Kayama. I realized how jaded I had become, speaking of her. Now, I would show them the photo album, the red one. Curated. It told the chronicle almost ideally. The face blessed with an unreal pulchritude had turned hideous. They found Kayama on Munare road again.
These days, I found solace staring at the sun, the brilliant luminance, impressed at the power to give the short term impairment. I would gaze back at the troubling actuality but now with a spot, blocking a portion of sight. I was not sure if it changed a bit of my obvious discomposure but the seconds of blindness looked promising, reminding me that life could be much more difficult.
I listened to the ambient songs and honestly, the nostalgic presence made me feel worse but I was unceasing.
It had been a month since Kayama went missing and now that she was found, I was not sure about giving in to the premature gaiety, I knew she was not going to stay for long. I knew she would go back and I was the only one that dared to know this.
Her mother, the good devil, had locked her in that room. That cold empty space, before she ran away.
I was impatient, I needed to understand the awkwardness, the lies and the reason.
Kayama found out she was with child on her eighteenth birthday, she asked me if she should tell him, Takano, and I was mute. Kayama asking for my advice and me succumbing was a colourful waste of cherished syllables and pronounced exclamations.
Sometimes I visualized it, termites dancing and feasting on her cerebrum like foreign sweet wood. How could anyone be so stupid?
A few years ago, when we first saw our red monsters, our mothers had lectured us on the infamous virginity with its worthy exaltation and primitive expectations, almost as if it had a chance at destroying the old man, Lucifer.
We told ourselves we were not going to hope until the honeymoon, not after what we extensively saw on the television at Setili’s house. Both of us, cringing with confused excitement like seeing a dog lay a golden egg. I was not sure what was going on as I watched the undressed actors on the screen but I remembered my forehand ‘beating’, beating fast, as if my heart had just found a route up there. We were curious, we wanted to try everything and we were not going to waste life all in the disdained name of the rewards of patience. Kayama was the first to taste the bittersweet water and I was still, surprisingly, the patient one.
That night of her birthday, my skinny fingers were on her belly. The idea of her being a home to another human being was scarier than scientific.
I could tell she was scared. We slept hoping that the rain would stop, the room felt too cold to exist, and on cold nights like this I was fond of having comical dreams.
On that night, I woke up biting my nails and even though I was bleeding now, I could not stop eating deep into my finger flesh.
I dreamt a Midget fed Kayama and I cold ‘pap’ with this tiny grubby spoon that looked devilish but interestingly enchanted. He looked at us almost as if he created us, like he knew us better than we knew ourselves, and the way we fed on this cold ‘pap’ as if we had not eaten in weeks.
I woke up hungry, finding my nails as the closest meal, I decided to indulge myself. As I enjoyed my fast meal, I soaked myself in thoughts of how scared I was that Kayama was pregnant. By this time, I had not realized I had put my life on hold for her, my friend, Kayama.
I laid back down on the bed, staring at her beautiful face.
When she woke up, I knew I had to say something but I did not know what. Kayama was quick to anger and I was not sure if it was better to use my mouth or wire my jaw.
“Kayama, you know you do not deserve this”
She looked at me and smiled, I remembered smiling back but it was not intentional, I wanted to frown, I wanted a face to show the exact degree of my seriousness but it was too contagious, her smile was just too contagious.
“I do not deserve love? Ariya?” Kayama jokingly said as she held open the door for me to leave the bedroom to the kitchen with her.
“I am not worth love, right?” she continued.
“This is not love; it can never be love. You are so young; he has lived his life. There is too much to see, and so much to hold on to. Do not do this, this is not love Kayama”.
“There is no definite definition of love, love is what we want it to be. I do not expect you to understand me, Ariya. You have always seen the love everyone else sees, I see a different kind of love” she replied me furiously.
One thing was unclear. Takano was an amazement to me and he always would be, how he injected such unworthy lies into my dear Kayama was an information I could not fix into time and space. I was disgusted.
How could she stay in so much pain and interpret it as paradise?
Kayama always told me his face was spellbinding, she always described his words with a smell, she said his words smelt like the “Alpha Aromatics’ candles her mother had.
Takano’s supposed masculinity was getting the best of him and also getting the best for him. I felt his height and defensive physique was deceiving him to an unreal extent. I hated him.
