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

The Date

Creative Writing, Romance

Waking 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 singing lightly, humming with anticipation of the day ahead. My phone pinging with a “good morning. I will be picking you up at 10” text from Ezra. Browsing through my closet, at a loss of what to wear that is 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 lightweight and skin-like, designing braided strands to sit on top of my head and creating soft wavy curls. Accompanied by 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. Feeling proud of the look I have put together.

With five minutes to spare, I quickly store away my products and go downstairs to drink water in an attempt to calm my nerves. The bell ringing in time of 10, walking down the corridor simultaneously, maintaining my controlled breathing, and open the door. He looked devilishly handsome even with, the simplicity of his clothing. His eyes bright, his golden pigmented skin glistening, glowing from the blazing, hot sun. Moving into his body for an embrace, circling my arms around his neck and resting my face on his shoulder, inhaling his clean scent. Ezra lifting me off the ground, tightening his hold on my body. Kissing my neck, murmuring “I missed you” into my skin. “I missed you too” I uttered, his body sensational against mine. Putting me down, he reached for my mouth, kissing me languidly, deepening the kiss. Freeing a moan from my lips as he snakes his tongue inside my mouth whilst, his hand squeezes my ass smiling against my mouth. Releasing my lips, he placed his forehead against mine “hi” he said.

“Hi” I replied.

“You look beautiful, Luna” he whispered, his raspy voice heating my body, warmness entering 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 have grabbed my bag from the couch and locked the front door. We walk with our hands clasped together. Feeling blissful.

“No car?” I wondered.

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

“Okay,” I replied. With the sun looking down at us, the trees gently swaying in sync with the summer breeze. With the children loitering around the streets playing, people strolling and talking to each other, and smells of food drifting through the air. I just know, 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 being the Time Square, the buildings and billboards surrounding me, making me feel alive, freeing me. Walking through the streets, never letting go of each other’s hands. Ezra narrating, telling me the history of the buildings along with, the infamous, touristy landmarks. Going towards Rockefeller Center. “You would love this” he stated.

“I would?”

“Mhmm” we walk towards the sky-scraping building, the elevator taking us to the highest floor. Stepping into the floor, my breath hitches, my mouth opening wide as I stare at the view encircling me. Speechless and completely in awe.

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

“Beautiful” he uttered, knowing we are not speaking about the same thing, hugging my body to his in silent appreciation.

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

We stop at a coffee place, the aromatic blends of roasted coffee salivating my senses. The shop was quaint, cute. The staff friendly and welcoming, people coming in and out. With our coffees at hand, we take a stroll to Central Park. The energies in the park were contagious and delightful. People milling in the park with their dogs, children, or with their friends. Some jogging, others sitting on the benches or the grass eating or mingling. Walking up the hill which overlooks the city, sitting 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. Seeing the rising sun making me feel powerful, bringing me calmness, tranquillity. One of my favourite places in this city” he said. Staring at him in wonder, then staring 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 and every moment and coming alive.    

Following his lead, taking in the streets we pass, the vendors and pull-up trucks. Each area attaining distinct characteristics, telling different stories. The rowdiness of the crowds intensifying as people fight for certain items and negotiating 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 take 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 watering, the happiness that is blooming inside me becoming indescribable. Looking over at Ezra, I reach for his hand and caress 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, chatting, patting, and sounds of making pizza, the noisiness of people – the energy infectious and wholesome. The waiter seats us on a corner booth, direct view of the skyline making this happening more memorable and magical. Ezra decides on the pizza and their drink selection. Telling me to “trust him on this”, we aimlessly talk and look over at the Brooklyn Bridge, the sunset surface from the clouds, titivating the city’s skyline once the waiter took our order. “How many activities are left after this,” I ask.

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

“Hmmm. 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 lowering to my mouth. Instinctively licking 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 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 in the night of. I was paralysed in my sleep and you were the one who got me out. You calmed me, bringing me back to life. When I talk about you, nobody understands 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, 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 heavy from his words, not from sorrow or pain. Rather, the words he uttered was what I experienced too, living in the same state, it was my life. I felt it too. Love is not conjured up to 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 say with a shaky voice at the revelation I made in my head. The pizza arriving before I could say anything else. It didn’t stop us from looking into each other’s eyes and saying all the things that affirmed 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.

Digging 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 becoming starry, the lights bringing the city alive and the streets becoming busier. The brisk air outside crisp, washing over my skin in a warm and tender embrace. Brooklyn bustling, alive; the Bridge 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 streets at night was a different experience. The drive to Manhattan going smoothly, driving through the Bridge was euphoric, elation travelling through my veins. The driver going to the theatre district, I study the people in costumes milling in the corners of streets close by to the theatres. Lines of people waiting outside the theatres, the buzz in the air energising, 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 opens the door to his side muttering “wait”. He rushes to my side of the car, opening the door for me and offered me his hand. Smilingly I take 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 holding 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 exclaim. “How did you know?”

“You mentioned how much you loved 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. Making a beeline through the line reaching inside his jacket and handing the usher the tickets. When approved he moved to the side, Ezra and I step into the grand, magnificent building. Absolutely and awfully at awe as my eyes take in every display of art and the interior design. I am in love. I am in heaven, this must be what heaven feels like. Turning to Ezra, I hug his body tightly to mine. Running my fingers through his strands. Sinking my face into his neck, while he pulls 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.

“No problem. 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. Placing his hand behind my back and guiding me in the direction of our seats.  The theatre was constructed with timbers, the thick wood creating circular motions in the roof. Anticipation and apprehensiveness sinking into my skin with giddiness rushing through in love with everything surrounding me. My hands shaking and clamming up, breath hitching as the lights dim low and the curtains ensue, gradually revealing the stage. The chatter amongst people transforming into cheers, and clapping eventually, dying down. The floors vibrating as the sounds come alive, my hands slapping over Ezra’s instantly, shrieking with excitement. The play moving beautifully, stirring emotions as the plays progress the music making me feel high, unabashedly singing and rapping the lyrics. Trying to maintain quietness as I do, receiving weird looks and side-eyes from those around me. Filling my heart with inspiration, admiration for the play and love for the meaning of the play, for what it brings, what it stands for along with, the stories from different people and communities. Enthusiastically standing up from my seat, clapping my hands, whopping, screaming and cheering once it ended. Looking at Ezra, to see him with the same elation, the room vibrating with love and joy. The lights coming back on as curtain begins to close. People getting ready to leave, whilst I stay seated on my seat and take it all in. The overwhelming emotions wanting to be purged, to be released. Tears arise from the corner of my eyes, allowing them to fall. The whole day feeling like a floating dream, surreal with no words coming to describe the emotions rushing through me. Ezra quiet as he hands me a tissue, running his hand through my back muttering “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. Wiping away the remaining tears, I stand up to get ready to leave. Ezra following suit, going down the expansive, carpeted stairs, looking around me and taking it in for the last time. The chilly air rushing 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, melding our lips, Ezra returning 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 reaching, tenderly touching any skin that I can find as our tongues dance in a twist. The rain intensifying, welting down on us. Savouring this rainy dream-like state, feeling like the scene from The Notebook as I communicate my words of how I feel, 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. Closing my eyes, as he kisses my forehead. My skin wet from the rain, but, uncaringly staying 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)