Excerpts of Ricardo

Romance, Story

Chapter Four

Ricardo

I saw her on the first day of English Lit, she was sitting in the middle whilst I sat at the top row where nobody could see me, unless they were intentionally trying to seek me out. Her body was slouched and guarded as if she was trying to disappear, her body was frozen and still when Professor McCormick called out her name. Kalina is her name, I whispered her name in my mouth, played around with it, and emphasised the syllables, deciding that I liked her name, curious when she said that she didn’t know what she liked, and she wanted to be a poet, finding myself wanting to know more of her, enthralled by her. I was sitting on the bench near Washington Square Park when I saw her outside, she worn a smile which radiated her face, her body relaxed and happy as she talked to Micah, she was beautiful. I know of him, I see him all the time within the community, hanging out with Alejandro and Aphrodite. She was with Ezra and the three of them yesterday, she looked anxious and small around them, her eyes chaotically wondering everywhere and nowhere, her lips shaped in a thin line, arms crossed – a sign of discomfort. I saw her, she didn’t see me. Her long, black hair framed her face, her features were small and ethereal, her aura was mysterious. Seeing her again elicited a feeling of hope, but she didn’t see me not until now. Yet, that didn’t halt the pull of wanting to get closer to her and wanting to get to know her.

That moment when our eyes met, I knew she recognised me, that something foreign was happening to me when I felt nerves in my body and felt an unnamed emotion deep inside of me. There was no point though, there was no time for girls, I had to get my money, I had to get my life together. There were only two things in my life that mattered, and they were money and music. I didn’t have time for girls or feelings, I couldn’t, and I wouldn’t. I had a family I needed to take care of. Whatever it was, it meant nothing. Shit, maybe I need to have sex to get myself under control.

Chapter Six

“I can hear your music,” a deep voice said beside me, I scrunched my face in annoyance for coming in between my music. I paused the moment of Chester screaming in Lost in the Echo, as he stood on the side of the wall that I was leaning on. I was early for English Lit on the Friday morning, it was only me in the corridor until it wasn’t, it was the same nameless person that had piqued my interest. He smiled at me, my breath stopped momentarily at the sight, his eyes were crinkling, delving into his skin. The dimples deepened his cheeks which beautified his smile, enriching his face. I felt the warmth in my chest as his smile grew wider, I got caught staring which made me feel awkward and standoffish, “so, rock huh?” he began saying, the flutters inside my stomach intensified at the sound of his voice. His dark skin and kinky hair texture gleamed from the sunlight, enhancing his features. He was a beautiful boy, and he was smiling at me.

“Yeah, I like rock music, I like Linkin Park,” I said, my voice croaky in my ears, I cleared my throat and dipped my head down, the nerves amplified with each second passing by as we stood inches away from each other.

“That’s interesting, never have I thought you would like a genre so aggressive.”

“Hmm. So, you make music?” I asked changing the subject. He was quiet for a while, studying me, I felt his intense gaze in my stomach, and my heart was beating erratically, the sound of the rhythm drummed intensely in my ears.

“Yeah, I do,” he said slowly, trying to figure me out.

“I saw you in the event, you’re good,” I commented, speaking truthfully.

“Thank you, I saw you too. You want to be a writer?”

“Yeah, I do,” I repeated after him.

“That’s cool, are you going to the event?”

“Maybe, Aphrodite and the guys want me to go, I haven’t decided yet, I like spontaneity.”

“I’ll see you on Sunday, if you do end up choosing to come, say hi,” he said after a silent moment, leaving me stunned. I played our first interaction in my mind, releasing a smile from the memory, my body warm and fuzzy from his gaze and presence.

“All I need to know because that means the discussions, we will be having are going to be fairly easy. Kristen, I’ll start off with you, how do you define love and perceive the relationship between Romeo and Juliet? How does their family’s rivalry influence their love and romantic notions for each other?”

“Love is love, it doesn’t have a preference, ideals, concepts or social notions. Love is not something that can be controlled,” she ended, discussing, and evaluating the story in a three-minute discussion.