The first time a woman kissed me, I was too young to remember what I must have felt. I pictured myself embraced, wrapped in her arms. She, staring into my Innocent form of femininity as I looked at her face. I imagined she looked at me with so much love, forgetting all the months of discomfort I must have given to her. I imagined my mother told me “I Love you” and my big brown eyes looking up to her, reciprocating.
I was not sure what it was, but her death took something from me, something I have forbidden myself to ever get back, I felt it was better this way.
Somehow, I had grown to love the pain her death granted me. I did not understand how tears could be so sugary, sweet, sweet as sleep. How could pain and pity be so addictive?
When she left, my father renamed me after her, Ariya. He said whenever he looked at me, he saw her. I was his conciliation that she actually never left him, that she kept her promise never to let go of him. His eyes had permanently changed colour, somewhere between swallow red and royal purple, and I do not know if I was just seeing things, but his eyes became beautifully white every time he looked at me. He loved her, and because of this, he loved me just as much.
The first time I kissed Kayama, her saliva tasted like a faultless mixture of coconut juice and something between chicken sauce or plain salt.
The adrenaline, passing though me like the speed of light. I refused to let go of her, her arms were sweaty and for some strange reason, I loved it. I was proud. I loved how the ceiling fan was silent for the first time, that way I could concentrate, scrutinizing our bodies, our transparencies. I felt like thrusting her to the bed, but I was not sure if she would want that, I had come so far and I did not want this to end.
I held her hands up to my chest, and that was when she pushed me away. I remembered sitting on the bed thinking about what I had just done. The unexplainable spasm had left me looking like a mad woman, mumbling in fear.
Honestly, my thoughts were irrelevant, I was a living sin and I knew this.
What if she told my father? our father.
When Kayama and I first met, we were only so little. The world was our bouncing castle, blessed with an unlimited supply of happiness and fairy thoughts at the time, a supply we did not subscribe to but somehow we came to find out that someone had already done us this regrettable favour.
I soaked myself in bright colours, hoping that conditions were permanent but fools would be fools and I was just one of them.
My father decided to get married again, and I was somewhere between happy and uninterested. He was an old man. An old man. A bloody old man!
He told me his new wife was coming over to our house, I was excited, when Kayama’s mother walked in, I was not.
Smiling frantically at the good devil, I did not know which, to die or not to die. I walked out, returning with a rag, cleaning the chairs my father had asked me to clean a week ago.
At the time, I was not concerned about Kayama being my sister, I was not concerned about sharing my room with the girl I had disturbing feelings for. I did not think about my lectured abnormality.
The wedding was bigger than I expected. That morning, I held the dressing hanger like a weapon. Kayama was wearing the black shoes I loved, the one I got for her the last time I visited Germany. I started regretting gifting it to her, I imagined how beautiful it would have looked on my feet. She was not fond of sharing and I was not fond of asking.
I watched her from the vanity mirror, her prepossessing fair skin, glittering in her self-absorption, I could not help but smile at her. She had told me the night before how Takno had ‘handled’ her, and she was so excited to sing this piercing song to me. I stood up from the dressing mirror, unsatisfied with my makeup I had retouched for the millionth time, staring at Kayama’s perfect skills, I watched as she rubbed the makeup brushes softly on her skin, causing my animation.
She combed her hair seductively, I suspected she did it deliberately. Her phone rang, she excused herself and when she left the room somehow I saw myself sniffing her hand towel, I loved how she smelt. She ran back to the room.
“Ariya!Fast!, Father wants us now!”
Standing up reluctantly, I tried to shift focus from the angry person about to surface to something else, anything else. Everyone seemed so happy, but I was not, and I honestly could not show what exactly was the problem. There were problems, many of them, but I could not identify one and this was the greatest problem.
As I sat on the church bench, I thought of Takano. Takano was the first man Kayama knew, he raped her, and somehow this led to ‘love’. I wanted to hold a knife against his groin, I imagined I was Kayama and how I would have loved to slice a piece of his life. The church was not the fitting space to own such thoughts but I could not let the wedding in. It was too much pressure.
I watched my father take his vows, I captured the happiness and somehow it temporarily locked the anger I was dancing with. I suddenly remembered I had not eaten that morning and I got hungry at that moment. I stood up to move outside, convincing myself I might find something to eat around somewhere. Kayama pulled me back.
