By Aaron Aroriza, Uganda:
I've always wondered: If a scorpion stung itself out of recklessness or out of juvenile curiosity, would it perhaps die from the poison? Maybe a scorpion's sting can't curl that much. So a scorpion might be, just like humans can't lick their own elbows, unable to sting itself. But I've seen snakes coil to positions that would allow them to easily bite themselves. Now, if a frustrated snake (do they get frustrated too?) decided to commit suicide, could it do it by just digging its fangs ferociously into its scaly skin, slithering to death minutes later?
Of scorpions, I know nothing. Of snakes, I know a little. But of my friend Francis, I know a great deal. And I think he is dying slowly from his own venom.
Francis is a jolly young man with a big heart. He is courteous and amiable and, even in a world of gender balance and women activism, still exudes chivalry – a rarity in young men these days. I was going to be his best man as he walked Sarah down the aisle. Then Sarah's friends invited us to her 24th birthday.
Sarah has funny friends. But Sarah herself is funny. She hadn't told her friends about her fiancé even when they were mutual friends with Francis. When they invited us for Sarah's birthday party, I knew we were the chief guests; Francis, the main man and I, the best man. It was Sarah's surprise party. But whereas she enjoyed the party, it's Francis and I who got the colossal surprise. We weren't the chief guests. An over accessorized lanky fella with an over trimmed beard was.
I believed it but Francis couldn't when we were handed cameras and told we were going to be the cameramen of the party. I, a camcorder and dear Francis, a still camera. It was a very powerful and pretty looking fuji camera he was given. Had I been in his shoes that alone might have cheered me up. Maybe he too would have cheered up had he not had the terrible task of taking pictures of his fiancée cutting cake with a lanky fella: Taking pictures of them as they danced slowly to slow romantic music while kissing away to put up a show for the small ecstatic crowd. I caught all this on the low resolution camcorder I had been given. Once in a while I zoomed Francis in to capture the expression on his face as he took pictures of his dear fiancée being kissed: Excruciating – that's the word that could come closest to explaining his expressions at such moments.
We left the party early for very obvious reasons. And in the days that followed, Francis gave Sarah the silent treatment. He acted as if he hadn't been at the kissing birthday party. He also acted as if he was now deaf and dumb whenever Sarah tried to break the ice. Sarah reached out and begged me to intercede for her. I did. But Francis still remained deaf and dumb.
Silent treatment seemed a way to assert the self, but actually it ended up being a way of dulling the true self in Francis's case. He told me he loved Sarah and still wanted to marry her. But he wanted her to learn that hurting actions have painful consequences. He was just biding his time.
If he intended to make her pay, he made her pay too much. Sarah sought solace in the company of one of Francis's old friends. She must have gotten too comfortable. Her tummy is bulging. Francis's friend's sperm ran a terrific race.
She's quite loving – Sarah. She broke into tears as she broke the news to a dumbfounded Francis: Dumbfounded at first and now terribly heartbroken. He hasn't had a meal in two weeks now. By the looks of it, he might not have a proper meal for the next nine months.
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