Sunday, August 28, 2005

the usual problem

Everything is just going to hell around here. The usual problem of being broke -- what really depressed me is taking a look at my journal. I stopped writing my journal a few years ago and I never read it, but just once last week I took a quick peak at something I wrote 14 years ago. What depressed is seeing that I have the same stupid problems today that I had 14 years ago. Nothing has changed. Every effort and every struggle has served only to keep my in my present position. Goals that I had set -- never achieved. No wonder I never read my journal.

Then, to sort of climax my misery, I get a phone call from Precious, my ex-wife. I haven't heard from her since early June. Her life is falling apart badly. She is from Zimbabwe. So many of her relatives have died. A phone call from her means that somebody else has died in her family -- people who were my in-laws, people I got to know very well from living with her family.

So she calls. Uncle Milton is dead. Aunt Molly also died, but that was two months ago. Now her daughter, Maureen, has died too. I never liked Aunt Molly. She was a large, ugly and brutal woman, very much unloved by one and all. She made a living selling boiled cows feet at the local beer garden. She lived in a tiny room in back of her father's house. Aunt Molly, if she ever spoke to me, it was only to ask for money. But I am still very sad to hear that she passed away.

Her daughter, Maureen, age about 30, was also a stocky and broad woman, but quite lovely, and did not inherit her mother's foul expression. Maureen was sweet and nice. Precious, my ex-wife, who is 39, spent many hours taking care of Maureen when Maureen was a baby. Precious did the bulk of her mothering chores when she was 7 to 12 years of age. As she said, "I carried Maureen on my back," literally. So Maureen is dead.

Uncle Milton died. He was the third of four brothers. Lovemore Peter was the first-born son and Precious's father. Lovemore Peter was murdered two months ago by government thugs in some dispute over a cow -- basically Lovemore Peter had the cow and the government thugs wanted to eat it..... That was the message from a previous phone call from my ex-wife saying "My Father died, he was killed."

The second son is Smiley, who I liked very much. He is healthy and doing fine as far as I know. The third son was Milton. Milton was very small and slight and almost surely he was gay. A very pleasant man who once had worked as a graphic artist, but mainly did anything he could find.

It was the deterioration of Zimbabwe's economy that killed Uncle Milton. There being no work and no food in Zimbabwe. Milton travelled to Johannesburg to find work as an illegal immigrant. He lived in the Hillbrow section of Johannesburg, which is notorious for its violence. Milton was set upon by robbers and seriously injured. He lived for some time after in the hospital, but finally he died.

What did Aunt Molly and Maureen die of? I learned long ago not to ask. I respect my wife's family. I would not tell them that they have a disease. It is for them to tell me. So they just died.

In fact this is the truth to a large extent. Africans often just die. It's a soul sickness. They just die of their feelings. And so I am very afraid that Precious will die too, as she has been getting sicker and sicker and her voice is getting quieter, and I know she is thinking that she can join her grandfather and grandmother, and her mother and her father, and Aunt Winnie and Aunt Janet, and Maphuto and Veronica and Christopher and Ndlovu and Ndlovu's wife -- all died.

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