Chapter Nineteen

Creative Writing, Story

“Hello, my name is Professor Richard, I am covering for Professor McCormick, he is not in today. We are going to go straight into the lesson, we don’t have enough time to cover everything, if you have any questions keep them for the end of the class, and I will answer them then. If I catch you talking you are ought to leave the hall, I don’t give chances here. Am I understood?” There were grunts and sounds as reply. “I am going to start on prepping you for an upcoming paper that will count to 15% of your grade. You are to write 1,000 to 1,500 words essay on a close textual analysis of one short poetry or prose passage – you will be given a selection of passages to choose from.” As he continued explaining the assignment, I heard a vibration from my phone, I opened the text message in the group chat and I made a sound resembling a laugh, and whispery murmured a response. “Hey, you, excuse me. Why are you talking? Did I ask for you to talk?” I brought my head up to see who he directed the question to, to have his eyes on me, regarding me with an unimpressive look. “Why are you talking? Did I allow you to speak? Come to the front of the room,” he demanded, his voice getting higher with each word he spoke. I felt my heart drop, the anxiety crawling through my body, my throat all dried up, my mouth unmovable, and I watched him, he was serious. “Come on down now, I don’t have time,” he uttered callously.


I didn’t allow my body to think, I just did, not looking at anyone, but at the brown carpeted floor, which was pristine and clean, not a molecule of material was out of place. Once I reached him, I turned around, “now repeat after me.” I could hear the snickers coming from the seats, the sweat glands working as the nerves amplified. “I should be listening to Professor Richard, I am talking when I shouldn’t,” I repeated the words, watching the people in front of me, at the facial expressions, the ringing laughter exploding inside my ears, taking me back to when I was 15 years old, and people laughing at me. The faces changing to younger faces, college becoming secondary school, the auditorium hall turning into a medium sized classroom. “I’m sorry for wasting your time, I am not going to do that again,” he said, and I repeated. I glimpsed at the top row, his mouth moving and his eyes on me. I’m such an embarrassment. “Now go back to your seat, this is what happens when you don’t listen. I’ll do it again if I catch any of you talking over me or talking at all.”


I went back to my seat, crestfallen at what just happened, my lips quivering, my body hot and sweaty. When I’ve went back to my seat, I got my headphones from my backpack and put them in my ears, blasting music in an attempt to forget, to become invisible, and to escape from the past and the present. I could feel eyes drilling holes in my back, but I didn’t see, waiting for the hours to pass. Just like that, one more changed everything. I could hear a deep voice over the sounds from the music.


“You shouldn’t have done that, that shouldn’t have happened. You shouldn’t have-,” I could hear the voice, it was like a faraway white noise. Someone went down, I could see from my peripheral view that it was a Versace backpack and a beanie, I knew it was Ricardo, the door slammed as he departed the room. The friction of the doors clinked against each other, reverberated across the room. The scene repeated itself through my brain, between today and two years ago. As if nothing has changed, as if I never moved on from it. Ironically, I was the last person to leave the lecture hall, my eyes blurry as tears fell, my hands unsteady as the waves of emotions unfurled through me.


“I’m sorry. I went too far,” the teacher said, sounding apologetic.


I laughed instinctively, what else do I do? “Don’t worry about it, it has nothing to do with you. I’m just thinking about the past is all,” I ran down the stairs, seeing people from the class hanging around the corridor.


“I’m sorry if it seemed like we were laughing at you. We weren’t, we were laughing at him, he was so unfair. Are you okay?” The girl said, I smiled weakly unable to reply, feeling the tears coming again. I briskly walked to the nearest toilets, feeling the strong presence as I passed. Once I found the ladies room, I rushed to the cubicle thankful that the toilets were empty. I slid down the metal door and let the river flow, my body shook in sync with the dam, my mind replaying scenarios from the past to the present, the room, and the people. The tears stopped to continue all over again, “so stupid,” I whispered, feeling the thin toilet paper completely soaked through. I don’t know how long I stayed in the toilets, it felt like forever, the whimpers and gasps not stopping as they heave with the tears.
I found myself thinking about Ricardo seeing me like that, he wasn’t laughing even from a distance. I could see the empathetic expression masking his face, at his non-judgement and felt his protectiveness even from far away. His mouth was moving from where I was, as if he was whispering words to himself as his eyes stayed locked on my face. At how he left the room, after saying, “that shouldn’t have happened.” He saw, he can’t like me now, how can he like a girl like me? She is a walking joke, a humiliation, this only happened to me, he didn’t do it with anyone else, I was an example. Once the tears dried down, I left the cubicle. I grimaced when I saw my reflection, the state my face was in. My eyes were red, glossy, my face was botched and pinkie red, and awfully puffy. My eyes stung when I touched it, my skin too sensitive and soft. I washed my hands and placed them beneath the dryer and left, not acknowledging the other girl that was in the toilets. As I left the toilets, my eyes landed on the dark, familiar, twinkly orbs, he was quiet, watchful, and observant. He leaned against the wall opposite the toilets, no words were said, only eyes looking at each other. His hands were on his pockets, his face emotionless but his eyes were flashing emotions as quickly as they came. He defended me, again, he didn’t have to, but he did. He was the only one who spoke out and against, he left the room because of it, and for the first time he didn’t care about being seen or having the attention on him.


“You waited?” I started, my voice hoarse and dry, he nodded his head, his eyes still studying me. “Why?” I asked, he shrugged his shoulders. “I’m okay,” I whispered, the words were for me than it was for him. I couldn’t detect the emotions his face expressed as he came towards me.


“He shouldn’t have done that,” he murmured as he closed into my personal space. He stood in front of me, for a moment, I arched my neck to meet his eyes, his eyes were soft and vulnerable, gently caressing my face.

“Thank you,” I uttered, my voice quiet in my ears.

“No more saying thank you, Kalina. I’m sorry that happened to you, are you okay?” I shrugged my shoulders, my lips quivering again, my eyes stung as the tears gathered for another round. As soon as one tear dropped, a soft and warm padded thumb make contact with my face, wiping away the teardrop, and then another trickled, and the river glided down again. His fingers caught each tear and didn’t let up until they stopped, his hands ended up cupping my face, and my face was inches away from his, my breath shallow and restless, his and my breath were delicately mingling with each other. “I’m sorry Kalina, forgive me,” he whispered, and I knew it wasn’t about today.


“I’m sorry too, I missed you,” I expressed, my body felt too weak to find strength and too vulnerable to be strong.


“I missed you too. Kalina… wait for me.”


“I’ll wait,” I uttered, my head rested against his chest, and the rhythm of his heartbeat was alleviating the pain like a cooling balm. His arms wrapped around my body, his chin leaned on the top of my head and his hold gradually tightened their grip, and my body craved more of his touch. He was safe and everything was okay with him here.

End of chapter

I wanted to share a drafted chapter. If you’ve reached the end, thank you for reading it means a lot.

The 17 year-old-boy that changed my life

Chapter Twenty

Creative Writing, Story

It was quiet whilst Lena was taking notes, the couch was soft and fluffy on my back, as the white walls stared back at me. There was a crack near the light fixture if you look closely, and marks of imperfect paint and lumps on the ceiling. The sirens blared loudly, and the honks were furious beneath the 15th floor. “Have you had any more dreams?” Lena asked in a calming tone, I felt her eyes on me – neutral and open; careful and perceptive. It was quiet as I took my time answering the question. My heart hurt and burned, that was the one familiar feeling my body has accustomed to the thoughts to. It could be a fleeting memory, an imagination, an object, people, a lyric from a song, a storyline of a film, a line from a book, a street, to the moon and the stars.

No words could illustrate the photogravure of a hurting heart, “Lena, you know it,” I voiced, not wanting to say anything.

“Kalina… it’ll soothe the pain. Don’t block it, don’t deny it, don’t bury it, or keep it to yourself. It’ll only hurt you even more, when you don’t speak, acknowledge or are aware of the emotional turmoil within you. It’ll create a sensation somewhere inside your body and spread around your body, the pain-body growing more and more, consuming, painful, and unbearable to the point of the pain being the only thing you know. The living pain is the only thing you’ll be familiar with, you’ll create an identity with it, form a story of yourself with it, and it’ll thrive in your mind, body, and soul.”

“I can’t do it, Lena,” I expressed, my voice breaking with the heightened gushes of emotions.

Lena brought her chair closer to me but still maintained a distance, “come on, you can do it. Take your time,” this was a routine exchange. She knew. She knew everything. “Was it worse than your past dreams?”

I nodded my head, a tear slid down my face, and dampened my hair. I got up when the feelings became too heavy, shaking my body and wriggling my arms to steer the focus from the intense feelings.

I closed my eyes, the dream coming like a flashback, revisiting me like a camera’s broken film, my mouth opened, and the words were relieved. “I was walking alone in the street, heading for the promenade. We spoke earlier and I was excited because I was going to see him again, this time about the future and make plans of what we were going to do. There was still daylight streaming through the air as the sun was setting behind the Statue of Liberty and the concreted building lights came to life. I saw the mother with a stroller, a woman in all black running and two dogs barking at each other as they were passing by. Then the chilled busyness died down, and there was one person every other hour, but it wasn’t him. I waited, I messaged and sighed as my body shivered from the late evening breeze. I checked my phone, but there was nothing. There was no one in the promenade now, it was quiet, creepy quiet and the buzz was dying down. My phone pinged with a message, and it was from him.” My sinus was congested as tears poured down from the mere memory. I breathed in and out, following Lena’s mouth, her mouth was opening and narrowing, and the body tucked in and then out. I followed the body, inhaling and exhaling, my heartbeat pumping quick, my body hot, and tears not calming down.

“What happened, Kalina? What happened at the end?” Lena urged, her chair edged closer to me, and her hand was over mine in a comforting gesture.

“I was falling from the building where they ran art workshops. blood was everywhere, and I couldn’t move. I felt the liquid, I felt the blood coming from my back, I realised it was mine. It was coming from my body.” The tears stopped somewhere between me speaking again to the last word spoken, the dull ache kept my heart alive. “I saw him on a billboard in a New York street yesterday. He made it,” I smiled, my eyes were wet, my heart was in flames, and yet my mouth was smiling, my body released pheromones of pride. Somewhere amongst the pain and suffering, there was pure happiness reserved just for him. “He did it,” I faintly whispered, more for myself than Lena.

Lena watched me closely, I didn’t realise when her chair was further away from me and back to the designated place in her office, “have you indulged?” She said quietly.

I shook my head, ashamed of myself, I was weak and had no self-control. “I did, I did indulge. I heard he’s a talented man,” I said, releasing a laugh.

“How does it make you feel?”

“It makes me feel at peace, safe. I could feel his presence,” I whispered.

“Have you done anything else?” She asked, her eyes not showing anything and her face relaxed and inexpressive.

“No, nothing else,” I lied. “You look prettier today, you did something different,” I said, seeing her usual dark-haired sleeked back bun, formal attire of blazer, blouse, and straight trousers. Her dark skin was more bronzed than usual and her jewellery was kept to minimal. “Have you been anywhere tropical? Your skin tone is more tanned.”

“Kalina, stop diverting,” she reprimanded, a smile shadowing her face.

“Just tell me,” I insisted, needing a diversion.

“Yes, I went on a holiday. Happy?” She returned.

“Ooohhh where did you go?” I asked.

“Kalina,” she warned, eyeing me sternly.

“What?”

“You’re diverting. We can talk after the hour had finished. Right now, we are here to talk about you, so…” she paused.

  •  

My phone pinged with Micah’s text, “we’re here, let me know when you are on the way!”I texted back with a “will do.” I hailed a cab after the fifth raised hand, they pulled the car into the curb, and I went behind the back. I told him the address and he nodded. I conversed with him along the way. He was a 64-year-old Indian Punjabi man from Queens who immigrated from India 30 years ago. “Where are you originally from? Your accent is different,” he questioned, his twang was distinct, mixed with an American-Punjabi accent.

“I come from the United Kingdom, I used to live in London and that was 10 years ago,” I replied, finding our conversation to be an exchange like a family relative.

“Oh, that’s nice. I have family in Luton.”

“That is close to London, have you been to any other cities?”

He shook his head upwards, watching sideways for any approaching cars. “I’ve been to Birmingham, and London, they both have a big Punjabi-Indian community, especially in places like Handsworth and Southall.”

