Immediately following the split I was in shock. The indignity of being dumped after sticking with Deluded Dick compounded the heartbreak. And boy was I broken. I mean who does that? I had to be scrapped off the floor. With a chisel.
Anyway, there were a few things that kept me breathing during those early months. Some of which I now realise had been keeping me afloat during the marriage and some I now realise had been missing from my life for a long time. Today I’ll tell you about the power of music.
Music has always been a huge part of me. It punctuates key moments in my life. Lots of us have our own soundtrack that we turn to when we want to reconnect with the past. I can recall Madonna’s Holiday, songs from films such as Flash Dance’s I’m a Maniac and Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5. I was a Material Girl running and leaping into the air, dancing in my living room wild with joy even though I knew nothing of working a 9-5 or welding on building sites.
And I can still hear in my head Thomas Mfumo, the Bhundu Boys and Yvonne Chaka Chaka making her African beer. Mvenge Mvenge was Zimbabwean tv’s top music show. It was a kind of love child conceived by Top of the Pops and MTV. Low definition videos were played and everyone watched it at the same time. Thinking about Zimbabwe’s music and tv makes me in turn recall the heady days of post independence. When summer holidays away from East London would stretch long and hazily into the distance. Mountains, heavy and green, and rocks illogically balanced filled a horizon that seemed to surround us no matter how fast my uncle’s white Nissan moved over the tarmac. We would cross from city to city. Perhaps going from Harare to Gweru. Consuming miles with a hunger. As a child distance meant nothing. Even time was pushed aside in favour of day and night: bright light and starry darkness. As long as the supply of cool, sweet bottles of Fanta did not run out those long journeys felt like a marvel. It seems sometimes that my own life has run parallel to the rocky youth and adolescence of that nation. I was always looking back to those easy days. Could transport myself back in an instant even when the reality of the present was far from that nostalgic past. But even in adversity there is always hope and tomorrow and so my soundtrack played and I was alive with memory. Alive enough to face another day, another night, another trauma with Deluded Dick.
What did this girl of the 80s do in the 90s as a teenager? What did she play on Spotify when DD was threatening to evict her and her children from the family home while he fucked off with his fat pay check? I’ll tell you all tomorrow.