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A Dragon Morning

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W oke up this morning and the first thing that met my eyes was the cold pot of tea from the night before. I was left with this funny feeling that the day would not turn out the way I hoped. Outside was hazy, with a tint of lavender, the last moments of dawn.  There were the dead and scraggly trees. They’ve been around all winter, but there was something about the way they just stood there that made the day seem like it was already running out of hope even before it began. The thin layer of dew on the cars out in the streets. The sleepy meowing of my neighbor’s cat. It was going to be a day of  gloom and grey. I would read, but it would be mostly sad things: underlined passages from Proust or, worst still, Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet.

We have no cause to be mistrustful of our world, for it is not against us. If it has terrors they are our terrors; if it has abysses those abysses belong to us, if dangers are there we must strive to love them.

How could we forget…the myth of the dragons which are transformed, at the last moment, into princesses; perhaps all the dragons of our life are princesses, who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave. Perhaps everything terrifying is at bottom the helplessness that seeks our help. — Letter VIII

The day would not pan out, I said. I became suddenly hungry, but it was a craveless hunger.  My bed became scratchy and cold, so I left it. From toilette to kitchen to couch and back, I moped around, ghostly, pajamas stuck in my buttcrack like an unattractive wife. “I pampered my melancholy.” The day would not pan out, I reminded myself.  If I am lucky, it would end in a fit of tears, with me on the couch listening to the Wax Poetic station on Pandora. If only the sun would come out. It wouldn’t seem so bad.

I took a banana and a book by Ben Okri on a long walk. I walked into a coffee shop with my Ray Ban on. No one should have to see the dejection in my eyes. Back outside, I sipped on hot coffe. I liked the bitterness. It gave a hint of pleasure to my suffering.

The sun came out. Right then it occurred to me that the dragon of a blah morning could still become the princess of a happy day. Right then, I knew. I had been wrong all along.

 

Photo: Ysokolov (visit website for more of his lovely paintings!) 

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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.

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