“That’s very true, there is a big South Asian community in the U.K.” The conversation continued with his family, my family, his life, and my life in New York.

“You can be legal here through marriage,” he said once our talks went to citizenship and immigration.

“No uncle, no marriage, maybe through education. I just finished my last internship in the New York Times.”

“That’s good, I’m happy you chose education over marriage. I am glad you said that.”

“Me too,” the exchange of conversation between us was so incredibly fulfilling and wholesome, I have never met an elderly South Asian person who I was able to have an hour’s worth of conversation with and so easily too.

“Thank you so much uncle ji. How do you say bye in Punjabi?” I asked, my cheeks hurting from smiling too much.

“Sas ri akaal or phir milenge,” he smiled.

“Sas ri akaal uncle ji, thank you and stay safe uncle ji.” I said, waving goodbye as I walk around the car.

“Thank you, sas ri ‘kaal,” he returned, raising his hand as a bye.

I went inside the building, through the sparse crowd, through the familiar doors to the corridor, having memorised the direction from years of spending most of my life here. Once I made a turn, I heard an ‘aye’, the grin formed itself from the knowledge of who it was. I shook my head when I saw his wide grin along with the two other perky smiles. “Ayee,” he started again, “she has made it,” he said, his arms raised up and I walked into them as I embrace my lifelong friend.

“I told you I’ll make it on time,” I returned, my grin widened when I saw Aphrodite, Alejandro was right behind her. I moved from Micah to greet Alejandro and Aphrodite, feeling myself get giddy. “How are you?” I squealed to Aphrodite, “how is the baby? My sweet Ava,” I asked, looking at both Alejandro and Aphrodite for the question. Alejandro wrapped an arm around Aphrodite’s shoulder, bringing her closer to him, “she’s okay. She’s with my mama. Sleep is non-existent, it is a miracle at this point,” Alejandro said as he gazed at Aphrodite, she nodded her head in agreement, looking as though she’ll fall asleep now with her eyes drooping.

“You know, you can give her to me for the night, I’m auntie Kalina for a reason,” I said.

“Want to take her the next weekend? It’ll be nice to spend time with Ale alone,” she said, “what do you think?” She pointed the question toward Alejandro.

“Yes, you can,” he voiced instantly.

“I can take her, it’ll be a pleasure to take her, it’ll be my honour,” I spoke for extra measure.

“Done,” they returned in unison.

“Kali, you are next in the line-up, are you ready?” Micah rushed, bridging himself between me and Aphrodite.

I exhaled, “I’m ready,” I replied, “wish me luck,” I exasperated at the group.

“See you on the other side, Kali,” Aphrodite cheered as she and Alejandro make their way to be with the crowd. I held my gaze on Micah, remembering Lena’s breathing exercise she made me do as homework.

“Are you ready, Kali?” Micah said again, his eyes watching me carefully. I nodded my head as the nerves dissipated, walking behind him towards the black curtains. My nerves leapt as the crowd cheered, as the roars boomed higher, my anxiety spiking up at the sound. “You’ll be okay Kali, the stage is yours, and the people are your community, they are here to celebrate you,” Micah encouraged.

Once the act before me came backstage, the presenter went out, the crowd going crazy like the beating of my heart. I slowly walked forward when I heard my name being called out. My heart was pounding in my ears, my body was heating up, and my clothes began to stick to my skin. The stage curtains transformed into seas of people applauding and cheering, my heart not letting up. I cleared my throat, twiddling my fingers on the microphone. I placed my papers on the stand, I took a moment of looking out, watching for the familiar people in the crowd. Aphrodite raised her hand in a wave, Alejandro showed a simple smile, and Micah gave his thumbs up. I bowed down to see the words I had written, rubbing my fingers over the slightly crumpled paper. “This piece of writing is Talking to the Moon; I hope you like it,” and I started.

 “The clouds cocooned the bright moon; she was lustrous like a fluorescent light illuminating against the darkness. Stars sprinkled amongst the sky, flickering their celestial galaxies. The ocean was luminescent from the burning glow of the moonlight, the ocean created waves as they hit the shore, and the coolness washed over my sand pillowed feet. My heart full, my soul sound, enveloped within Earth’s nature. The crisp air clinched onto my skin, and the waves were moving in sync with the gentle gust of the wind. The silence was comforting, the tranquil sounds of crashing waves stirred my soul, feeling lightheaded and hazy, from the peace of my heaven.

I brought my knees against my chest and wrapped my arms around my body with the wind blowing my hair away from my face. A small smile danced around my lips, gazing up at the moon, and the moon emitted brightly away from the clouds, whispering sweet, sweet gratitude to the moon and the celestial orbs. “Nobody really knows what it is yet, we do feel it. We don’t know what it means yet, but we do seek it. We crave it. When we have it in front of us, we don’t see it. We yearn for love, regretting the missed opportunities and fearful for the future potential. Unclear about what the future holds; hoping, wishing, and wanting,” I said absent-mindedly, as the clouds circled the moon. The glow intensified almost as if my words were being heard. “We don’t know what love is still, we yearn for it. The pangs of longing sharpened within the chambers of the heart. I miss him. He isn’t listening. Can you see him? The thoughts of him filled my head. The stars can see him too huh. We don’t know what love is and yet, we yearn for it. Creating imaginations in our heads and being disappointed by our delusions. He doesn’t want me, wants me to wait for him.” I paused, gathering my thoughts. I looked up at the one star that was shimmering more deeply than the others.

The ocean ricocheted in rhythm with the stinging sensation unfurling within my chest. “Waiting. The highs of your hopes and lows of your dreadful thoughts of insecurities and uncertainties. You are the sacrificial lamb, who has to wait until it is convenient for them to want you. Waiting is like the tones of sadness prolonging, not knowing when the next storm surges. I miss him, he isn’t listening. Can you see him?” I questioned quietly, my nose tickling from the cold. “Waiting for someone is like willingly pausing your life, at an impasse. Waiting for them to come back and press play for your life to resume again, from when they were in your life. It’s not his fault, I suppose. I have chosen to wait because these hopeless feelings never falter. Feelings another crazy notion,” I murmured, my voice muffled from the notes of the fierce ocean. “Feelings… feelings… the unfamiliar sensations trickling through your veins, pulsing once it reaches your heart. The vessels of the heart pumped, thrashed against your chest and bloomed. It came alive once your eyes reach for the person that it desires. Galaxies intertwining and rejoicing from your reunion. Feelings are simple, delicate human experiences however, they can be paralysing and complicating when your being isn’t nourished. The foreign vibrations made you feel unhinged, crazy, and out of control. The Universe laughed at our despair but, soothed us with unconditional kindness of our blessings that are yet to come,” I ended. My fingers played with the sand. The moon rose higher, and the gleaming light glistened. The chaos was quiet as the being savoured Earth’s gifts. “I miss him,” I said, lightly. One lone tear travelled down my face, fading away into the sand. Staying still as the breeze tenderly touched my skin. My eyes closed, and my body was lax; a deep presence within me. I invited his energy, a soul presence that never left my heart, the comfort and security enwreathed my body, and gripped my heart. The moon was hidden behind the clouds, that one flickering star gone. The fallen, shooting star.

“He is listening,” whispered the Universe.”

Chapter Twelve

Blog, Creative Writing

“Yesterday, me and Ricardo spent the day together,” I whispered to Micah.

“You did huh?” his voice devoid of emotions, watching me intently, “was he good to you?” he let out, after moments of silence.

“Mhmm, he was. He sat next to me in English Lit, we started having conversations and mini debates. He asked me if I wanted to eat out with him so, we did that with a lot of talking. He took me to the Edge afterwards to see the views of Manhattan, we had a moment,” I lightly said, my body warmed up and my stomach butterflied at the moment me and Ricardo shared, still feeling his fingers and hands on mine.

“You did huh?” he repeated, “what happened?” he asked, wriggling his eyebrows.

“Nothing crazy, we just held hands,” the giggly kind of laugh came out of me, shaking my head at the mess I was becoming over a boy.

“Awe,” he teased, moving his mouth to imitate a kiss.

“Oh, shut up,” I returned, pushing his shoulder. “He took me to the Brooklyn Heights Promenade to see the city lights afterwards, and dropped me off home,” I whispered, smiling at the remembrance, concluding that he is cute and my feelings for him are growing faster than anticipated.

“So, it was a date?” Micah smirked, “I knew what was up the moment you asked about him. Girl, did I know it,” he gloated, puffing his chest out, laughing at my expense. “As long as you’re good, then I’m good. Anytime it gets messy, shout me okay. Relationships and love are a whole ‘nother game ball, and fate can get twisted. Anytime you feel hurt, call me, text me, or come to my place, or you say the word and I’m coming to yours, okay? Don’t suffer alone,” he murmured. 

“You have experience with all this?” I asked, wondering where his train of thoughts came from.

“I do, with past relationships I have been in and seen how messed up people around me can get after a break-up, it’s not nice and doesn’t feel nice to see. You need people in your corner, always. So yeah, Kali, just letting you know, if ever anything happens you have me,” he shrugged, his eyes looking around the street, taking in the sun over the tall trees, my butt hurting from sitting on the stoops.

“Thank you, Micah and my butt is hurting, can we go back inside please and finish off the project?”

“Damn, forgot about that.”

“Yeah right, you’ve been avoiding it the whole time since you came here.”

Anemone Symbol - Flower Symbol

It was the third week of being part of the community, Aphrodite asked when I’ll be sharing with the community, the nerves creeped up at the idea of performing in front of people, I nonchalantly shrugged my shoulders “soon, maybe.” Aphrodite rehearsed her spoken word piece in front of the three of us, in our usual spot outside the gallery. Alejandro perceived her with lovey dove eyes, Micah’s eyes were closed as he listened to her work and I watched her rehearse, venerating the way she effortlessly put words together and was so confident in herself, smiling at her when she finished. “It’s powerful. Aphrodite. You’re gonna leave the crowd a mess,” I hyped.

“That’s the plan, Kali,” she squealed, her eyes beaming with joy. Aphrodite walked into Alejandro’s arms, her head leaning into his chest as he muttered in her ear. At that moment, I turned my head and I saw Ricardo with his usual hoodie, walking down the sidewalk leisurely, a mind of its own. He worn a jumper, which shaped his broad shoulders, his jeans fitted snugly against his legs, his head came up, his mouth forming a small smile.

“Hey, I started.

“Hey, are you okay?”

“I’m okay, I am with my friends, I saw you coming, and I wanted to say hey. Are you okay?”

“I’m good, Kalina.”

“Are you going to perform today?”

“Not today, I want to watch. Sometimes, it is nice to be away from home.”

“I get that, the stage is gonna miss you tonight.”

“That’s okay, it’ll understand that people need time to rest,” he replied, his grin widening, stretching his face.

“Want to hang out with me and my friends, or alone, or together?” I whispered, stammering over my words.

“Maybe, I can say ‘sup to your friends, I don’t mind. You busy afterwards?”

“No, not doing anything, usually after being with the community, I go home.”

“You got a curfew?”

“No, not really. As long as I am updating my Ma, I’m fine.”

“Any of your friend performing today?”

“Yes, Aphrodite, she was rehearsing in the group just before I saw you. I think she is in the third of the line-up today.”

“Oh, that’s cool, would you want to get a slice of pizza after her performance?” he slowly uttered, his eyes intently on me.

“Sure,” I said, making sure to not be quick with my response and keeping a cool collected face even though, my body was in a frenzy inside. We walked side by side towards the group, Micah was already looking at us, his eyes speculative towards us, the anxious feeling befriending me at the thought of eyes on me.

“Hey guys, this is Rico, we met each other in one of our classes in college, I figured he was part of the community when I saw him perform the first day I came to the event and then I saw him again in English Lit.” I said, tumbling over my words.

Micah started first with his staple grin, “sup Rico, I saw you around the community, your music is tight, Kalina did mention you here and there too,” he said, his eyes drifting to me. Alejandro came towards us with Aphrodite behind him, his hand falling on top of Micah’s shoulder, and then stretched his arm forward to shake Ricardo’s hand.

“Rico your actual name or stage name?” Alejandro asked.

“Ricardo is my name, I heard you last week, your joint is cool,” Ricardo complimented, bobbing his head with his words.

“Thanks bro, yours is too, you performing today?”

