A Sonometer of Partings
About Mike Ekunno
About A Sonometer of Partings
20 Alexandria Crescent
Wuse II, Abuja
Word Count: 876
A SONOMETER OF PARTINGS
“Leave,” counsels the old adage, “when the ovation is loudest.”
“Says who?” retorts The Stable Genius. “Why not when odium is loudest?”
And with that January 20 exit came other exits with a more personal resolution; a harmattan of partings.
I left my pro bono gig teaching Rhetoric to future pastors and evangelists. Then I left the church. My house too. And the marriage. All packed within the first 32 days of the new year, the combined effect was a private Hiroshima.
None of my leavings were erratic instead each was meant to be. Ordained, even if resisted like the presidential non-inauguration of Trump. Air Force One sorties may not have been part of the score but surely changes in forwarding addresses and estrangement from default crowds were.
ABBA, the defunct iconic pop group has a cache of songs on parting. This ended up channeling their own separations both as couples and a band. In Knowing Me, Knowing You, they lament:
Breaking up is never easy, I know
But I have to go
That sense of inexorableness dogs parting as blue does the outdoors. And did it dog my many partings – the ruminations, self cross-examinations and false starts! Often, it was the party I was sensitive about not hurting that had to decide it for me albeit inadvertently.
The man of God had taken furious exception to my visiting his estranged prebendal in detention who needed a guarantor for his bail with the police. He had been held on the senior man’s complaint. Then my own disgust arose to meet his fury in a calling of bluffs. A calling that had been long in coming. It had endured his heresies in the guise of rhema; suffered his personal failings gladly seeing as he was no more Jesus than Donald Trump was saintly. But that time came when like ABBA, I had to go.
A confessional: ABBA’s end as a musical group had been devastating to me as well as millions of their fans. Having to piece together years later their reason for so “callous” a decision, I couldn’t come up with anything better than it wasn’t fun to do anymore.
How does a people’s icon disintegrate merely on such flimsy, even selfish excuse?
Did the audiences cease?
The tours dry up?
The royalties stanch?
Or the songs dam up?
But now I know better; that time comes – the fated time when you have to go.
In the threshold beyond parting’s exit door, there’s no end to the question of whether one left in mid song or had to turn down the music mechanically. Every song has its end. It peters off and ends. Otherwise it is squelched. Squelched and the music lingers though the song be ended.
Partings in all their bittersweetness ensure that Newton’s First Law will not go obsolete soon.
If a body is at rest or moving at a constant speed in a straight line, it will remain at rest or keep moving in a straight line at constant speed unless it is acted upon by a force.
Without the disruption of partings, how can inertia ever be shoved the middle finger?
My conflated partings triggered a maelstrom of disquiet around me. But being at the epicenter, all was calm. I may have bitten off …well, a mouthful, but each move had been the subject of long cogitation. And so when push came to shove, it was rather like living out in reality scenes only before dreamt of.
It wasn’t so for my army of well wishers. I won’t call them busy bodies. Africa’s communal spirit ensures the longevity of their warrants – uncles, aunties, friends, parents and in loco parentis. The phone calls came in volleys especially in respect of the marital estrangement. Every caller’s default position was the same – you shouldn’t separate now. It mattered to none that the initial decision to marry had been unilaterally yours. Or that you had internalized the discontent all the while for peace to reign. Or that the religious precept yet mattered to you despite the extant matter of its breach. The stable façade of a relationship might have been at your expense but don’t go rocking the boat. Die maintaining a façade. You cite Mandela finding love even in late life. Are you the Great Madiba?
So much of the distraction in the aftermath of a parting in my society is in trying to live down others’ outrage; to ride out others’ storms. It’d have been flattering for one’s wellbeing to be the concern of a whole village of well wishers if it weren’t all so perfunctory. It’s not like if I told them I left my marriage because I was broke, they’d elect to crowd-fund me out of that.
But here we are at a pathetic pass where people would feel their completeness as humans is tied to someone else’s decision with one’s life. Isn’t it amazing how many people feel personally affronted by your decision on how you want to run your life? I couldn’t help wondering if these do-gooders felt they’d be held vicariously guilty for my decision to separate. And in one instance with a helicopter auntie, my wondering came out loud.