Sunday, December 28, 2008
Cleanse my blood
I am wondering as I now observe the title for this piece unwrap itself from my thoughts and slide down my arms, pass through my fingers and appear upon my monitor, what each of you readers make of it? Those of you who harbour anxieties verging on hypochondria, may be looking eagerly for my report on yet another medical advance. Perhaps an anti-ageing procedure. Those of you who seek spiritual solutions in all things, may associate it with the altar and a purifying communion. There may be others among you who would prefer to dwell in a partial world of medieval fantasy (still being lived out among Sicilians, for whom this is a pointed reminder of the loop of Mafia history.) It could also resonate with those ageing Draculas among you who are desperately seeking renewal via a virgin’s blood.
Well, of course, it is none of these.
I am writing this on the balcony of a simple, palm-thatched cottage overlooking a perfect bay in Ghana. On an island. It is misty still but the sun is just visible as a white yolk. It feels like being trapped in a fable or fantasy that millions might nurse in their private thoughts. When I woke up an hour or so ago, all I could see from my bed, were the bleeding spots of red flowers in the fog.
I need to put on my trunks and swim to cleanse my blood of the wine I consumed yesterday evening. But this is not why I used the phrase in the heading for this piece.
On our way here we had to stop at a police checkpoint. A burly feller carrying a very mean instrument of death, knocked on the side window of our car.
“Cleanse my blood,” he directed.
“When we return later,” said our driver, stiffly, staring straight ahead.
The man gave a resigned grunt and waved us on with his gun, our purses intact, his palms free from grease. His blood uncleansed.