“No, will be chilling today, want to be part of the community. You are Aphrodite, right? You’re pretty cool too, it’s dope what you’re doing and how you are using your artistry.”

“Hey Ricardo, thanks, I appreciate it. Your stuff has a lot of heat too, you’re talented and I am glad you’re sharing it with us. Nice to finally meet you,” Aphrodite smiled, quirking an eyebrow at me when he wasn’t looking.

“Thanks, appreciate it,” Ricardo returned, his face smiling too, feeling happy that the introduction went smoothly and that they seemed to like each other.

“Alright, let’s go in. It’s about to start,” Micah began, already headed towards the entrance door, we all followed suit, me and Ricardo behind them.

“They seemed to like you,” I whispered to Ricardo, admiring his features, especially the eyes that are on me now.

“I like them too.”

“That’s cool, do you have any friends or anyone you talk to here?”

“Yeah, his name is Timba and he makes reggae beats, we started talking about music and seemed to connect. Most of my friends are from high school, they make music too and some in college. I’m not really a people talker, nor do I like socialising, I like being alone,” he explained.

“I get that, I knew Micah from school, I met the rest of them through him when Micah invited me here.”

“You seem to get along?” he posed as a question.

“We do, feel like I am part of the group, I’ve never been part of a group before or had real friends, it’s my first time being around genuine people, I know in my heart that they are my good friends especially, Micah. He already feels like family.”

“You never had genuine friends before?”

“No, the friends from school, were only friends with me because of convenience and would use me, I stopped talking to them when I left.”

“There’s a reason why they’re not in your life anymore. It’s good you found yourself a trio.”

“Me too,” I ended, throughout the community event, we were standing next to each other, his hand around me at the times I was pushed, thanking him in response. Micah smiled at me, his head shaking, when Ricardo wasn’t with me.

Micah shouted over the music “there is more than what you’re letting on, the energy crazy around you two and the way he looks at you woy. He seems like a good dude. You doing anything afterwards?” Micah questioned as if he knows already.

“He asked me if I want to get a slice of pizza with him, we’ll be going after Aphrodite’s set so, we’re not out too late.” I responded.

“Alright, that’s how it is. Be careful sis, text me when you’re at home, let me know how it goes.”

The lights dropped low, the presenter came onto the stage, the crowd screamed back at him. Micah was quiet beside me, turning my head at Ricardo to catch him staring at me. He dipped his head closer to me, my breath becoming shallow with quickness. “You’re beautiful,” he whispered, shivering when his breath crossed my skin, my eyes watering, one tear dropped down my cheek, too late to catch it and hide it, bowing my head down a little from his curious eyes. “I’m sorry if I did something wrong, it felt right to say at that moment.”

“No, no,” I abruptly said, halting his thoughts “nobody said that to me,” I admitted, my eyes blurring from the unshed tears.

“You’re beautiful, Kalina” he repeated, his eyes fixed on mine, running his eyes softly over my face, a gentle smile tugged his mouth, returning his eyes on me. “You’re beautiful,” he affirmed, my heart pumped harder, my breath became heavier, and my legs felt like jell o by his words, and at the way his eyes seemed to believe his words. I tiptoed to meet his face, I pecked him, holding my mouth for a few seconds on his smooth skin, the butterflies overworking and my heart warming, the bravery dying down, when I came in face with his eyes. The dark orbs glittered like milky ways from the bright lights, the dimples on his cheeks dented and enhanced his face, finding it hard to look elsewhere, not wanting our bubble to plop.

I could hear Aphrodite’s voice on stage, her passionate voice travelling through the ends of the room, the silence from the crowd added fuel to the intensity sifting from Ricardo and me. I moved my head to the front, the need to shift my focus on Aphrodite was important. “I gotta support Aphrodite,” I said, reasoning my change in attention.

“That’s fine,” he responded, I watched her performance, admiring her tenacity, strength and confidence. She was meant to be on that stage, for people to listen to her words, and take in her presence. I praised and applauded as loud as I can once she finished, and then said bye to Micah.

“Text me okay. Let me know when you get home, see you tomorrow,” Micah said when I informed him that I’m leaving, his eyes kind and knowing. He gave me a brief hug and shook hands with Ricardo, I waved at him as I walked forward, trying to follow Ricardo out the floor. I pushed past the people in the crowd, my eyes became cloudy from the claustrophobic atmosphere, my heart working harder to bring in oxygen, feeling arms around me, pushing me through the rows of people.

“Almost there, stay with me, you’ll be okay,” Ricardo urged, he encased me with his arms, letting out a breath once I felt the whoosh of air on my skin. “I thought you were going to faint on me,” Ricardo chuckled, staying close to me “are you okay?”

“I’m okay, thank you,” I murmured, closing my eyes, feeling the oxygen come in and out of me, grateful for the cool breeze. “Where are you taking us Ricardo?”

“Don’t know, let’s see where we go,” he chuckled, watching me from his side with a smile.

“You have a nice smile,” I complimented, my face warming and hopelessly smiling at my courage.

“Weirdo,” he threw back.

“What!” I exclaimed in defence. “It’s true, it makes you look nicer,” he shook his head, letting out a raspy laugh.

“You’re pretty too, you’re beautiful and you don’t even know it,” he whispered, staring at my eyes like he wanted to see through my soul. I didn’t say anything in response, I stared back at him, the words he shared with me felt foreign to my ears and my soul. I didn’t believe him, I couldn’t, those words weren’t what befriended me for half a decade. Those words were seeking to replenish the evils that had hurt me, that I carried with me.

“Beautiful is an intense and a deep word, Ricardo. You shouldn’t throw it around to anyone,” I finally said, meaning those words.

“You’re funny, never have been ashamed of yourself, you’re you. That is beautiful, a soul resembling beauty,” he murmured, talking to me seriously, trying to draw out the lies and buttery words. But his eyes displayed earnest along with his face and mouth.

“Thank you,” I responded, moving my head forward before he could see the prickling tears. We took the steps down the subway, hopping onto it, and sat in silence, I embraced the comforting and peaceful silence, I embraced the inflaming intensity that constantly ebbed between us, making it insufferable, I embraced the energy that he brought out of me and the sensations that he awakened that I had never felt before. I took in a sharp breath, when I felt cool fingers taking strands of hair and placing it around the back of my ear, my eyes closed unconsciously at the fiery blaze he provoked from his fingertips. Turned to look at him, wordlessly watching him, my eyes wondering over his face, from his eyes, down his nose, to his lips and back up his eyes.

“There was a strand of hair stuck in your eyelash, I’m sorry if I scared you.”

“You didn’t. You make me feel safe,” I voiced, the words true and honest as my feelings for him, I trusted him. He replied to the words with his own caress to my face, a small smile curved his cheeks, he truly was a beautiful boy. What did he want with me? He didn’t want me, so why was he here? He didn’t like me. Why me when he could have anyone? The insecurities made an appearance, paralysing my mind, thoughts, and emotions. ‘Ugly, Kalina is ugly, he is playing with me,” my mind shouted, bringing the past and slewing insecurities into the mix. “You playing with me Ricardo? What you getting out of this?” my words lashed out harsher than intended, regretting saying those words because his eyes were penetrating. He succumbed me like a weakling who had no power over her body, mind  and soul.

“I don’t have no vicious motive, there’s nothing for me here. That doesn’t matter because I’m here anyways, wanting to spend my time with you, there is no game for me to play, Kalina. This is already getting me fucked up because I never planned for any of this. Who hurt you?” he said, without a drop of emotions.

“Nobody, nobody hurt me,” I said defensively, intentionally lying, he never needed to find out, he didn’t need to know the words that were mercilessly breached into me. He stood up, therefore I stood up, following cluelessly behind him. Hearing shouts and screams from the top of the subway, bowing my head down, all of a sudden feeling tired, my eyes on his Jordan’s, the only way I know that it was him and that I was behind him. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said that, everyone has their own darkness they are dealing with, I guess I do too,” I muttered.

“Don’t worry about it, I know you are trying to protect yourself, I know,” he reassured, his eyes matching his mouth. We walked through Midtown Manhattan, the lights hypnotising and making me feel alive.

“Ricardo.”

“Hmm.”

“I like you.”

“I like you too,” he smiled, his eyes were sparkling like stars, the lights illuminated his melanated skin like the moonlight.

This will be the last Chapter I will be posting until I finish the story. It is so tempting to post all of it but it’s not the right move. I hope you enjoyed the five chapters that have been posted and I hope to see you again soon. Kind Regards, Konijja

Chapter Ten

Blog, Creative Writing

He changed his hoodie to a beanie, his beauty stark and enhanced by the small difference. I watched him as he went up, feeling the mesmerised pull, wanting to get closer. But then my heart stopped, my body warmed up and my heart thudded crazily against my chest. He pulled the desk upwards and sat down, his clean scent travelled to my nose, my eyes were on him the whole time, swirling in a whirlwind of emotions in my head. “Hey.”

“Hey.”

“Hey.”

“Hey,” he laughed, his smile drifted to my heart, warming the chambers and pumping blood through the body. “Is that how it’s always going to be?”

“I don’t know, can I ask why you are sitting next to me?” I asked, remembering what he said the last time, and the memory of using him as an anchor to find light too fresh in my mind.

“I don’t know, my body led me here. I was walking up but then I saw you, I think I was drawn to you,” he absentmindedly whispered, his eyes guarded and regarding me with an expression that seemed like he couldn’t figure me out.

“Interesting,” I commented, familiar with his dilemma.

“Yeah, are you okay?” He questioned, at that moment my voice decided to get stuck on my throat, my mind still trying to figure out how of all days he had chosen to sit beside me and ask if I’m okay was when I had a mental, emotional breakdown and used him to escape not too long ago. What kind of voodoo telepathic shit was going on?

“I’m okay,” I finally answered, “are you okay?”

“I’m good,” and that was the end of our conversation since Professor McCormick rushed into the auditorium, greeting us whilst he set himself up.

“Sorry for being late, traffic in this city surprises me every day, still getting used to it,” he chuckled, eliciting a light laughter from the most of us.

“At least you are here now,” a student said.

“That’s right, at least I am here,” he heaved, starting up his laptop and putting up the PowerPoint for today.

“I like him,” I whispered to Ricardo, I looked over his face, his aura putting me in a trance, finding it hard to pull away.

“I like him too,” he repeated, laughing at his response, now the both of us are sharing a laugh.

“You gonna repeat everything I say?” I shot back the words he threw at me earlier.

“Yeah,” he deadpanned, his face feigned seriousness but his eyes deceived him as the dark orbs were twinkling with humour. There was ease and comfort in his presence, his eyes kind and yet guarded, most importantly, he made me feel safe and secure in his space despite the handful of times we had saw and spoken to each other. We worked together throughout the lesson, savouring the feel of being in his presence, the feelings of intensity flamed between us, becoming harder to contain every time our eyes met.

Hopeless laughter fallen from my lips when he became engrossed in his beliefs and conceptual ideas, his eyebrows quirked up whenever I disagreed with his perspective. The current topic was society, “you can’t change my belief on this society being man-made, I don’t believe in it,” I said.

“We need a society to moralise us, and guide us through this life. You know a switch? Why do you plug your phone in the switch? Because that’s the norm, that’s how you’re meant to be charging your phone and using electrical devices,” he returned with passion, answering his own questions, his eyes widening, his face playful, wearing a smirk on his face, Ricardo was convinced that he is right.

“Just because we do it doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do. We are conditioned to do things and this society is obsessed with values that doesn’t make any sense, that are limiting to our human bodies and minds. They have obsessions with identities and labels, just because they exist doesn’t mean it’s right, it can be restrictive and controlling. The whole system is used to control us, conditions us to a way of life that is unnatural whilst making us work to sustain an organisation that keeps us divided and disorganised. Divide and conquer is still a belief that they weaponise you know?” Using all of my competitive nature to win this heated discussion. “It’s okay to be wrong sometimes,” I muttered teasingly, observing his face and sneaking a smile.

“I’m gonna get you back.”

“I’ll be waiting,” I relished in this moment of simply talking, having a light-hearted debate. His eyes on my face made me feel giddy, there was something unfurling between us, it was too intense to hide or ignore. The growing feelings filled up my soul, wanting more of him. I know I am walking in a dangerous path that has too many uncertainties that will lead to me getting hurt, but at this moment as we are exchanging smiles and glances of eyes, the energised connection and our conversations became something more, it felt worth it, whatever was happening between us was real. I know it.

