Jordan Gabriel Clark
I will never forget the day when my parents brought me to view the bare bones of our soon-to-be home. It is a day forever etched into my mind. For it was a day that seemed to bring forth life, as well as the remainder of death. The home was in its final days before birth, but as I stood ahead of it, a shadow lingered throughout the open walls. It watched us, watched me, as I watched it, greeting it with a smile. At that moment, I never thought that that shadow would completely alter my reality in life. The instant we acknowledged each other’s presence, we became bound.
Inspired by a true chef, my uncle Peter Stampfer. The warmth and calmness that surrounded me as I laid adrift that day is a memory and a sensation that I will never forget. It was a day when my life completely altered, it pivoted perfectly, in 180 degrees. Unconscious, yet aware, I found myself floating upon the river, fully knowing that I was, but at the same time, distant. As if I saw myself there from afar, from some distant region of space. I was me, but outside of myself at the same moment, feeling the water cradle me, carry me, and I gazed upon my body while it drifted away. While the awareness of my stilled body felt current emotion, simultaneously the self who gazed, admired with unknown emotion, with hesitation, and wonder. It was as if I was unfamiliar with myself, uncertain of exactly who laid there. Though as I gazed, I remember specifically thinking how sad I felt for myself. I saw myself, truly in that instance, within that state, and wondered why the motionless self felt fear. I was a fearful person, always have been, but when I saw myself, I felt the instance of who I was. I was foreign, because I did not feel the fear at that instant. It was nonexistent. I caught a glimpse of who I truly was that day, as I stood outside of myself, and before I opened my eyes, I knew who I needed to become. I needed to be fearless.
“Hello my love” was how I greeted her every single time. Every single malt scotch placed before me. The fellow drinkers at my sides, whether they were my fellows or not, I could feel their glances, their gazes and stares as I said the words. As if I was crazy. I didn’t have many fellows left in my life, so perhaps I was crazy. Crazy for the drink I was. She was crazy for me, too.
The feeling of brisk air against my exterior during the long nights was precisely what I needed to recharge the body and rebalance the mind. Warm vibrational sensations soothed the soul, readying myself for the upcoming day. Surely, I simply loved the Moon, the sight of it, the fact that it always remained, still and watchful, but also there for me, and for us, in so many senses. I preferred to visit and regenerate when it was as dark as possible, as quiet, even though it was always silent upon the sand, besides the calm waters that rocked. For I was the only one with the knowledge and power to lie there. It was pleasant, to be alone for a moment, as throughout the day I was constantly followed. Followed by intrigue, or admiration, especially by those who enjoyed and absorbed my warming and brilliant self. It was time away, for myself, but as I said, it was also necessary because I was followed for a reason: I was the heart; I shed my regenerative cells with emission to restore and balance life; I was needed for sustainability.
For as far back as I can remember, there was war. I was raised in it. We ran from it. Though we could not escape it. I remember them, my mother and father. They called me Jibril, but during the few moments of peace, of serenity, they smiled and watched me, calling me Foday. Jabril Foday Sama, a name I now fully embrace, for it is who I was, who I was meant to be, and who I have become today. I no longer hide in the shadows, no longer run from my fears. There was a time when terrors of my past captured every waking moment, where I remained alone in the darkness of my mind, afraid. Fear lived within each fiber of my being. It was all surreal, completely unimaginable during those horrific days of my youth, and the unsettling, nightmarish moment when my family was taken. I remember them, their faces, their embraces, the scents of warm skin, but what lingered were the sounds, the screams, and the red that scattered our nomadic home. Unwanted remembrances of Mother Sama’s bodily remains pierced my fragile mind. I can still taste my own tears from when I buried her. Father Sama’s shouts from afar, as he yelled in fear. A fear I discovered that was for me, and not for the fact that he was taken to become enslaved for war.
I wandered aimlessly. Pulled toward something unexplained. The Moon called to me and in turn, I felt its pull. I remember clearly that it was full, bright as the sun. Full of light, full of hope. Perhaps it was the hope I sought? Perhaps. Perhaps it would shed some light onto my life, to show me a purpose. I wandered for so long that I was desperate, desperate to seek for anything that would change me. I suffered, but some part of me clawed at the pain I felt, and I ached, no I desired, somewhere deep down, for an alternate me — one that was truly happy. For I wasn’t. I had been stuck for years, and all the while my hope dwindled away. It was as if when I walked, the hope shed from my skin, like dust. I was something, then I was nothing. A memory.
For generations my family lived over the peaceful hills. We were the earliest inhabitants, the only ones for the longest time. The hills were rich in nutrients, full of potential, and we expanded. Although life was hard, the atmosphere was pleasant, and we thrived off one another. In a sense, it was a perfect life, at least for me. I remember so much of my adolescence, always looking up to my elders, and striving to become precisely like them. In a way, that is what we all did, to become the same, to be healthy, and to nurture one another. I learned that from a young age, and continuously reached out to others for guidance and help when I needed it most, and even when I did not need it. Purely to build knowledge, to become wise much like the others. I wanted to be wise one day, I constantly told myself as I grew up.