A Scarecrow Letter

D ear Beloved,

Your photograph is on my nightstand. In the rare moments when I take my eyes off your face, which has grown yellow and moldy, I read Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust.  There is this passage that always makes me think of you. Even though I can’t quite remember the exact words, the suffering it expressed has always stayed with me.

Just like the narrator of the passage, I’ve been waiting for the postman to bring a letter from you. I often wonder about your silence: is it that having composed a letter, you are merely waiting to sign it? Or having signed it, the letter is sitting on your desk, wishing to be sent? Or maybe the letter has been sent but has just not yet arrived. Which is it? Tell me so I can stop this longing from corroding me from the inside.

Tired of waiting, I decided to dream up a letter. I composed a letter written to myself by myself pretending to be you. Yes, it’s perverse on so many levels. But to tell you the truth, I impersonated you to perfection. The letter looked pretty legit down to the very sentences, words, and signature. It’s not the real thing but a pretty damn good copy of the letter that is yet to come.

It was all supposed to be innocent fun. I simply said to myself, “perhaps this is what you would write to me if you were to write to me.” A little “perhaps” never killed anyone. But as Nietzsche said once, “perhapses” are dangerous things. And so instead of giving me that warm fuzzy feeling, the forged letter is proving to be quite scary. I tremble whenever I read it ’cause I realize it’s a mirror with your reflection. I swear it’s you, though, in your demonic form, the form in which you reside in the whirlpool of my desire, my lust, and my friendship, and, therefore, the form in which I see myself in you.

Write me! Save me! From this monstrosity of a look-a-like letter.  This possessed caricature. This scarecrow letter. This “disquieting [copy].” This forged “artifact in rags and tatters.”

Yours,

Anon.

 

Photo Credit: Roz McQuillan

 

Tags: , , , , ,

I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Archives

Lesley Nneka Arimah Picked for the US National Book Foundation’s “5 Under 35” List

Lesley Nneka Arimah has been picked for the US National Book Foundation’s “5 Under 35” list of 2017, on the […]

The Photographer as an Osprey | John “Lighthouse” Oyewale | Essay

On 30 June, we published Work Naija: The Book of Vocations, an anthology of writing and visual art that explores the […]

Zukiswa Wanner Calls Out Misogyny in South Africa, Kenya and Zimbabwe, Takes on Politicians and the Media

Zukiswa Wanner has called out misogyny in South Africa, Kenya and Zimbabwe, taking on politicians and the media in the […]

Dinaw Mengestu and Nadifa Mohamed Have New Work in Freeman’s Magazine

Nadifa Mohamed

Dinaw Mengestu and Nadifa Mohammed both have new fiction forthcoming in the new fourth issue of Freeman’s magazine. Titled “The Future […]

The Brittle Paper Literary Awards: New Date for the Announcement of Winners

The announcement of the winners of the inaugural Brittle Paper Literary Awards was scheduled for 23 September 2017. However, a change […]

The Reviews Are In! | Namwali Serpell Has High Praise for Jennifer Makumbi’s Kintu

Screen-Shot-2017-09-20-at-4.57.42-PM-e1505944728679 copy

Jennifer Makumbi’s Kintu is one of the hit novels of 2017. A historical drama, it tells the story of an 18th […]