“Alright class, you can go. See you on Wednesday, stay safe and have a good day,” Professor McCormick shouted.

“I know you feel it,” I whispered as we walked out the class. Ricardo waited for me to go through the door he held open, his eyes were silently watching me, his hands holding the door wide open, “thank you,” I say at last. The foreign emotions heightened at his chivalry, I never had someone hold the door open for me.

“It doesn’t matter nothing can happen, too much is going on with my life. I’m not where I want to be in my life, please try to understand,” he said, his voice almost pleading.

“You don’t want me,” I murmured, the insecurities buried inside me slithering up.

“It’s not that easy, Kalina. Life isn’t always straight-forward, there are things I need to straighten out, I need to focus on my music, I want to make it in life. I’m not where I want to be, I can’t like you because I’m not ready for someone like you,” he slowly uttered, his voice asserting conviction as if he has been thinking about this for a long time. His hands disappeared inside his jean pockets, the beanie on his head framed his strong features, enchanting his jawline, nose, and mouth.

Not ready to take any of it in, I shake it off, “can we at least talk, nothing needs to happen but we can still talk right?” I asked, anticipating his answer. He didn’t say anything, he nodded his head, tearing his eyes away from me. I ignored the insecurities and devastating words from the past trying to inch up.

 “What are you doing now?” He suddenly said.

“Nothing.”

“Would you want to get a bite?”

“Sure,” we strolled side by side, the silence was comfortable. Even with the chilled breeze the sun was shining in the sky, brightening the streets, the colour of the trees was rich green, beautifying the pathway. I admired the city’s natural elements of the rustling trees, the honking and skidding vehicles as they wait in the long strings of traffic. NYU students and New Yorkers talked amongst each other, some walked alone, some with groups of people, the smell of various cultural food wafted through the air. “Where are we going?” I asked, watching him to already find his eyes on me.

“You try tacos?” He asked.

“No, I haven’t, I haven’t had a chance to explore food and restaurants in London.”

“It’s a Mexican and Caribbean food place, one of the best spots for tacos in Manhattan,” he said, distracted by his side profile, taking a glimpse of his beauty and slants that endowed his face.

“Are you Jamaican?” I questioned, scared I may get it wrong but I’m sure that I’m right.

“I am, how did you know?”

“United Kingdom have predominant Jamaican population, I grew up around them,” I said, relieved that I was right.

“That’s cool, I am aware. Many of my family went to U.K, many of them live in Birmingham and London, the ancestry before us moved around 1950s, after World War Two. Britain brought vast amount of Caribbean folks, mainly Jamaicans to do work for them, to build their economy, they were part of the Windrush era. My parents chose to come here rather than going to the U.K.”

“Wow. I always wondered why my grandfather chose to settle there after working as a labourer in British ships during colonial Singapore,” the questions and thoughts kept nagging at me, wanting answers but finding none, simply trying to justify his reasons at the time. “I came up with the answer that Bangladesh was unliveable with famine, war and devastation and living in Britain was a safer option, especially more so because he was a British citizen since he was a labourer, working on the ships in Singapore, for the British empire.”

“I can see that, racial disparity and diaspora is always a challenging aspect of history and life to navigate and adding slavery, colonialism, and imperialism. The British empire is disgusting and it should be acknowledged. That’s why we can relate and connect with each other in some way despite our differences. Communities for our people are fundamental, essential part of life, community is a way of life,” he expressed.

“I can see that,” imitating his earlier words, both of us laughing at our constant repetitive responses. “Community is important, our people only had each other, we always have been for the people. Even when we are living in an individualistic society, in a space where we need to make something of ourselves, fighting for our dreams, we always come back to the people, paying them back and taking care of them. Community is our ancestry and, in our blood,” I muttered seriously. He simply nodded, his eyes regarding me with his twinkly, celestial eyes, feeling his stare on the seat of my stomach.

Waiter came to get our order, giggling as I realised, we hadn’t been looking down at the menu because of our conversations, wincing at my unusual behaviour. Ricardo said some food options to the waiter, taking the time to observe him, the urge to sink into his presence was onerous. “For Kalina, can I get the shrimp tacos with mango salsa and fried plantains, beef patties and fried dumplings please,” he listed, looking at me “you want a drink? What drink do you want?”

“I’ll have a coke please,” I requested towards the waiter, Ricardo repeated the drink order to the waiter and ending it with a thank you. Both of us shared a smile, falling back into our conversations, “what are your dreams, Ricardo?” I asked, wanting to know everything about him.

“I want people to listen to my music, being an artist, a musician is all I know, only thing I want to do. I want to buy a nicer home for my family, to leave my neighbourhood and give my little sister a life I didn’t have,” he responded solemnly, his eyes avoided me, his hands played with the napkins on the table.

“That’s a nice dream,” I simply said, hating the logical side of me, who understood why he didn’t want me. Nonetheless my heart tugged at my chest, the sensation not lessened it’s clenching on my heart at the thought of him not wanting me. He had a face of conflict when his eyes were on me.

“Not everyone is fortunate to be born rich and with money, most of us have to work for it and sometimes we don’t even get much.”

“My father lived in a two-bedroom house with his parents in Bangladesh, my mother married him, and he came to United Kingdom with nothing. My  mother grew up in one house with three other families in Birmingham. She didn’t finish her education, she stopped after secondary school, she had my eldest brother after a year of marriage and all followed through, I’m the youngest in my family. Most of my siblings are spread out, my eldest brother still lives in London, he already has a life there, so he didn’t come with us, my second eldest brother is currently in Tokyo pursuing engineering, and my sisters are mostly working so basically, I’m like an only child. My father worked two jobs whilst getting his degree in business and economics, he went into real estate, tearing down redundant businesses and put them together and sold them at a higher price to companies to invest in. He worked for a company that are located in London, New York and Singapore, he had worked most of his life to get here so, I understand Ricardo. You’ll get there, you’ll achieve all things you want, okay?” I said confident in his ability, he blew me away the first time I saw him perform, he has enough passion and fire to get what he wants, throughout the conversation. A soft hum streamed tenderly to my heart, the acceptance of him not wanting me whirred, making peace with it.

Ricardo   

I watched her with wonder and confusion, how did she accept it so easily? Waiting for her to switch up on me. But as I study her sweet, sweet face, I know her words were as real as her aura. I didn’t know why I had chosen to sit beside her in class, something heavy has been wearing my body down from the moment I had woken up, I couldn’t shake it and then I walked towards her as if it was meant to be. Not expecting the excitement, I would feel of sharing a space with her. Every conversation tugged me to her like a hypnotising bell ringing and the only direction to go from here was forward, towards her, I didn’t want her to leave. Maybe it was selfish of me to ask her to hang out with me when I didn’t want anything happening between us but, I couldn’t help it as if I had no control of my heart and mind.

Watching her honest eyes paired with a mouth filled with understanding and truth, I felt compelled to think about her and me in the future, the visions coming to life and rushing through me, driving the emotions I felt for her. Her smile on my face, viewed me with pride and adoration as she watched me on the stage, seeing her with my family, spoiling my little sister, having a loving relationship with my mother, her coming to the studios to see me, her eyes on me when I’m recording on the booth, the smile on my face getting bigger as I spot her with my friends. I imagined her and I alone in our own home, she was wearing my clothes, laying back in our bed and laughing, her ear on my heart as I sing to her. Living life with her, creating life with her and until we’re grey and old. I could see it as I sit opposite her, her smile gentle on me, her eyes caressing my face and her chest going up and down evenly with her steady breath. What do I feel for you? I wondered to myself, imprinting her face on my mind, to my memory. The way her eyes see me, her mouth called out my name, her body relaxed and at ease around me, the way I feel being around her, “have you explored New York yet?” I asked her when we finished eating, paying for both of us which she protested against and gave me a stink face, opening up her own purse and pushing twenty-five dollars to my face, kept talking about paying me back and not accepting it. There will be a day where I can buy her all the things she wants, but now I could only afford to pay for her food when she’s with me, and that is exactly what I’m going to do.

“I’ve been to Chinatown, Greenwich Village, east Harlem, through the Brooklyn Bridge and Jackson Heights, Queens,” she said, our arms touching from time to time when we strolled down the sidewalk.

“Okay, I have an idea of where I am going to be taking you,” I said.

“Where are you taking me?” she returned.

“Don’t worry, you’ll find out when you see it but for now, it is a surprise,” satisfied with her pouted mouth, and scrunched up face, making me laugh as a result.

Her voice released a gasp, her eyes widened, her mouth shaped like an ‘o’, looking back at me in shock. “Ricardo,” she whispered, liking the way she said my name, the gentleness of her soft voice saying my name was addictive. “I heard of this place, they say you can see the whole of Manhattan at the top of the building, is that where we are going?” She squealed, enjoying her goofy and loopy excitement, it made her even more cute, finding it hard to grasp the overflowing emotions that are surfacing because of her.

“Yes,” I said, too distracted by her enthusiastic facial expressions, stepping into the building. I guided her to the elevator, tapping the button of the elevator, taking us to the floor that will show us the city view. “I would come here as often as I can, or I’ll sit on the Brooklyn Heights promenade, the views of the skyscrapers make me feel infinite, extraordinary as if I mattered, as if I am valued and needed in this world,” I lightly muttered, finding myself relaxing in her presence.

“I felt that way when me and my parents drove through the Brooklyn Bridge, the sight of Manhattan made me feel as if I’m bigger than life,” she murmured, waiting for the elevator to reach our floor. The ding indicated that we are here, waiting for her to go first, I followed after her, slowly observing and assessing her facial expressions and body.

“Oh my God,” she gasped, her breath coming out shorter, her body still as she watched the view, captivated by her form, finding it hard to keep my eyes off of her, her aura and being leaving me dazed, sweeping me closer to her. The sun was out, shining radiantly in the sky, overseeing the city but I watched her face, my heart clamped as the sun glistened graciously and delicately over her skin, her brown complexion festooning a golden hue, flattering her already natural beauty. I can’t have you now, I can’t do it, I don’t deserve it, Ricardo can’t want Kalina, I’m not worthy of her, and yet it didn’t stop me from stepping into her space. I returned her confused gaze with my heated one, reaching for her hand, feeling the soft skin of her fingers, curious if all of her felt this way. I caressed the arch of her pinkie finger, and then intertwined her fingers with mine, welding our fingers together and making us become one, her fingers fitted smoothly with mine. Her breath flittered over my face, taking in this moment, embracing her innate reaction to my proximity, of her fingers stroking mine, of her looking down at our joined fingers and looking back up, her mouth giving me her sweet, sweet smile.

I’m excited to see where this story goes. I hope you liked it if you read it and I hope to see you soon. Kind Regards, Konijja

Chapter Nine

Blog, Creative Writing

Trigger Warning: Bullying

15th October 2013

The sounds of lockers clanked and slammed synchronously, holding my school shirt in front of me to hide my chest as I change to my sports uniform. I put on the oversized top over my head, hastily changing my school trousers to my sports one, and my school shoes to my sports trainers. I looked around me to see if anyone was staring, relieved to find nobodies eyes on me. Silently sitting down on the changing room benches and I waited for the sports teacher to come in to indicate the start of the lesson. “He cheated on me, I just found out before the lesson, I don’t know what to do with myself, it’s so embarrassing and hurtful,” a girl near me cried, sniffling and blowing her nose. She wasn’t loud nor was she whispering, she was loud enough where I was able to hear her from my seating position, a girl beside me snickering “shame,” as she laughed, her eyes somewhat gleeful about the girl’s current affairs with her boyfriend. Her friends circled around her, keeping her hidden from starving eyes and ears, muttering words of consolation “he was a prick anyways, he didn’t deserve you.”

“What a dickhead,” another passionately said.

“It’s okay, you got away, you’re lucky and now you know better. No boy is worth your tears Katie,” a girl muttered, placing her arm around her shoulder, the three of them feeding her words of positivity. At that moment the teacher came in with her whistle instructing us to go to the gym, following the crowd to the gym, the cool air prickling my skin. The girls in the class were in their own cliques, I didn’t speak to anyone in this class so, I walked towards the teacher and sat down near her, watching her look over the students, waiting for them to be silent so she can talk. I hate physical education with a passion, from the locker rooms, changing in front of the class even if they are minding their own business to actually participating in the class. I hate it all, surrounded by snarky girls who pass their times judging and putting down other girls, thinking they are above everyone.

