Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Shadow

A loud and cheery good week to all. I’m feeling some sense of accomplishment at the moment. Elation because I have found another avenue to express in some way how I feel and also share with people around me my feelings and thoughts however absurd they may seem to be. This is probably the third month of my writing this post and each is just as challenging as the first one I started off with, if not more. Truly, the adage that goes, “One is only as good as one’s last job,” rings so true in this post I try write every week. I start off agonizing over what to write about, and when I settle upon it, struggle through the post, trying to put in words the beauty, humour or passion and experience that’s in my heart, handicapped by my limited vocabulary, and then wait with bated breath to see how my post is received. I once remarked to a friend that the written language is one of the most primitive means of expression there is and there is no better proof of this observation than what I go through writing this. I think the hardest thing for me to do is to maintain my resolve to write only things that are heartfelt and are real to me. To do otherwise would to me, be tantamount to writing a lie, and that I cannot afford. Thank you so much everyone who supports me and deigns to read what I write – you are my greatest accolade ever! Anyway, enough of this gibberish and on to the main thing I want to write about this week, my earliest memory.

I once had an argument with a friend of mine over who had the better memory. I, ably representing my brothers in bragging rights, put my opponent to the test challenging him to let us use our earliest memories as the yardstick for whose was the superior. He managed to conjure up memories dating back to the time he was five years old, I, ten months old! I know it seems laughable but it is true. I know it is because my mother told me I learnt to walk when I was ten months old and I had my experience when I knew I couldn’t walk! I remember the incident vividly because that was the first time I knew what the fear of being alone was.

I remember being alone in a room on a bed with a pleated quilt, as I know it be now. It was lit up by a light shining high above my head and I looked at the little birds flying all over the wall wondering where they all went to and why I couldn’t pluck them from the wall no matter how much I tried to grab at them . I crawled along the quilt with the birds meaning to find out where all of them were headed - they all seemed to fly in one direction. It was then I noticed the presence of another. It was a dark figure, almost the same size as me bur unlike anyone I’d seen before. It had no eyes or mouth I could see but seemed to have ears that I could recognize. Playfully I called out to it but it didn’t reply me. I reached out to it and it did too, touching my hand. I called out to it again but it still remained silent. Becoming bored of its muteness, I crawled off to continue with my investigation of my birds’ destination and it followed me. I stopped; it stopped too! Irritated with its tenacity I screamed at it to leave me alone if it wasn’t going to play properly and made for the opposite direction; it still followed me. Observing its dark figure more closely it slowly began to dawn on me that there might be more to this strange being than met the eye. It had no features that I could recognize save for its form that was very like mine and was eerily present where my mother was absent! In a panic I crawled to the edge of the bed and to my dismay, I could go no further as the bed was too high for me to clamber down to the floor. Bawling, I doubled back to the other end frantically trying to get away form this mysterious being but it adamantly followed my every move and I couldn’t get past the edges of the bed whichever way I went. It was a total frenzy of bawling and whirling this way and that in a total panic when I was suddenly scooped up by the strong arms of my mum. Almost instantly soothed, I nuzzled into the safe haven of my mummy’s soft neck and smell that I knew so well as that little monster, the little birds and the bed receded into nothingness.

Of course I never told my friend this. Me, tell him how a grown man like me ran from his shadow? Tufiakwa! God forbid! It’s funny how scary life or challenges in life can be when you’re alone. It’s also scary how daunting life can be without a mentor, guide and protector. We seek daily to indemnify our lives as well as our loved ones’ and our environment against the unknown that we perceive to be constantly prevailing against us. The inherent fear of abandonment we are born with first manifests itself when we, as infants, cling to our parents seeking our sense of security in their loving care. This craving stays with us throughout our lives prompting us to sate its appetite in all ramifications, good or bad. Perhaps this is why most of us seek partners for lifelong companionship and a deity to believe in and to be guided by. May we see our shadows for what they are and not what our fear of the unknown tries to exaggerate them to be. Have a great week ahead everyone.


  1. WOW! Yet another amazing post! I LOVED this one, Kalu! VERY good job!!! You're a wonderful storyteller! I felt like I was a toddler in MY crib! Oh, and quite impressive, btw -having a memory so early! I think I can remember back to maybe age 2...lol
    I loved it, I look forward to future posts!!!

  2. That was quite captivating. left my hairs standing thinking of the infant Kalu... i kept wondering what the monster could turn out to be...ur shadow was the least on my mind! The earliest memory of my childhood must have been roughly 2yrs and i cannot give such vivid discriptions of the incident.
    Loved this post!!!

  3. Ehya, Kalu...this was a lovely post. Have a wonderful weekend as well and may your creative continue to flow in an endless stream.


  4. Oh my God that was great. you are really good keep it up. that was an incredible story.

  5. nice one Kalu!!!
    I read ur post every week,infact i actually suscribed (though this is d 1st time am posting a comment)...so yu can imagine my dissapointment when yu didnt post any last week though yu apologised with a poem which was well applauded.
    just want to encourage u and let yu know that yu put a smile on someone's face each time yu post, pls dont relent in ur write-ups, they are quite good, read by many even though they dont comment all the time like me, lol.
    keep the flag flying, yu are good at what yu do...and about today's post? i picked a line where yu said "its scary how daunting life can be without a mentor, guide and protector" powerful word bro, its truly scary sometimes and thats y we crave for love, care and attention like yu rightly said... THUMBS UP!

  6. It's funny the things that grip us with fear. when they are long gone, we look back and laugh. One would think that we've mastered the art to conquer them but before we know, we are in so much fear agian. Maybe it's not fear but just normal anxiety. Whatever it is, it won't be long, we'll be laughing again.
    Thanks Kalu for the writting.
    Christine Asiimwe.

  7. hey!
    pretty good.. i thot the thing was a teddy bear at first.... lol
    have a fab week
    p.s. life each day to the max people!!!
    we can't stress it enough

  8. surprising u can remember stuff frm when u were ten.i can only remember frm wen i was 2 yrs of age.well fear is smthing evry1 has 2 deal with till 2mrw i guess.