I -Spotlight on.
II -Geez, no need to singe my hair!
I -Cameras rolling. Lie detector operational. All right. Spill the beans.
II – Which beans are you talking about? Did you give me a pan of beans?
I – Listen kiddo, we don’t have time for any of your antics. As you can see, there’s a whole line of people in the self-denial lane who need to get through.
I – Well…
II -[More silence].
I- Ok that’s it, head on out.
I – Did you say something?
II – [Deep sigh.] Castles.
I – Excuse me?
II – Castles
I- Go On…
II – Castles in the air. That’s what I built. Many of them, with tall arches, high towers, expansive walls, the works. All was fine and dandy, but in all the jubilation, I forgot one thing. The bricks in the walls. Bit by bit, the winds chipped away at them. And over time, well, it looked more like ruins than a majestic castle.
I – So after your “castle” lay in ruins, what did you do?
II – Exactly what any smart monarch does.
I – …
II – I built more castles. I mean, that’s what we’ve been told to do, right?
“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, and try again.”
I – [Raised eyebrow]
II – So I kept a-hammering, a-shoveling, and a-plastering.
Sometimes I improved on the design, other times, I totally blotched it up.
But what nobody told me was that I’d have to go back to the drawing board for each new castle I planned to build.
I – [Thinking: Here we go again, another long tale.]
II – See, although I had the mortar and design ready to go, I no longer had the vision.
Come to think of it, I lost that when the first castle fell to its demise.
Instead of stopping to re-evaluate, I groped blindly in the dark
Wood, nails, plaster, whatever tools I could lay hands on to “finally get it right”
But who was I kidding? Without that essential element, my effort was all in vain
Planks laying haphazardly, bags of cement exploding into a puff of smoke
And beneath it all, the rush to finish up before the next breach
And boy, were there many breaches
Knights in shining armor, learned court jesters, kings and beggars, princes and noble old men
Heck, I even had an alien of sorts pass on through
I- [Raised eyebrow]
II- Don’t give me that look, he was…interesting.
II – And so it went, day-in day-out,
Build, destroy, and try again
Until one day, the ‘strange one’ arrived
I – Strange One?
II – Yes, strange one. He was a queer fellow of sorts.
I – Oh.
II – [Realization hits.] No not like that! Castles, knights…we talking old English here.
I – Ah Ok
II – And for the first time, there was no breach.
I – [Impressed Look] You finally got the security system right.
II – Quite the contrary. The system was virtually non-existent, there was no need for his forces to even try.
I – So…
II – So that’s why I’m here. Going back to the drawing board
Putting the vision into play. Taking the necessary time.
I – I see.
II – So…
I – So?
II – Aren’t you gonna do your psycho-analysis mumbo-jumbo?
I – Nope.
II – No?
I – No psycho-analysis. I will say one thing though.
II – ?
I -Whatever took you so long to head on back home?
II – [Exasperated Air] Have you been listening to me at all? I don’t know…maybe the prospect of…
I – I know, I know. Castles in the air.
II – Exactly.
© 2009 Jemila Abdulai
Jemila Abdulai is the creative director, editor and founder of the award-winning website Circumspecte.com. A media and international development professional and economist by training, she combines her business, communications and project management expertise with her strong passion for Africa. Besides writing and reading, she enjoys travel, global cuisine, movies, and good design.