“If anybody talks while I am talking, you’ll be staying after school for half an hour,” she strewed, her eyes razor focused on all of us. Miss Riley proceeded with telling us what we will be doing in class, conveniently at the same time the door creaked open with pool of boys from my year. My nerves went in an overdrive at the prospects of boys, having to deal with the magnitude of being around so many people who will surely see me make a fool of myself and pick on me like it’s their sport. To make matters worse, Miss Riley said that we will be doing trampolining, I didn’t look around me, I couldn’t, my body was immobilised, caving into my safe space, guarding myself from the atrocities another school day would bring. “Come on, go and stand around the trampoline, don’t talk,” she demanded, clapping her hands when people weren’t listening.

I stood up, keeping my face smooth with no lines and emotions and walked to the only free space “butters,” he said, my skin tingled from the unwanted attention, keeping my heart guarded. I turned towards the voice inherently, “ugly, you’re ugly,” he tantalised with contempt, demeaning me, his eyes dark and vicious. “Ugly, Kalina, look at you so butters, so ugly,” I didn’t react at this point, I was used to it, it was a visit I faced everyday but that didn’t stop the pinch in my heart and the tears surfacing. He called me words of savagery the moment he found out I had a crush on him, he was in my design technology class, his teacher called out “Zain,” as he did the register, he was talking to the boys in his table, glanced at me and smiled. It was a stupid crush and now the brutal words have been his greeting to me and his parting farewell whenever he saw me, he was still looking at me as I stood beside the trampoline, “ugly, so butters,” he disparaged, a boy beside him smacking his shoulder, snickering along with him. It was a pointless action to ignore him, hoping he would stop and leave me alone but it wasn’t working so, I did the thing that made sense. I took in the words targeted towards me and believed him, he has been repeating those words for four years, there will come a point where you believe words that are said to you even if they aren’t true. “Kalina so ugly.”

“I am ugly,” I believed, ignoring the looks from the girls, they heard and snickered along with him. I stepped on the stool, pushed my body up and over the trampoline, following the teacher’s instructions, jumping ten times, doing star jumps ten times and then brought my legs out as I landed on the bottom of the trampoline. The bounce pushed me up straight once I pulled my legs to a standing position, lifting me forward, I counted the minutes until class was over, dreading the next class, the next person, wanting this hell to be over.

Anemone Symbol - Flower Symbol

The blackened space encased me, drowned me “ugly, look at your long hair, your hair and skin so oily, your skin so dark. Ew, look at your face, your nose, eyes and mouth. Kalina is so ugly,” the laughs pulsated through my body, the dark space intensified the shrill words which are becoming louder and louder. The vociferous sounds pierced my ears, the sharp sensation heightened with the raging voices. I instantly got up, my breath harsh, ears wet, eyes sensitive, the tears rolled down my face, soaking my skin, rolling down my neck and moistened my clothes, my hair sweaty and wet from the hot tears. The trembled lips, heavy heart, and ringing headache not halting the echoing words of the past, too far gone to stop it. I curled my body into my chest, pulled my legs up and bridged my face between my knees, hopelessly covering my ears, shutting my eyes closed in a failed attempt to stop the words. The cries of my body and hurt too strong to quiet the voices quaking in my head. “Stop, please stop. Stop, please stop,” I pleaded my body to listen, my tears stopped, my body halted their rocking movements, silently taking in the screaming words, listening as they cause mayhem inside my head, desperately reaching for something, anything I can hold onto.

My eyes instinctively closed as an image merged through the chaos, calming my frantic heart. I see him, his eyes on me, his body close to mine, his presence making me feel safe, embracing his acceptance of me. The two dimples that dug into his cheek, one was deeper than the other, the calmness of the vision washed over me, and stilled the erratic energy. “Ricardo,” I breathed, replacing the darkness with the likeness of his being, waiting in the dark for morning to come and for another day to start.

From the story in writing progress: Celestial Light.

Chapter Three

Blog, Creative Writing

Standing in front of the mirror, I studied my clothes, hair, face, and body, the insecurities crawling up the longer I stare at myself. “You’re not pretty, Kalina, your bullies were right. Your hair is too oily and long, your skin is too brown, and you smell like shit. Your friends left you, look at you so crippled with anxiety, a disease that controls your every move, creating paranoia around you, from all the people judging and cursing you with negative intentions.” Letting the tears roll down my cheeks, the tear from the left eye wetted my lips, the first set of tears stained my face and the second set of tears streamed down my neck and teased me. The thick façade crumbled my exterior, rivered through my body and into my inner being, the voices echoing and thundering inside my ears. I rushed my hands to my ears blocking the screeching voices, the mascara scarred face reflecting back on me, laughing, and mocking me. Disgusted by myself, my reflection that is utterly worthless.

I closed my eyes, slowing my breath, allowing the tears to run down my face. My stomach turned in becoming in tune with my deeply inhaled breath, intentionally keeping it in for ten seconds, feeling the inside of my body vibrate and then exhaling the sadness. I inhaled, the anxiousness dissipating and I exhaled, the energy within me renewing, resigning the melancholic feelings. Inhaling and exhaling. Inhaling and exhaling. Inhaling and exhaling.

Opening my eyes, I stared back at myself in the mirror “I feel pretty,” I whispered to myself, the quiet words dying out the screaming of my worked-up mind. Hearing the ping on my phone, I reached for it “hey Kalina, I’m on my way to the gallery now. Let me know when you’re here. See you, Micah,” it said, I grabbed my things and speeded down the steps of the house.

“Ma, I’m heading out. I’ll text you when I’ll be back because I don’t know when the event finishes,” I shouted across the hallway.

“Don’t think you’re going to leave without giving me a kiss. I’m glad you’re going out so, I’m assuming that you have made a friend,” mother voiced, quirked her eyebrow, and slanted a small smile.

“I guess, you can call Micah a friend.”

“I’m happy for you. Stay safe and have fun but not too much fun okay. Use your common sense when you’re out, you’re new to the city and text me when you have reached and when you’re on the way home, I’ll be waiting,” mother sterned.

“Okay, Ma, I love you. Bye,” I shouted after kissing her on the cheek.

“See you later, my dear,” I took the subway to east Harlem, the sun was still out, gleaming and radiating heat through the windows that burnt my skin. I welcomed the heat from the sun, enjoying the lightness and happiness it brought to the streets. Stepping out the station, I walked to the gallery. I saw Micah with a male and a female, my stomach dropped from the unplanned interaction I will be doing, Micah turned around once I’ve reached the group, a smile curling his face.

“Hey, Kalina. What’s up? Let me introduce you to some of my friends – this is Alejandro, he is a musician, he’ll be playing and performing this evening, and this is Aphrodite, she is a poet, does spoken words and is a community activist. Guys, this is Kalina, she goes to NYU with me, studying English Lit,” he started, his eyes big and excited.

“Sup Kalina, cool meeting you,” Alejandro began, Aphrodite smiled at me with a wave, her expression was warm and welcoming. I relieved a small grin in return, somehow feeling comfortable within the group. The four of us went inside, the hall was already packed with people, Micah carried his arm over my shoulder, bringing me closer to him. The floor vibrated under my feet, the music ricocheted through the room, bouncing off the walls, already feeling overwhelmed, regretted saying yes to Micah’s persuasive words. I blindly followed Micah’s body, my head tilted down, trying to gain control of my beating heart and nerves, walking through a narrow hallway, the space between me and the loud crowd distinguishing, I brought my head up to see where we were. Alejandro and Aphrodite murmured amongst themselves whilst Micah and I were walking quietly side by side. Alejandro turned a corner which had now become a wide room, loitered with people. Some were talking in groups whilst, the others were seated silently with their heads down, on their phone, or leaning back with their eyes closed.

“Where are we?” I whispered.

“We’re in the back room with the people who are going to perform this evening,” he casually let out, making it seem like this was normal for him. Aphrodite called out Micah’s name, beckoning him to her and he responded with a nod, dragging me with him. Aphrodite grinned towards us, her gaze staying on me for a while.

“Kalina, I want you to meet the man of the hour, the one who brought the community together through art: Ezra Rashid. I’ve been coming here for a year, I met Micah and Alejandro through this community. Since I have started coming here a year ago, my art had become more refined, I have found the people I resonate with and found a space where I felt like I belonged, I became more confident with my art and myself and met incredible people who are part of the creative world because of the community that has been formed. It couldn’t have been possible without Uncle Ezra,” she let out, her form oozed with gratitude and respect. He returned her response with a ruffle of her hair, he released a laugh, his head going backwards and his eyes sparkling.

“I’m simply a person who had a dream to bring communities together.” He turned to me, regarding me with an intense gaze, I felt like I’m at the edge of crumbling under his orbs, wanting to say something crude in defence.

“Micah says that you are a writer, that you want to be a poet. I have a sister who is a writer and a wife who owns a publishing house, so you could say that I am familiar with the writers and publishing world. This is a great place to discover yourself, find like-minded people, and become inspired,” he voiced, softly. “Welcome to the family, Kalina. I hope you feel at home here.” I didn’t say anything in response, I nodded my head as a form of acknowledgement and averted my eyes in an attempt to lighten the brewing feelings inside me that he sparked by his words. “Alright, it’s going to start now. Micah, go and stand upstairs, you’ll get the best views from there,” Uncle Ezra advised.

“Yes sir, come on,” Micah began. He grabbed my arm and pulled me through the swarms of people crowding over the makeshift stage.

“Why exactly did you invite me here?” I said once we were upstairs, with a clear and centred view of the stage which overlooked the people.

“I wanted you to see yourself in others. We’re all similar than you think, everyone is fighting their own darkness, overcoming their darkness and found the channels of art to express themselves. I want you to know that you are not alone, and to feel a community here. Some of the realest, authentic and creative people I’ve ever met are from here, we created our own family and I want you to be a part of it, to feel the greatness of connection, belonging and humanity,” he earnestly expressed. “You ready to get inspired?”

The words whirred something deep inside the canvas of my soul, I didn’t know what it was, but the emotion that stood out was gratitude and an inkling of joy “thank you, Micah.”

“What are friends for?” he shrugged with a crooked grin.

The crowd cheered, I looked straight ahead to the front of the room, the stage lights highlighted Ezra’s form, his face smiling and his body open and expressive. “Welcome to Tranquillity, we have a great line-up for you today. Are we excited community?” Ezra roared out to the crowd. The cheers boundlessly ensued with whops and cheers, the buzz in the air was infectious. “Thank you so much community for continuously showing out, supporting, and loving those who share their art. I’m so grateful for the community we have built together as well as, the supportive and empowering energy you guys always come out with. The first performer is an activist, an intersectional womanist, and a poet with a few words to share about gentrification. Show her some love,” Ezra boomed. A small smile shaped my face, feeling the exhilarated energy exuberating from the crowd to me, feeling the contagious energy wanting to burst through the seams of my body from the responsive crowd.

“A country, that is home to immigrants, travellers, settlers, and dreamers.

The organisation that brought us to the land, giving us scraps of rights and freedom without the liberation. Without giving us compensation for the mental suffering they had caused the generations of families who were hurt and traumatised. To immigrants figuring their lives from the diaspora, disparity, racism losing their homeland to white supremacy, colonialism, imperialism, wars, and slavery. Taking our livelihood, pockets of dreams, hopes, and home with them.

Feeding it to the rich, whilst the poor scrape by, their bodies tired and old. Fighting to live for one more day. A system that is built to break us…”Aphrodite looked powerful, her dark skin bright under the lights, her body and movements exuding passion, her fluffy, kinky curls fanning over her face and body moving in rhythm with her words, her stance strong and straight, her passionate words reaching every corner and rugged edge of the room. The room silent as they drink in her words, my heart beaten in sync with her words, her words resonating with my soul. Micah was beside me listening quietly, his face was serious and regarding her with reverence as he took in her piece of art. Aphrodite bowed her head once she finished, the room shaking with cheers, screams of support, love, and encouragement, my hands were hurting from my hard-slapping claps.