“Blood” she whispered, “Blood on your dress”
I sat back down, moving my tongue fast around my teeth before placing my newly polished nails into my mouth, biting my acrylics like a flesh eating monster. What a shame.
I wondered how many people had seen the blood within the seconds. Arguing with myself on why and if it had to come so early, and suddenly I became unbothered. Who cares anyways?
The wedding day was a curse, my curse; the end had happened for me at their beginning. I seemed to be the only face with a witch’s smirk, unreal and panicked. Kayama held my hands, she did not need to talk before I understood her. Holding my hands was an apology, an apology for the pick and drop into her reality, the reality of the good devil. My new reality.
The sitting room had false nails on the floor with an inhabitable odour that made me feel like I was about to invent a way to leave my body and return back when the stench was gone. Morning devotion now had four members and I seemed to be the only one inside myself. Kayama was pregnant. I wanted to tell my father but what it made her tell him about us, about the night I kissed her.
Kayama left the house early that morning, I knew she was going to Takano’s house. I placed her wrist watch on the dining table, she had forgotten it, and time was something Kayama was not going to leave behind. As I predicted, she came back for it, I sat on the sofa, drinking cold tea and nodding to Angelique Kidjo’s ‘Wombo lombo’, the radio presenter had decided to bless us that morning.
I noticed she was crying. Takano! he hit her again, he could not respect this Saturday morning. She could not let me see her face and I did not want her to know I had seen her, I was not going to talk about them again, I would leave her to understand her.
I decided to wait until night before I ask her what happened, she as not going to tell me now and I was not going to waste my time. I stood up, taking the radio with me but returning it shortly because, apparently, Madam good devil was listening to it.
Night came, I had waited so impatiently. I took a hot shower, which I sometimes symbolized as a cleanse from bad energy, I felt the hotter the water, the greater the cleanse. I came out of the shower, thanking God from the too narrow an escape from burning my skin.
I wore my rose gold night gown, I remembered, it was the rose gold night gown. I laid on the bed happy, happy to hear the new story of the day.
I switched on the red light and waited. I slept off.
My father never loved Sunday Service, his hedonist ideology contradicted everything the preacher had to say and we all suffered for this. He only started attending the church sometimes because my stepmother made him, and he made sure she suffered for it.
I dressed up faster than usual, Kayama had the heavy makeup perfectly constructed on her face.
“What happened yesterday? Did you tell him?”
“Yes” she replied plainly
“What did he say?”
“What do you want him to say?”
I was angry, I wanted to hear more and her unyielding surface was irritating my privileged existence. I turned to leave the room.
“Takano might not be the father”
I froze. A fly flew round my head distracting me from what froze me, making me jump and as just when I thought it was gone, it made back it’s way, into my eyes. My father walked inside the room.
“Kayama, I need you to help me today, you are not going to church”
He walked out with a pink face, I knew something was wrong, I was curious.
I walked out of the bedroom shortly after he had left, I did not say a word to Kayama, I did not say a word to myself. I planned to discuss, with facts, when I got to church.
I sat beside my stepmother, she was shouting at the driver. I looked at his face and I was proud that he had mastered the art of not caring anymore. My lectures about the good devil was finally chiseling its way into his head. I smiled at myself, licking my dry lips and chopping off the flaky dead cells on it.
My Bible, it was my bible.
I had forgotten it on the bed so I went to get it.
I took my bible, blowing off a week’s dust off it. I went into my father’s room for a reason I still do not know to this day.
Kayama and my father, our father, naked. Exchanging their bodies aggressively, I watched as the sweat rolled down his face, falling on Kayama’s breast.
When they both saw me, I walked away calmly. Entering the car as if nothing had happened, my step mother’s voice was so loud but it did not have its usual effect on me. I ignored her, I went to church and I prayed. I prayed to my mother,not God.
My father left us, he was too ashamed to live with it. I had move in with a relative, a relative I did not know until recently, but that was not my problem. They said Kayama was always running away from where her mother locked her up in a room most times, she would run away only to be found futile on the road side. They said her face was filled with scars now, more than I remembered.
I ate my apple, looking at the sun, I struggled between either giving my hair or my thoughts the attention they rightfully both needed.
They found her on Munare road again. Her face had changed, people said she looked nothing like before, I was curious but not curious enough to want to see her. People said she was still pretty for a mad woman. My dead mother had answered me precisely and I was more than grateful.