This Man

This Man

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I’m at the salon and this man is straightening my sister’s hair. I’m seated about a meter away, but I can feel the pain from here. Either the heat is too high or he’s just not doing it right. And this has nothing to do with the fact that he’s a man, so you may put that hand down.

 

This man looks young and adventurous. He looks open-minded. He looks kind of built, but I could never see myself perusing someone like him. He takes his work a bit seriously that he burns his customers’ hair and he’s not sensitive enough to realise that they squirm and cringe due to the occasional excessive doses of heat on their scalps.

 

This man says that he knows John (not his real name). They are friends. I believe him. John was recently accused of chopping off his wife’s hands  because she was infertile. The story rocked the nation, quite a bit. Everyone felt it in their spirit to say something towards that incident, so social media and radio stations had the same conversation rolling. The air was filled with messages of “Love One Another” and “Be Compassionate Towards Each Other”. So many people echoed these words until it felt a nuisance to reiterate the same thing and yet we were all on the same page. We all agreed to show love to one another and if something did not please us, that it was best to walk away if we could not settle the matter like the adults we are. Or so I thought.

 

This man supports John. If anything, I think they are probably going to celebrate what he did over a couple bottles of beer tonight. John is not in jail so an affirmation from a friend sounds good. A pat on the back would neutralise all that negative energy that John has been receiving from the public up till now, this man thinks. They’ve abused him and called him less of a man for stooping so low. This man thinks that the public has been unfair to John. This man thinks that John’s actions were even a bit more cowardly. John should have chopped off her whole arm instead of her forearms only. He reduces the heat of the blow dryer to indicate where exactly he’s speaking about. He suggests this with a sly smile on his face punctuated by a noisy mannerless chew of that PK gum.

 

This man says that John did not just do what he did because his wife could not have their baby. This man says John’s wife is abusive. She neither respects her husband nor does she obey him. So, John was justified to teach her a lesson. This man says that women should be punished when they do wrong. Women must obey their husbands. Women need to be taught good manners. All women besides the three of us in that salon. Really now? This man would cut up his wife if she did a mistake. This man does not say what obeying your husband means. This man does not believe that men make mistakes. This man believes that there are two types of people in the world; gods and women. And gods must be worshipped, if not, they have the right to punish. They have the right to leave permanent scars, shatter dreams and tear up souls.

 

This man did not conceive these notions from a novel that he read in high school. He did not read it from a billboard when he was stuck in traffic. He was not brainwashed by some agents and fed new information all in one bit. This man learnt this from his father, uncles and grandfather. And since his mother, aunts and grandmother never dared to challenge the concept, he absorbed it as truth. It fused with him so well that it became him. That the truth and the lies formed an impossible grey. Impossible because the two cannot exist as one. But for this man, it does. He chokes the truth but that does not alarm him because it feels normal. It has always been normal; for this man, his ancestors and unfortunately, his offspring. Right now, this man is single. He says he will never marry, like everyone else who is married right now ever thought. This man will head a home. He will have a daughter and a wife and another mother.

 

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