It took a while for the presenter to calm the crowd after she left the stage, still feeling the corollaries of her art piece. Once they calmed down, the presenter introduced a musician to the stage, his face couldn’t be seen from where I was upstairs. His hoodie covered half of his upper face and the sunglasses hidden his eyes. As soon as the beat dropped, he began rapping, his rhymes and flows slick, clever and clean, he seemed to be in his own world, his body moved frantically with his voice, feeling his voice in the base of my stomach, entranced and mesmerised by his presence, his words and music. Curious at who he is, the curiosity burning under my skin, “you know who he is?” I questioned to Micah, who was bobbing his head to the music.

“No, I don’t. But I know that he has been coming here quite often recently, he usually keeps to himself though. Nobody really knows him since he is pretty much silent and doesn’t mingle with anyone. No-one knows his name either, he calls himself Rico.”

“Huh, interesting.”

“Why, you interested?” he smirked, a knowingness in his eyes.

“No, his music is cool though.”

“Yeah, it’s pretty sick. What the scene needs, real and naturally talented musicians are hard to find now.”

“Yeah,” I agreed, watching his body move with the music, admiring his sound.

Wanted to post a lighter chapter. I haven’t set out a concrete plan of how this is going, nor do I know how it is going. I have imaginations and stories in my head and simply going with the flow. If you see this, thank you for reading it. I appreciate it and it means a lot. I hope to see you again. Kind Regards, Konijja

Chapter One

Blog, Creative Writing

The lights were everywhere, flashes from the camera were blinding, gnawing at my face, “we’re close,” Micah said. He grasped my arm firmly with his hand, holding my body close. I leaned my head down, the long strands of hair cocooned my face, keeping my face hidden from the greedy, seedy cameras.

“I hate this,” I whispered already wanting out of this. I exhaled a breath once we’ve reached inside the hotel, calmness cascading through me. The anxiousness slowly seeped away, surrounded by throngs of people speaking loudly, huddling in circles with people they know. I looked around, staring blankly at the unfamiliarity, the agitation creeping up as I stare around me to be enveloped amongst strangers. “I hate this,” I repeated.

“I know you do. This is for the greater good. Once you’re not needed, once we have shown our appearance we’ll be gone, okay?” Micah said.

“Yes please,” I returned. For the first time, a small smile shaped my face since I showed up to this event. My skin crawled at the fake glamour, happiness, love, this farce game deluding us that we’re doing the greater good, that we’re part of something extraordinary, when we’re just money makers to them. Nothing is real about this world because everyone is dealing with their own form of darkness. The smiles revealed nothing but fakery, hidden behind their expensive clothes, jewellery and pinned up hairdos, shaping up a face of their suffering and toxicity.

“Come on, let’s find our seats,” he urged. He lightly pushed me forward, guiding my body with his hand on the small of my back to our table. I looked straight ahead, ignoring the greetings from strangers passing by, dismissing their offensiveness of being ignored. Nobody cares about your little feelings being hurt, why should I care when nobody cares about me? It takes two to tango, baby. “It’s no harm to say hello and how are you, you know. It doesn’t indicate any interest, nor does it open the idea of a friendship or acquaintance. I think they don’t bite,” Micah whispered as he pulled my chair out, waiting for me to be seated until he took his seat beside me in the circular table.

“It’s all fake. Doesn’t mean anything,” I let out. “Not like I see them on a regular basis, it’s small talk. Who likes small talk please? They don’t really care Micah.”

“Were you always such a pessimist, how are we friends?” he laughed.

“Because you love me,” I countered.

“And because you love me too,” he quipped, his eyes light and humorous, his expression warm and kind.

“Yeah, I do,” I shrugged, releasing a second smile of the evening.

“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, it is lovely to see all of you. Welcome to the Golden Gala event, thank you so much for taking the time to attend it. In this event, we raise money annually towards a charity that resonates with us. This year it is raising money for orphaned children who are left without a family. We will donate money to an orphanage that we believe truly serves in the right interest of the children and the children only. We will donate to Haven Orphanage. I would like to acknowledge the dedication and hard work of our talented volunteers, committees, and team, this event wouldn’t have been possible without them.” The audience erupted in cheers and claps, displaying thankfulness towards them. Mr. Malcome smiled and relieved a laugh in response, slowly indicating to the audience to be quiet so he could continue with his introductory speech. “Thank you again for attending the Golden Gala of 2020. I am certain you will be glad you did. Now, I will welcome the stage to Mrs. Simone Montgomery, the founder of Haven Orphanage.” The servers were working swiftly as they placed down the food and drinks on the tables, asking me if I needed anything, I responded with a ‘no’ and ‘thank you.’ Playing with my food as the hunger was non-existent. Micah openly helped himself to my food, shrugging his shoulders when I stared at him with a questionable look.

“We shouldn’t be wasting food,” he simply commented. Pushing my plate towards him, grateful that he has a big appetite to eat for two. I pushed my chair backwards, I get out of the hall, the toxicity within the atmosphere was too heavy on my chest, walking up the flights of stairs towards the rooftop, the more I walked up, the quieter the space between me and the loud people drowned out. Silence. I enjoyed silence, it’s simple, and quiet. There is only me and my company in silence, there is no other second person, chaos, ache, or complications. There is only me, me and aloneness is simple, easy, and painless. I let out a breath when I found it was only me in the rooftop, relieved to find it empty. I watched the burning lights illuminating brightly from the buildings as they floated with each other. The sky-scraping buildings varying in shapes, widths, lengths, creating infinity with the buildings which were luminescent and contrasted vividly from the dark sky.

Leaves that had fallen on the floor from the chilled breeze were crunching, the footsteps weren’t heavy nor light, rather sounded calculated and hesitant. Turning my head to the sound, to see a person, the figure stayed behind the shadow, but I knew from the build and form it was a male. “Who is it?” I let out, portraying a hint of annoyance, he never responded. The vellicate of my impatience was rising higher, more annoyed than unnerved, “do you understand English? I said who is it and what are you doing here?” I pressed. I kept my gaze on the figure that was hiding behind a dark shadow of the towering plants and flowers.

“It’s me,” he said, he came out of the bleak shadows. I recognised the voice even after years of not seeing him. My heart constricted against my chest and tears welled up in my eyes within seconds of seeing his face. The potty words disappeared and fallen short from my mouth, the silence between us was deafening. Heaviness of my sorrows pushed against my body, masking the intense sadness and devastation with my anger.

“What are you doing here? Why are you here?”

“I was invited to come here I didn’t know that you were here until I saw you come in. You’ve been avoiding me for years, I have been looking for you, but I couldn’t, until now. I want to talk to you. How are you?” he began as if we could continue like the old times.

“Fine, you don’t need to worry about me. There is no need to want to talk to me, there is no reason to talk. If you didn’t want to talk then, you don’t need to talk now. It’s okay, I’m okay, you seem okay, and that is great,” I expressed with sarcasm, trying to keep the sadness at bay but seeing his face, hearing his voice, being near him after so many years that passed, I didn’t know if I could control the emotions searing inside of me.

“I’m not okay, Kalina, I think about you since that day, I regret it every day and I’m sorry for everything.”

“You shouldn’t lie, Ricardo. Don’t you know lying is a sin? I should have known better, but I didn’t. I don’t want you here, it is what is it, and you’re forgiven, you can leave now,” I said, my heart hurt from all of this, my breath became shorter as the familiar anxiety arose beneath my skin.

“Come on, don’t be like that, what I said all those years ago was the truth, it is still the truth now. I have never lied to you, believe me, Kalina.”

“How dare you?” I started, tired of being civil, of being patient. The top of the sinus tickled as the tears have started to prickle my eyes, blurring my vision.

“Kalina, stop it. Stop trying to avoid me, please. I don’t want to run from this anymore, I don’t want to run away from you anymore, don’t run away from me.”

“Yes, yes, I can, and I will run away from you because I can, I want to, I need to. You’re not safe for me or my heart. You hurt me, you hurt me and you knew what you did would hurt me.”

“I thought I was protecting you. I didn’t mean to hurt you, I’m tired and I don’t want to run away from you anymore. I want you to talk to me.”

“Nothing to talk about here. What is done is done, I didn’t need you to protect me, I wanted your honesty and your truth. I put so much into you I didn’t have anything for myself at the end. You’ve hurt me, you knew I was hurting, and you did it anyways. Get away, go away from here,” my voice got higher with each octave, the relentless tears streamed down my face, my heart burning and squeezing, the pain becoming unbearable. Needing him out of here so he doesn’t see my resolve shatter “go away, get out of here,” I shouted into abyss, nobody here to save me from myself, from him. Beating at his chest, going crazy, wanting him to see me crazy to drive him away. Him being here opened my heart wide open, the pain fresh and my mind travelling back to time of me and him. Pounding my shaped fists against his chest “get out, I don’t want you here. You hurt me,” I cried.

“I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to, hurting you hurt me too. I’m so sorry,” he chanted, his hands covered my fisted hands, stopping their attacks on his chest.

“Get out of here,” I whispered. “You’re dangerous,” the tears streamed down my cheeks, through my neck, and wetting my chest. Frantic footsteps and harsh breath appeared in front of me. The intensity of my emotions consumed me, shaking me to the core. A devastated gasp released from my lips as the moment sunk in, my body dropped to the floor, Micah caught my body before it collapsed, the shrill cries turning into silent hiccups and wheezing. “Tell him to get away, Micah. Tell him to go away,” Micah sighed, his hands wrapped around me, whispering consoling words of validation and hope.

“Go on Ricardo,” Micah said quietly.

“I’m sorry Kalina, I’m sorry for everything,” he ended, his footsteps pelted the ground, echoing in my ears as he faded away into the darkness.

If you see this, I assume you have come to the end of the chapter. This is a new story, inspired by heavy feelings and an overactive mind. It is a longer version of a short story I had created called Celestial Light, and it felt like the right time to give depth and substance to the short story. Thank you for reading, I hope you liked it. This is one of many drafts and hope to see you again. Regards, Konijja.

The Date

Creative Writing, Romance

I woke up to the birds chirping harmoniously amongst each other, the blinding sun seeping through the windows. A smile was worn on my face and my body sang lightly, humming with anticipation of the day ahead. My phone pinged with a “good morning. I will be picking you up at 10” text from Ezra. I browsed through my closet, at a loss for what to wear that was light, comfortable, and sexy, deciding to pair a cream coloured bandeau top with a long red skirt, that had a slit stopping on top of my thigh along with, strappy brown sandals that are low heeled. My make-up was lightweight and skin-like, designing braided strands to sit on top of my head, creating soft wavy curls. They were accompanied with a plain silver bracelet, hooped earrings, diamond, chain styled armband, with simple, intricate stoned rings on my fingers and finishing it off with traditional anklets on both ankles. I felt proud of the look I had put together.

With five minutes to spare, I quickly store away my products and go downstairs to drink water in an attempt to calm down my nerves. The bell rang at the time 10:00 am, I walked down the corridor simultaneously, maintaining a controlled breathing pattern, and opened the door. He looked devilishly handsome even with, the simplicity of his clothing. His eyes were bright, and his golden pigmented skin glistened, glowing from the blazing, hot sun. I moved into his body for an embrace, circling my arms around his neck and resting my face on his shoulder, inhaling his clean scent. Ezra lifted me off the ground, tightening his hold on my body, he kissed my neck, murmuring, “I missed you” into my skin.

“I missed you too” I uttered, his body was sensational against mine. He put me down, and he reached for my mouth, kissing me languidly, deepening the kiss. I freed a moan from my lips as he snaked his tongue inside my mouth whilst, his hand squeezed my ass, smiling against my mouth.

He released my lips, and placed his forehead against mine, “hi,” he said.

“Hi”, I replied.

“You look beautiful, Luna” he whispered, his raspy voice heated my body, and warmth from his words entered my heart.

“Thank you, you don’t look bad yourself,” I returned, feeling my face burn.

“Ready?” He questioned.

“Yes, just need to grab my bag and lock the door” I answered. Once, I had grabbed my bag from the couch and locked the front door, we walked with our hands clasped together.

“No car?” I wondered.

“No, we will be using the subway and if need be, we will be taking the taxi.”

“Okay,” I replied. With the sun looking down at us, the trees gently swaying in sync with the summer breeze, children were loitering in the streets playing, and people strolled and talked to each other,, the smell of food drifted through the air. I just knew it was going to be the most perfect day and one of the memorable days that I will hold onto. Internally thanking God for this life, for this moment.

