Tuesday, 27 August 2013
MJ, your Next-floor Neighbour
MJ, your Next-floor Neighbour
From the Give-Me-Back-My-Muse Series
By ZWAHU, Y.E
May 22, 2013
You are alone in the theatre, or so you think. It is eerily dark... not too dark really, but surely not bright. Yet you are not afraid. Infact you are most comfortable, for the theatre is home to you: a second home. Then the song begins to waft through the air, at first gently, like the distant fragrance of the Queen of the Night; then it envelopes the entire atmosphere and the atmosphere becomes it and it, the atmosphere.
Then, as if from out of nowhere, MJ emerges on stage and begins to dance his consummate dance to the music. You are not surprised because, wherever he emerged from, you know; for you have seen him so emerge before and you have never ceased to be enthralled each time he emerged. He is infact your next-floor neighbour. And it is always to this song, “The Comforter has Come”, that he helplessly emerges. You have heard the song before... this same arrangement and rendition, yet you are hearing it for the first time. The arrangement is almost nebulous. The orchestration and rendition are spooky yet celestial, and the way MJ connects with it is almost esoteric. He dances to it so passionately; gyrating and doing the groin grind concurrently... seamlessly. He moonwalks, kicks the air, punches the air, screams with eyes tightly closed, then straightens up while wiggling his right wrist and fingers and pulling up his left trouser with the other hand in one smooth move; he breaks into a sudden run with his eyes now blazing. He stops at one end of the stage to the side, he takes the karate slight squat posture with his right foot, which is behind and on which he rests, positioned vertically and his stretched forward left, horizontally. His right hand is outstretched as he snaps his fingers to the cryptic rhythm of the music which only MJ, and MJ alone, can make out while his other hand is again holding on to his left trouser at the thigh. He is stamping the floor of the stage with his left heel with the toes firmly glued to the floor. His socks are now more exposed, for they have always been, owing to his above-the-ankle pair of trousers, and you notice that they are as red as those of a Bishop whereas, when he first emerged, they were white! It’s all not strange to you. He is screaming. Everything combines together to give the atmosphere a trance-like fit. And all of a sudden, WHAM...! MJ is on fire. It is a conflagration. It is pyrotechnics. You are transfixed. You are enthralled. You begin to shed tears. Your heart is seized by joy; pure joy; warm joy.
Then you see a man on stage, from wherever, with a water hose. He sprays MJ with water and there is no longer fire, instead, you see MJ’s face partly smeared with make-up things: you had not noticed that he had any make-up on. You had not noticed that the music had died down either; everything seemed alright and normal to you. Just then a woman, who turns out to be the manager – or something – of the theatre barges in in a fit of hysteria, thinking that all hell has broken loose. MJ gives her a reassuring look and a mischievous smile, the type he gave to the cast and crew of the “Liberian Girl” video, and leads her to the sound system by the side and presses the play button again. The spooky yet celestial sound of the song “The Comforter has Come” filters out again and she too understands.
All the while you are watching this spectacle and wondering to yourself what the world is missing by not having, as you do, MJ as your next-floor neighbour... all the free performances! You finally decide to compose a post for your Facebook and Twitter accounts: “When your next-floor neighbour is MJ, you are...”, but then you trail off, yet you know and are sure that your proposed post is complete and so you reach out for your Tab to make the post but you realise that it is at home, your ground-floor apartment beside the theatre whose next floor is MJ’s. You rush out to your ground-floor apartment and at the entrance you realise you have to go up a flight of stairs(!) to get in. The area around the staircase is dark and dingy, with the stairs themselves looking quite uncompleted; with aged cement and dust generously layered on them. Your nasal cavity had been blocked by phlegm and you had, while rushing back home, instead of blowing out from your nose, pulled it into your mouth and had collected quite a handsome amount of it. On reaching your dingy stairway you spit out the quantum of phlegm to one corner unto the wall. Just then you realise that there is someone, whom you don’t quite know and really don’t care to know, sitting on the railing midway up the staircase. You are only slightly embarrassed at being caught red-handed spitting around carelessly. You make your way up.
Just then you hear the word “Daddy”, as if from a distance. It is clear and almost urgent. You are sure the call is directed at you. You do not know how many times you had been called but you are sure you heard the “Daddy” at least once; perhaps the only one time. You gradually realise that you are lying down on the floor of your sitting room. You actually had been sleeping on the floor every night for over a week, thus denying your spouse of her God-given and God-ordained right to the warmth of your body, and yourself of the dizzying scent of her hair: all owing to a nagging backache that has treacherously lingered, which you had picked from your mattress. You have promised to change that mannerless mattress since vultures still had hair on their heads but you have not yet gotten around to helping yourself. You stir awake, half awake really, and the room is dark but you sense a presence... somewhere around the two-seater. You call out “Nana..., Lovely”, thinking it’s your over three-and-a-half year old daughter, but there is no answer. You call out yet again and no answer, but you notice some slight movement in the two-seater. You begin to become more conscious and then you realise that it is your eleven year old daughter.
“Why are you out of your room?” you ask her. She doesn’t say a word. You suddenly are fully awake and anxious. “Why are you awake?”, for it is the dead of night – or is it the dead of morning? Whatever! It is already calendarly morning: it’s that nighttime that happens before the daylight that happens before the nighttime that you call night.
“I am afraid, my room is dark”, she finally responds meekly. You realise that she probably was awoken by a nightmare and is scared of staying all by herself in her room. Actually the whole house is dark because NEPA has resumed duty. You take her back to her room, put on the only living rechargeable lamp for her in the room, and then light a candle in the hallway, leaving her door open just to assure her you are watching over her.
As you are taking care of your little girl you realise that your life with MJ had been all a dream. You lie back down; recall that the last Sunday was Pentecost and you sang “The Comforter has Come” in Church; and remember that it had been raining with violent thunder storms when you went to sleep as you rehash your phantasms... and doze off again.