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Hi, my name is Chenai Mbanga! Welcome to my blog! I write to encourage, inspire and empower you in growing in your spiritual life through reflections and prose. I have been writing on this blog for 5 years now, and it has been a journey! Join me as I continue my journey toward self-actualizing.❤

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Shackles

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It’s cold out. I thought I’d come visit you for a while, see how you are. I last saw you at my house a while ago. I didn’t want to be one of those people who are good at pointing out how long it has been since we last saw each other, how you haven’t come to visit, but they themselves would never leave their house to come visit you. 

You come to the door wearing your bathrobe. I’ve never liked anyone greeting me in their bathrobe…It denotes lack of effort, lack of excitement, but I’ve learned to let that go. You give me a small, fatigued hug, tell me that you are glad to see me.  We walk into your apartment…it’s messier than usual. I look at you and you shrug nonchalantly. “Sorry about the mess,” you say, falling onto the couch and pulling your blanket close to you. I don’t judge. Sometimes a person just wants to be lazy. But you are different. Your version of messy is clean. I’m almost uncomfortable but I push it away. I sit on the couch and grab the throw blanket hanging off the arm, and cover my feet.  Obviously, something is wrong. I have never seen you this way before. Or perhaps it’s a testament to how much I don’t know you, how long it has been. 

“What’s going?” I ask you, deciding to get straight to the point. Part of me slightly regrets asking. I should have led in with small talk before getting to the point. I’m not well-versed in greasing the wheel, getting people to trust me, allowing them to put down their guard. I like to get straight to the point. We’ve known each other for a while anyway. If you don’t trust me by now then I don’t know why we are friends. 

 “She’s gone,” you respond. 
My heart drops. I know without even asking. “Oh my god, I’m so---“
“Don’t be,” you cut me off. “I’m not sorry.”
I wanted to say that the mess in your apartment tells me different, but I hold my tongue at the last moment. 
“I’m relieved,” you continue, stressing the word as though the word itself doesn’t embody your relief. But I caught the inflection in your voice. You want reprieve. But you are angry. 
“What happened?” I inquire, trying to remember the last time we had talked about our families. We rarely talked about our families. I think we ask each other about our families the way strangers ask “how are you?” They don’t ask expecting an honest response, just the usual automatic, “Good, fine, not bad.”

Your silence to my question is deafening; I notice that I’ve cusped my left hand into my right, and the verdict of your words has me digging my right thumb into my left palm. Now I remembered how we first connected. Similar pasts, similar backgrounds. I was fascinated by your anger when we met. You made me wonder about my own feelings regarding how I grew up; why I’d let my own anger go, or if it was still there simmering, waiting for an importune time. Your own anger reminded me that I don’t like to take responsibility for something that I didn’t do; I‘ve had to confront a lot of things, fix a lot of things, so I could walk away unburdened and free. 
I want to be here for you, encourage you, and hopefully support you in getting to where I am. But you don’t want to let go. I understand why. I’ve always understood. But now you’ve trashed your apartment. What you require is to feel everything and release it. At least, I think so.
I don’t know why but my mind conjures up that one time that you told me your aunt killed her husband. I wonder where your cousins are.

“When’s the funeral?” I ask, unsure what to say.  The air is becoming heavy and I wish I hadn’t come to visit. I should have just called, or sent a text. 
“I don’t know, man. I don’t care,” you sigh, covering your head with the blanket. 
We sit in silence for what seems like too long. I should learn how to be comforting, but every time it comes out awkward, as though I don’t know how to be a human. I should encourage you to go to the funeral, but I don’t. I feel like you know that already.  You know everything that I could possibly say to you. 

“I’m gonna stay over for a while if it’s cool with you,” I say. I don’t really mean it. Part of me wishes you would tell me to leave. My chest feels heavy, but I also don’t want to leave. Me and my contradictory emotions. You and I both need therapy. We joked about that once. I don’t think it would be appropriate to bring that up right now.

You don’t respond. You lift your head out of the blanket, reach for the remote and choose the first movie you see. Bourne Identity.  Good. We sit in silence as we both watch the movie without really watching it, both of us deep in our thoughts, you adding more bricks to a fragile wall, and I, secure in my own fortress, contemplating a thousand things that I ought to do but not doing.

*SoulTea*