We took the subway to our first stop Times Square, the buildings and billboards surrounded me, making me feel alive, freeing me. We walked through the streets, never letting go of Ezra’s hands. Ezra narrated, telling me the history of the buildings and the infamous, touristy landmarks along the way. We went towards Rockefeller Center, “you are going to love this,” he stated.

“I would?”

“Mhmm,” we walk towards the sky-scraping building, the elevator taking us to the highest floor. We stepped into the floor, my breath hitching, my mouth opening wide as I stared at the view encircling me. I was speechless and completely in awe.

“Wow,” I whispered, turning to Ezra, to find him staring at me with a smile.

“Beautiful” he uttered, I knew we were not speaking about the same thing. I hugged my body to him in a silent appreciation.

We stayed there for a while, staring outside at the view of New York City, staring at the people going on with their lives and living their lives. I felt like I was in the air like I was flying as if I am infinite. The first part of the day continued to visit touristy places which consisted of me gushing and getting excited over anything and everything, and Ezra laughing at me.

We stopped at a coffee place, the aromatic blends of roasted coffee salivating my senses. The shop was quaint and cute. The staff were friendly and welcoming, and people were coming in and out. With our coffees at hand, we took a stroll in Central Park. The energies in the park were contagious and delightful. People milled in the park with their dogs, children, or with their friends. Some jogged, others sat on the benches or the grass eating or mingling. We walked up the hill, overlooking the city, and we sat in silence on the bench for a few moments, “I always come here. Every morning when I am on my run. I would come and sit on this bench, stay here for a while, and look out as the sun rises. It makes me feel powerful, seeing the rising sun, bringing me calmness and tranquillity. One of my favourite places in this city,” he said. I stared at him in wonder, then stared at the pictorial display of buildings in front of me. The searing sun blazing, beaming radiantly amongst the clouds, the sky, adorning the Earth with its presence, providing and gifting us moments that will be ingrained in our memories. Shining its light upon us.

“I get you” I muttered, my grip on his fingers tightening. Loving and holding onto each other and coming alive with every moment.    

I followed his lead, taking in the streets we pass, the vendors and pull-up trucks, each area had distinct characteristics, and told different stories. The rowdiness of the crowds intensified as people faught for certain items and negotiated prices for a discount. The silence between us comforting and peaceful, looking up at Ezra to see him staring at me with a smile of his own. The pathway getting higher, the scenery changing from foods to clothes, to souvenirs and now arts. The stream of different arts, paintings from classical to contemporary abstract pieces. We took a taxi to Brooklyn Bridge, Ezra’s words, “to have a mean ass pizza, that’s going to fuck you up.” I get it, I get why people become so awestruck, going through the bridge, the windows down and the wind blowing my hair away from my face. Overlooking the masses of buildings, the soaring creations merging and putting on a show. It was paradise. The embryonic, ancient pillars formed with elegant, soft arch providing an incredible experience with its beauty. The idea of living my imaginations, my dreams, the way it is playing outside my head making me emotional. My eyes watered, the happiness that was blooming inside me became indescribable. I looked over to Ezra, I reached for his hand and caressed the skin mouthing, “thank you,” lightly whispering, “this is perfect,” appreciation heightening for the man beside me.

The pizzeria was charming and cute, with the staff talking a mix of English and Italian. The fragranced aroma of cheese, tomato, and charred smokiness of dough permeating the air. The open concept kitchen, chatter, patting, and sounds of making pizza, the noisiness of people – the energy was infectious and wholesome. The waiter seated us on a corner booth, which had a direct view of the skyline making this happening more memorable and magical. Ezra decided on the pizza and their drink selection, telling me to, “trust him on this”, we aimlessly talked and looked over at the Brooklyn Bridge, the sunset surfaced from the clouds, titivating the city’s skyline once the waiter took our order. “How many activities are left after this?” I asked.

“Two, if we have time maybe three. You wouldn’t know because it’s a surprise,” he stated with an expressive glint.

“Hm. I wonder what they are?” I feigned, curiously.

“Keep on thinking,” he knowingly returned. A bottle of a bubbly drink and two glasses were placed on the table.

“Me too. What is your favourite known fact?” I questioned.

“The Universe is 13 billion years old. That there are multiverses that exist other than this Universe. The notion of nothing is real. In actuality, there is no truth, there is no right and wrong. Necessarily, beliefs don’t exist, it is simply ideations we have created to make our lives purposeful, meaningful – it is man-made. There is no society, but a system that conditions us into a way of living, that controls us,” he ended abruptly, looking nervous and shaking his head in an attempt to shake away the jitters.

“You want to continue,” I whispered, smiling. “You don’t need to stop when you feel yourself getting in too deep. It was nice to see you become passionate, in the way you were getting lost inside your mind with your thoughts. Allowing them to run. I think it is hot too,” I said.

“I usually don’t speak aloud about these notions. A lot don’t seem to understand, nor do they want to understand. Don’t wanna scare you off,” he confessed,

“Not scared just, turned on,” I laughed.

“Yeah,” he countered with heated eyes. His eyes lowered to my mouth. Instinctively, I licked my mouth. Damn it.

“Mhmm,” I affirmed. “Do you believe we were meant to stumble upon each other, I know you said that you felt like you were supposed to meet me, that me coming into your life was fulfilling in some way. But, do you think we were put together through destiny or manifesting each other? I think some part of me did. You were exactly what I was looking for.”

“I do. The first time I met you in that coffee shop, I dreamt of you the night of. I was paralysed in my sleep and you were the one who got me out. You calmed me, and brought me back to life. When I talk about you, nobody seems to understand the way I feel about you. With only having moments together, talking to each other once, nobody knew how you could feel the surge of energy, a deep connection with someone you just met. I didn’t know how and why either. But that never stopped thoughts running inside my mind, it didn’t stop the feelings of longing and hope emerging from within. I didn’t stop dreaming about you or imagining you during daylight. It never stopped the intense, growing energy within my soul that stilled until the moment I had met you again,” he voiced. My heart was heavy from his words, not from sorrow or pain. Rather, the words he uttered were what I experienced too, living in the same state, it was my life. I felt it too. Love is not conjured up by feelings, thoughts, or actions. It is energy so profound, so unheard of it will shake you, it will slam into your face and turn your world upside down. What you thought suddenly doesn’t exist, doesn’t mean anything. Love is an essence that binds you before you even meet, bonding and fusing two lovers together. Only essence that responds to purity and chasteness of connection shared by two beings, through vulnerability and appreciation. Ezra is my destiny. I knew that the moment we separated ways in London.

“I know Ezra,” I said with a shaky voice at the revelation I made in my head. The pizza arrived before I could say anything else. It didn’t stop us from looking into each other’s eyes and saying all the things that solidified the words that were spoken and felt.

“I am thankful for you, Ezra. Thank you for coming into my life,” I expressed.

“Thank you, Luna, for coming into my life,” he returned.

I dug into a slice of doughy cheesy, flavourful goodness, each bite becoming tastier and mouthwatering, confirming that Ezra knew exactly what he was doing, making me fall in love with New York through his lenses, immersing ourselves with our talks and food, we stayed until the dusk. The sunset became starry, the lights transformed the city alive and the streets turned busier. The brisk air outside was crisp, washing over my skin in a warm and tender embrace. Brooklyn was a bustling neighbourhood; the Bridge was lit up, with the lights of the towering view of buildings. Displaying the magnificent vision of art.

“Ready for what is next?” He said with a smirk.

“Do I get to know?” I inquired.

“Nope, not until we are there,” he replied.

“Then what was the point of saying if I am ready?” I jokingly, remarked.

“Well you are in for a treat,” he responded, waving his hand out to stop a taxi.

The street at night was a different experience. The drive to Manhattan went smoothly, driving through the Bridge was euphoric, elation travelling through my veins. As the driver went to the theatre district, I studied the people in costumes milling in the corners of streets close by to the theatres. Lines of people were waiting outside the theatres, the buzz in the air was energetic and invigorating. “Ezra,” I say, prolonging his name towards the end, “what are we doing here?” I questioned.

“You will find out soon. Sir, you can leave us here,” Ezra murmured to the driver, paying him with cash and opening the door to his side muttering “wait.” He rushed to my side of the car, opened the door for me and offered me his hand. I took his hand whilst giggling, couldn’t help it.

“Thank you. You’re cute,” I gushed as Ezra intertwined our fingers, walking to the pavement.

“I have my moments,” he returned with a radiant smile. He guided us through the crowd, shielding me with his body from the wild throngs of people. “It is Saturday evening, I anticipated this. But I guess something is happening tonight so, there are more people than usual” he voiced.

“I know, I am not worried” I responded.

“That’s good” he returned.

We stop at a building situated in the centre of the street. The huge pillars held up the majestic, Victorian-like building which is swarmed with people. People outside waiting in line and those inside getting ready for the show. A poster of Hamilton stuck on the bricked wall, “Ezra,” I muttered, pointing at the wall and quirking an eyebrow. I didn’t need him to say anything with his smile becoming bigger, widening and his eyes shining brightly. “No way” I quietly shriek “what!” I exclaimed, “how did you know?”

“You mentioned how much you loved the Hamilton soundtrack when we were discussing current music favourites, saying how you wished you could see it live. So, I had to make it happen,” he stated. We made a beeline through the line, he reached inside his jacket and handed the usher the tickets. When approved he moved to the side, and Ezra and I stepped into the grand, magnificent building. Absolutely and awfully in awe as my eyes take in every display of art and interior design. I am in love. I am in heaven, this must be what heaven feels like. I turned to Ezra and hugged his body tightly to mine, running my fingers through his strands. I sunk my face into his neck, and he pulled me into him “thank you so much, Ezra. I won’t forget these moments ever,” I vehemently uttered. Complete adoration and admiration for the man. Thanking the Universe, God, the heavens and high water for bringing him into my life.

“Anything for you, Luna. I want you to have the best experience of this city,” he expressed.

“You won. You won with me” I replied, pushing my body from his, caressing his skin.

“Come, let us go to our seats,” he said. I placed his hand behind my back and guided him in the direction of our seats.  The theatre was constructed with timbers, the thick wood creating circular motions in the roof. Anticipation and apprehensiveness sank into my skin with giddiness rushing through in love with everything surrounding me. My hands shook and clammed up, breath hitching as the lights dim low and the curtains ensued, gradually revealing the stage. The chatter amongst people transformed into cheers and clapping eventually dying down. The floors vibrated as the sounds came alive, my hands slapping over Ezra’s instantly, shrieking with excitement. The play moved beautifully, stirring emotions as the plays progress the music made me feel high, unabashedly singing and rapping the lyrics. I tried to maintain quietness as I do, receiving weird looks and side-eyes from those around me. It filled my heart with inspiration, admiration for the play and love for the meaning of the play, for what it brings, and what it stands for with, the stories from different people and communities. Enthusiastically stood up from my seat, clapping my hands, whopping, screaming and cheering once it ended. I looked at Ezra, to see him with the same elation, the room vibrating with love and joy. The lights came back on as the curtains began to close. People got ready to leave, whilst I stayed seated on my seat and took it all in. The overwhelming emotions wanting to be purged, to be released. Tears rose from the corner of my eyes, allowing them to fall. The whole day felt like a floating dream, surreal with no words coming to describe the emotions rushing through me. Ezra was quiet as he handed me a tissue, running his hand through my back and muttered, “it is okay, I think I did a bit too much today” he chuckled nervously.

“No, no you didn’t. It was perfect. Everything was perfect” I voiced, clasping our fingers and stroking his skin. He wiped away the remaining tears, I stand up to get ready to leave. Ezra followed suit, going down the expansive, carpeted stairs, looking around me and taking it in for the last time. The chilly air rushed through the open doors as Ezra pulled the door for me to go first. Rain falls slowly, the air still warm with a hint of a breeze. Without thinking I turn to Ezra, and I kiss him. Fusing our lips together, gripping the material of his shirt, and melding our lips, Ezra returned the kiss just as passionately. Wrapping my arms around his neck, gripping strands of his hair as he kisses my top lip then my bottom, sucking it and dragging it out, releasing a moan. He picked me up, wrapping my legs around his waist. My hands reached, tenderly touching any skin that I can find as our tongues dance in a twist. The rain intensified, welting down on us. I savoured this rainy dream-like state, feeling like the scene from The Notebook as I communicate my words of how I felt, the way he makes me feel. My hair sticking to my skin, not wanting this moment any other way. Breaking the kiss, I put my forehead against his chin. Regaining my breathing, my heart hammering against my chest, my body pulsing with pleasure, fire and affection for this man. I closed my eyes, and he kissed my forehead. My skin was wet from the rain, but, uncaringly stayed attached to his body as he sways his body, keeping me close to him. Ignoring the ways we’re seen in the street.

