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Mr. Love was not only blind, he was bipolar too. Every other day I would see him take a morning walk around the park. On one day you would see him waving his hand enthusiastically to all the neighbours who called out to him on his way, grinning all the way from teeth A to Z, his head held high, his sunglasses worn in style and his dimples adding spice to his beautiful smile. But the next day? You would see him walking head down. His cheeks would be swollen like he just rubbed off some yeast on them. His forehead would have lines formed that wouldn’t disappear for the rest of the day. On such a day, you wouldn’t want to shout, “Hallo Mr. Love” like you’d always do. On such days, he was untouchable and very unpredictable. At the smallest thing he would create a scene, or cry or get so furious that his face would turn pepper red. So on these gloomy days, everyone in the neighbourhood would give him space. Ignore him, avoid him and sometimes totally run away from him.
As I grew up, I couldn’t help but wonder why Mr. Love was the way he was. My grandma would tell me his stories from time to time. He was an extreme person, we all knew that but despite all that, we also knew he had the purest soul ever. He loved children and whenever he was at the park, he would sit at his favourite spot on the bench right in front of the playing field. He would then call out to the children and hand them sweets. My friends never got tired of conning him. They would always come round two for more sweets and pretend to be other kids. He loved helping people despite his disability and was the most affectionate person in the neighbourhood.
“It is because of his blindness; that is what makes him so bitter to life,” my grandma would justify his behaviour from time to time.
“That doesn’t justify his hysterical behaviour you know mum?” My mother would debate, “God tests us in different ways. He should accept his condition and be happy with life.”
“But he IS happy!” Grandma would insist, “It is just sometimes he can’t control his emotions…”
Rumour had it that Mr. Love was once married to a lady called Pride. I wasn’t born yet but everyone talks of her dazzling beauty. She was too beautiful, they say. Elegant height, almond shaped eyes, thick lips, some said she was more beautiful than Angelina Jolie, some said she was a little bit less beautiful than her. The theories were many but no one could out-rightly reject that she was beyond pretty. Everyone wondered why she accepted Mr. Love’s proposal yet she could have been married by some Saudi prince or some tycoon somewhere. But as they say, the heart wants what it wants. Perhaps her beauty was somehow a threat to him because he was always too protective, too attached which ended up in them having a divorce. Pride no doubt loved her husband, he was handsome anyway, but she had a great impact on him that made him drift away from the people. She had set standards for her husband and herself. She chose whom Mr. Love should talk to and whom to not get involved with. Her classy and sassy personality pressured her to maintain an image, and for her to do so, she also had to control her husband excessively so that he doesn’t destroy her image. As such, Pride was not all that much liked in the neighbourhood. She had changed their lovely Mr. Love.
There was another rumour about Mr. Love although everyone who talked about it, would do it in whispers, with heads close together, with fingers on their lips. “Mr. Love almost killed a man with his cane once. He was messing up with Pride.” Mr. Love was too jealous, they say. He didn’t want any man getting too close to his muse.
“But isn’t that how all couples are? Jealous?” Grandma would justify again.
“Mum! He almost ki…”
“Shhhhh!!!! He might pass by and hear you!” Grandma would say in a low tone. “What is wrong with you anyway? Why are you always against Mr. Love?”
“Don’t act like you don’t know Ma. He broke Kind’s heart remember?” My mother replied.
“Who is Kind?!” I whispered quickly.
“Kind was Mr. Love’s second wife. After that incident of Mr. Love almost killing a man with his walking cane, Pride asked for a divorce. She thought it was healthier for Mr. Love to be away from her, and safer too. She claimed that Mr. Love was becoming insane with his emotions. Well, she made a right decision. Many of us wanted her out of the neighbourhood. So they parted ways. Then after about two years he met Kind. She was a short, curvy lady. She was her own kind of beautiful and she worked as a social worker at the children’s home. Nonetheless, no one stopped comparing her to Pride. How more beautiful she was, more classy, more elegant bla bla bla…” Grandma explained.
“She was from down-town. A very simple lady with a great heart unlike the town princess; Pride. Plus Mr. Love was way more handsome to suit her beauty. So everyone now thought Lady Pride suited him better. Nonetheless, Mr. Love had his own kind of attachment to her too. You know, they all forget how smart, intelligent and soft-hearted Kind was. AND, she was able to mend back Mr. Love’s relations with the community.” Mum said.
“So why did he break her heart?” I lower my neck closer to them and whisper again.
“Because his heart was already broken by Pride…Once your heart is broken dear, you can only patch your holes with rags but never to be fixed again. You can never be whole again.” Grandma said, shaking her head sadly.
“Still doesn’t justify what he did to her mummy!”
“What did he do to her?”
“He left her. Just one day he woke up and told Kind that he can’t live with her anymore, that his heart was too damaged, that he couldn’t totally love her like she deserves to be loved. He then asked her to leave before he was back from his morning walk.” Mum explained.
“But you previously said he was already getting attached to her! why would he do such a terrible thing to an angel like Kind?!”
“Well…no one can ever tell. Some say he liked her too much it made him afraid she would leave him too like Pride did. Some say he still loved Pride. Some say he was still hurting from his past…the theories are many…”
“I say, it all has to do with the inferiority complex he suffers from his blindness. Perhaps he believes he doesn’t deserve all that affection so he doubts all those that love him. I feel sorry for him. He is just a lonely man…” Grandma says.
“There he is!” I say as I climb on the coach to look out of the window. There he is; Mr. Love with his walking cane, head bowed down, his cheeks swollen. “Just one of his gloomy days,” I sigh.
Mum follows me to the window, stares at him for a moment before saying, “That poor disturbed man really needs divined intervention.” She sighs too and I sigh again, this time louder than before, “Oh poor Mr. Love!”