

There was an autumn conquest behind his unbidden smile. Two years later I am still looking for an exit. There was gladness in my heart and a euphoria in the air. I am cloaked by portions of a moth eaten bridal veil and tattered Miss Havisham bridal attire. This heartache cuts through me like a hot knife through butter or a rare steak. Juices bleeding out of the pink meat. It came to me like a revelation. The alpha male’s life force that grows a force as if from air. The wavelengths puzzle me now inside my brain. The alpha in my life, the magnitude of the role he played in gaps of my intuition. Nobody really cares about a spinster’s heartache. Middle-aged, gray wires growing out of my head, stopped for youth yet I hold onto this proposal as if I am a migrant that cannot swim that is holding onto the side of the boat. I close my eyes seeing an empty dinghy in the cold waters of the ocean, bodies floating, children dead. My soul is dead too. We need to talk about the issue of healing, resilience and the trauma of the Russia-Ukraine War. I ask someone if I should mention Palestine, Syria, Iraq and Libya. My father says to me to mention Palestine but I am afraid. Afraid of the apartheid regime, the merry Imperial liberals in South Africa, the gender based violence in my home against my mother and me and my elderly father.

The man has not faded from my imagination yet. He was the sap in the veins of my roots. He was the earth that my taproot nestled in. I found comfort in Netflix, in my sister’s moodswing who lived in Europe, in my highly functioning addict brother who had locked me out of the house on numerous occasions and smoked blunts and tik with his now fiance. Substance abuse had existed in both my paternal and maternal bloodline. The grief of longing for alcoholism. Finding belonging in the bottle, friendship and camaraderie amongst drinking buddies at the tavern for my grandfather who drank out most of his wages.

I built a university with pillars out of the ground out of the energies of purity and the immorality act of the vessels of the man’s body. The physical, biological, psychic, intellectual, mental, verbal and biological vessels of his body. Never before had I loved like this. The Queen was now dead. Her son was King. The plan had been for the man to follow me to Rhodes University. The plan had been marriage and a family. I remember laughing at his stories, comforting him whenever he looked sad. I did what a girlfriend was supposed to do, I thought to myself. I worked at the relationship. But with every phantom thread I pulled through the tapestry of our relationship he moved away from me to the Book of Samuel, to his table tennis league, to other women who were more pale than I was, who had aquiline features and Claudia Schiffer hair and Bardot’s curvaceous body. He did not love me and so the man found the exit out and I turned to Biden’s political agenda, George Orwell’s propaganda machine, Alan Turing’s mandate, the puppet Kamala Harris with her Mona Lisa smile and the mother we have in common, Musk’s end goals of interplanetary travel and the colonization of Mars, while charismatic Putin struts like a peacock on the world stage Zelensky battles to cope under the strain, stress and tension of the war in his bunker. There is famine in Africa, there are floods in Nigeria, there is rioting in Sri Lanka, the Monarchy is going through birthing pains, can it be doom, catastrophic disasters leading us down this open road or the trials and tribulations of the end times? The migrants from Africa make their way to greener pastures across an inhospitable ocean piling into a death wish that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Winter cometh. Are men admirable in war? Is it admirable to stare death in the face? But this is what soldiers do. They are bold and make defiant adversaries, they face death on a daily basis, insurmountable obstacles when it comes to the enemy and strategy. They leave their families behind and adopt a spiritual life on the battlefield whether they will admit to this or not. The battlefield is God’s country. The chessboard is a blue forest gazed upon by the public administration of the wildflowers, human action and inaction, the pawns and knights are worth their weight in tungsten and gold and the checkmate, the victory is lit up by epiphany and the lightbulb, hand gesture, face immobile and movement.

I am sad most days. I will the tears not to come. I cry. I ridicule myself and feel a deep sense of shame. The man I was once in love with, who was in the air force and a captain in the army, who could speak four languages and built a table tennis robot in his garage does not love me anymore. He is not in love with me. His car no longer pulls up in my parents driveway. Spring. I am older. No longer in search of love am I. That’s a girl’s yearning. It’s a game for lovers. It has turned cold out for me and every hour feels like the graveyard shift.

I am called “mental” by my family. They do not read my books and nor do they support my dreams. No matter how hard I try they burn and sabotage every bridge I build. My brother has designs to put me in a home (in other words institutionalize me for the rest of my life because he can. This sex addict, pornography addict, drug addict, habitual pot smoker and abuser thinks he can. I think of the mental cruelty of my siblings, mother, immediate and estranged family that has caused me to relapse several times in a decade. My love who I thought would save me from this dysfunctional set-up of a family  is no more. No one is coming to save me from this grief that I cannot fathom. No one is coming to rescue me. I have to do the work on my own flying solo yet again as Plutarch did with his mission and commissions. I am Virginia Woolf’s Orlando.

Abigail George
Abigail George
Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominated shortlisted and longlisted poet Abigail George is a recipient of four writing grants from the National Arts Council, the Centre for Book and ECPACC. She briefly studied film, writes for The Poet, is an editor at MMAP and Contributing Writer at African Writer. She is a blogger, essayist, writer of several short stories, novellas and has ventured out to write for film with two projects in development . She was recently interviewed for Sentinel, and the BBC.