time I can remember praying with a similar degree of desperation was twenty-four years ago
in the town of Karonga, forty-five kilometers from the Malawi-Tanzania border. Yayuk and I
arrived there tired and cranky after a sixteen-kilometer hike plus two-hour bus ride from
the Livingstone Escarpment, atop which we had spent an amicable Christmas. Her period had
started, if I recall correctly—typically a day that meant drastic mood swings—which I, in my mid-life self-centeredness, saw fit to disregard.
Ouch! The sting of that memory outstrips even my current troop of
tortures (ongoing, sad to say); I nearly killed her. When I stop to think about the irony
of our having survived muggers, cutpurses, ramshackle vehicles driven at break-neck
speeds, wild animals, infectious diseases, and countless other hazards of the African
experience, only to fall prey to ourselves, I have to shake my head. External
threats seem tame when compared to internal savagery.
Anyway, whomever started the argument—yours truly, no
doubt—it ended with a shove that flattened Ms. Kertanegara on our room's
concrete floor, the impact raising a lump on her skull that mimicked a goose egg... an
ENORMOUS goose egg... afflicting him who caused it with mortified alarm.
Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name...
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