“Be my girlfriend” he bluntly said. Raising a laugh from me, quietening down watching his eyes displaying his emotions.

“Say it again” I whisper, running my hands through his strands, he puts me down, cupping both sides of my face.

“Be with me Luna, be my girlfriend” he gently murmured.

“Okay. Boyfriend” I breathed, not needing to think with my stomach floating with butterflies. Both smiling with our foreheads pressed against each other, embracing this moment and of each other’s presence. “Thank you, Ezra, this was everything that I dreamt and wished for. This was perfect, so perfect it will be deeply embedded within my brain. Seems like a dream” I voiced.

“Anything for you baby” he returned. “Still have time for another activity,” he asked.

“You can take all the time in the world from me, I feel like I am living pass time. I just want to be with you” I expressed. Tired of thinking of what to say, what not to say, wanting to talk freely and not be afraid. We hailed a cab to the next destination, my heart filled with fulfilment, peace and deep-seated, growing emotions.

The ride to the next destination was short. Aloofness sinking in, having no idea why we are here, at 10 pm with everything closed except, for the food places. People filling the street, the vibrancy intensifying as the night lived on. The taxi stopped and Ezra opened the door for me, stepping out with a “thank you”.

“You don’t have to do that every time, you know,” I said.

“I like doing it. When you’re with me, I will always want to open the doors for you, to treat you in a certain way. It makes me happy” he responded gently.

“Okay. Only for you. I’m just used to doing things on my own, so it makes me feel weird”.

“Well, you have me now” he replied.

Being so enamoured by his energy, I wasn’t aware of where we were, that I was taking steps in front of me. Studying the scene in front of me, the dim lights cascaded around the pillars, the classic, vintage-like architecture was stunning. Halting, my eyes widening, my mouth opening in shock, realising where he was taking me.

“Ezra” I whispered.

“Welcome to The Met,” he said softly.

“How. We can’t, it is closed” I responded.

“I have a close acquaintance with the manager of The Met, he owed me some favours, so I used one of them for taking you here. He relented, giving me the keys for them yesterday evening”.

“Ezra, this is amazing”.

“I anticipated we might be late, so, I couldn’t take chances”.

“Ezra, who are you” I uttered, so dazed with everything. Responding with his deep chuckle, which is becoming one of my favourite sounds. “Ezra you didn’t have to do all of this,” I said, meaning every word. He went above and beyond, leaving me stunned with how to respond, and amazed that a man like him existed.

“I wanted this to be special, memorable. To me, it is catching up with all the missing moments we didn’t get to share”.

Ezra opens the entrance door once we have reached the top of the steps. Once locked, we quietly walked inside, the hall eerie with its darkness.

“I am going to take you somewhere. Just trust me okay” he whispered.

“Okay,” I replied. Using the torch on his phone to guide us the way, we take the elevator to the top floor. We continue walking, passing a café to a rooftop view of the city’s skyline. Putting my hands on my mouth as I gasp, my eyes begin watering. In disbelief of what is in front of me. It was stunning, dreamy, and romantic. “Oh my god” I breathed, my breath becoming uneven.

“Ezra, this is so wonderful. How did you do this” I asked?

“I had my sister in law come up. She is a wedding planner, she knew about you. I described the way I wanted this to be and she knew how I wanted it. She came in the evening, right before The Met was closing”.

“Ezra,” I said, my voice weakening, tears relentlessly falling. The scene in front of me was gorgeous. Rose petals scattered around the floor, surrounded by small candlelit lamps, encircling a blanket that accompanied an enclosed basket.

“I was hoping to stargaze here, I thought this was perfect inside the city with the moon out” he whispered. Taking my hand, kneeling in the makeshift blanket. Ezra bringing the basket to us, revealing two glasses, a bottle of sparkling champagne along with, fruits and doughnuts.

“Interesting combination of food,” I commented.

“I knew we would be stuffed, only things I can think of that would be light. Doughnuts being the dessert for the day” he replied. Unscrewing the bottle, pouring us both a glass whilst, I bring the food to us and open the fruits. Leaving the doughnuts inside the basket for later. I look out at the breathtaking vision in front of me, the full moon glowing luminously against the dark, night sky. The stars glistening, twinkling, shining their celestial lights upon us with the illuminating lights from the buildings, bringing the city alive. The picturesque visuals making me feel light, infinite.

“Thank you so much,” I said.

“Stop saying thank you. I wanted to do this for you, for us. You being here, your reactions is all I needed” he responded, smiling, his skin glowing from the moonlight. My safe haven. Pulling me to his lap, between his legs. I push myself closer to his body, the warmth and safety of his arms were blissful. Looking out at the spectacular sight, I call my home, the Universe providing me with peace, stillness as they bless us with miracles. Feeling like Ezra and I only exist on Earth, cherishing this moment as we both sit in silence and gaze out at the scenery. Time is still, life is in a pause as we live in the moment.

“I like you a lot, Luna. You came into my life and changed everything. I haven’t been the same since I have met you” he voiced, against my ear. His breath fanning over my skin, closing my eyes as it electrified me.

“Me too,” we both discard the drinks and turn to lie down. Both inseparable, as I lay my head on his chest, looking up at the starry sky. Stargazing, talking about everything and nothing, stars enveloping us, the moon blessing us with her presence. Thankful. The end of a perfect day.

(A scene from the current story. Simply wanted to share for becoming attached to the characters. Living vicariously through the characters and how precious this story has become for me. If you have read it till the end, thank you so much. Truly appreciate it)

Unspoken Words

Creative Writing, poetry

Watchfully gazing from a distance, as his face lights up. The corner of his eyes crinkling, delving into the skin as his eyes beam brightly. With his mouth tilting upwards into a radiant smile like the luminescent moonlight illumining, bringing my soul alive. His darkened complexion enhanced his strong features, his eyes twinkling like two celestial orbs. His dimples deepening as his smile enriches, beautifying his already handsome face. Whispering his name as I look up, watching in all its magical glory.

Fate

Creative Writing, Love

Ezra

My throat filled with fluid, reaching down my body. Keeping me down, leaving me fighting to get to the shore. In futile. Left paralysed, as my body is submerged under water. My body smothered with water, immersing deeply into the well of hollowness with no way to flee. “No. Help” I hear myself scream. The bleak darkness drowning, flooding me into a sinking void. “Please. Stop it” I hoarsely whisper, spiralling in and out of consciousness, trying to escape. My closed eyes swarming with bright light, leaving me momentarily hazed. My body tightening, seizing as I have become delirious. Feeling uncontrollable as my chest constricts with my throat compressed into knots unable to bring in oxygen. “Stop. Stop” I inwardly whisper, needing to leave this hellish trance. Beams of intense luminosity emerging in my vision. Glowing, brown eyes alighting, their breath exhaling. Yielding my body to arch, the heaviness of my chest relinquishing in sync with their breathing. Immersing me into calmness, oxygen coming back to me as my throat clears. The illuminating, brown eyes rising, providing tranquillity. Serenity washes over me as the feminine voice lulls “breathe” in a hushed murmur. “Breathe” the soft voice repeats again. My eye flashing open, unblinkingly staring at the naked walls, sweat gathering around my forehead and body. With a fast-beating heart and heavy breathing, I get out of bed and into the bathroom. Splashing water on my face, washing away the last remnants of the nightmare.

Anxiousness simmering inside my body, adrenaline bursting through my veins as I walk to my makeshift painting area. The blank canvas mimicking the end of the dream, creating the image that surfaced in my dream. Itching with dire need to be released and created. The dark sky, transforming into early morning with birds chirping. Not with the times and hours, as I sunk myself into running away from the hallucinating illusion. Turning the heaviness that is left in my body into a state of peace. Finishing the touches of the latest painting I have curated. With the rest of my paintings already in the gallery I am prepared for the exhibition. As I brush the last stroke, I step back exhaling at the wonder that my eyes lay on. As I let it sit for two hours, I begin to shower and get ready to convince the head curator to put this forward with the rest of the art.

Taking an uber to the gallery, my mind lingers on the stranger women I had the seconds with, lightly hoping I will bump into her again. Somehow not being able to forget. Walking with intention as I have reached the entrance, I see Miguel dressed in colourful clothing, an open chested red shirt, black artisan blazer and trousers with unique designs. Miguel was a European Spanish man whom I have met in New York art exhibition in my art gallery. Within seconds we hit it off, talking about the arts culture, our favourite artists and collections. Since then we have stayed in contact with each other and maintained a friendship relation.

He greets me with enthusiastic arm movements as soon as he sees me, eyeing the black bag in my hand. “I need this piece to be included in the exhibition” I demand bluntly. Miguel stares at me, piercing me with emotionless eyes that wants to tell me off for a cold welcome. But he needs to know my seriousness when I don’t have time to play nice. He signals for me to follow him, heading to his office upstairs. Once we have reached, he closed the door behind me, I lay the bag on the empty table, unravelling the painting for Miguel’s eyes. He stands beside me, taking in a sharp breath, without saying another word he turns towards me “is this who I think it is” he questions. Knowing what his underlying words mean “yes” I utter, “this needs to be in the exhibition, it completes the collection perfectly” I continue. With Miguel in deep thought, I shake away the jitters that comes with being patient, suddenly sighing in admission he says “okay, we can make adjustments. She must be beautiful, for you to be bothered like this” he jokes, but his eyes reflecting respect. Miguel was a person who embraced vulnerability, he never let the ego drive him into making his decisions, he enjoyed being in companies that think alike and who are not crippled by their ego, their identity and not being afraid of humanly feelings and desires. So, with him knowing who this was and me wanting to show this painting in public, he valued me and even more so, this friendship because of it.

Taking the painting in his hand, we go downstairs to the floor of the exhibition, placing it in the focal point of the collection, the centre wall. “Do you oppose” he prompts with one raised eyebrow.

“No, absolutely not” I affirm, feeling accomplished knowing the last art had finalised the collection.

Going back to my hotel suite, I make a start to get ready with spending the whole of afternoon in the gallery, preparing and organising the event, time flew by me. With Miguel picking me up for the evening, I pour myself a drink to remove the apprehensiveness that are rising.

Walking into the gallery, bustling with people and photographers. Grabbing champagne in the entryway, studying those who are looking at the art. The best part about being an artist and establishing your painting in art galleries is the anonymity from publicity. With painters, artists, art investors recognising you due to the close-knit community we have formed for ourselves. Diving right in as I start to talk leisurely with interested customers, negotiating prices with their likened art, positive feelings of success surging as one art had been sold. Long black hair in my peripheral vision convincing myself that it is not real and only imaginations that exist from my dream. Informing the staff that this painting has been sold, they begin to discuss buying the art with the costumers. The long-haired stranger stopping at the latest painting, moving closer and deeply analysing it. With my focus strained, I begin to watch her, her form, her skin and the stunning dress pulling me to her place. Instinctively, my feet walk towards her, eyeing the way she moves closer to the painting. Stopping just behind her inhaling a waft of her flowery, vanilla scent “No, it can’t be” I internally whisper to myself. Out of all places. She is here, knowing she felt my presence I move backwards only for her to turn around and bump into me.

Helping to balance her, I place my hand on her lower back. Silky smooth skin burning my fingers alive. Her scent engulfing me, her wide eyes blinking back at me in recognition and in shock. “We need to stop meeting like this” I mutter light-heartedly with a grin, simmering the feelings wanting to surface. “My name is Ezra” I prompt, waiting for her to speak.

She pushes back to maintain distance, “My name is Luna” she begins “you need to stop appearing where I can’t see you” she says. She studies me curiously. Looking at the person who inspired my painting, her alluring, mesmerising eyes, opening her mouth in futile as her words become unspoken.

“This painting was inspired by you” I mumble, “from the last time I saw you to now, I was not able to forget you. You came up in my dreams and you are what I painted. I want you.” I utter in hushed tone.

(Another part. Couldn’t help myself. Writing this got me excited of the prospects. I’m proud of the characters that are coming alive. Writings from a current story. Thank you for reading 😀 ).