“Does anybody have anything to say against her discussions or add to it. Hmmm, I’m going to choose Ricardo. What do you think of love and the relationship between Romeo and Juliet?” I looked around the auditorium, trying to figure out who professor directed the question to, but I got nothing. Suddenly a voice bounded across the room, their gravelly, deep voice touched the base of my stomach.

“Love is freedom, love is liberation and harmony. Love can conquer all because it is an energy that vibrates with the purest essence of this life whether it is peace and joy, dreams, or hope, or a vessel used to detach ourselves from the ego. The depiction of love through Romeo and Juliet is that no matter how much hatred lives inside people, and where disharmony exists within the world, love can shine its light on the darkness and make you blossom, free you from the shackles of malevolent and poison of the humankind, and bind people through love, can bind humanity through love. The power of love, to feel that love sometimes you are willing to die with your love and for your love because there is no other, there is only truth and light in love,” there was a poignant silence infiltrating the space since his mouth opened. I felt the shock through my body, the curiosity that brimmed is now overfilling and consuming my body. Ricardo is his name and that just made him more interesting, it would be bad to say I never expected him to interpret the love tale like that but I am. He didn’t look at anyone since he started his perception of the story until he ended, when his eyes collided with mine and I felt like I could fly, my body felt light and heady, the longing for something I didn’t know of was weighing down my body.

Ricardo

I can see it in her eyes, the interest, and an emotion that I’m using my power to veil from her, I know the power of love, but that doesn’t mean I want to succumb or crumble in its will. I don’t want romanticism, and yet, I feel the pull of wanting to get closer, the drive reaching over my body, wanting to take me to her. What am I doing?

Chapter Seven

Ricardo

I strolled idly down the dark street, that one lamppost flickered its light for the whole street. A homeless man shouted after me for change, I brushed him off and carried on walking forward, watching my corners, turning my head behind me. One lone car speeded through the road, beeping, and calling out to a girl who had her head forward, eyes unblinking and body still and guarded, her hands on her pockets, walking breezily through the street. I shook my head at the misfortune of being a woman, it is only 10:00 pm at night, and woman are already being harassed on the street by low life men. I unlocked the front door and stepped inside the house, and it was hauntingly quiet. Father was out on his drunken stupor and Mother was lying down on the couch, no doubt waiting for him to come home. Not knowing why she bared him and continued the relationship even though there was no love in their marriage, it never helped anyone especially the children when the parent’s stay in a loveless marriage. “Hi mom, what are you doing here?” I asked her even though I know the reason, her face was forward towards the television, she was surfing the channels, but her eyes were elsewhere.

“I’m okay son, how was the event?” she returned, getting up on her elbows.

I leaned my shoulder on the doorway, crossing my legs together, and watched her flick through the channels, “it was fine. I found work I start work in a restaurant tomorrow so, I can help out.”

She looked at me briefly, before fixating on the television screen, her thin fingers staying on that one forward button, “that’s great news, are you sure? You don’t have to, and you need to focus on college, okay? Don’t get distracted by external factors, education is important, it’s the only way you can have a good life.”

“I won’t,” I reassured, “I love you.”

“I love you too,” I walked up the steps, the carpeted wood creaked loudly, the old paint in the railing pierced the skin beneath my hand. The distance was short from the stairs to my little sister’s bedroom. She was asleep when I peeked my head into her door, her bedroom was the only room that was put together and neat out of the entire house. I removed my shoes and tip toed to her bed, sat down for a moment, embracing the peace that comes with the silence. I closed my eyes and regretted it in an instant, her hair was blowing away from her face with the direction of the wind, her brown eyes illuminated from the dimly lit room, her form small and enticing, her brown colouring glowed and was luminous from the light, one small dimple deepening, her smile was beautiful and radiated her face, she’s an angel and I’m not worthy. It doesn’t matter what feelings or emotions get stirred up because of her, it doesn’t matter when my life isn’t the way that I want it to be. Nobody deserves to love a man that comes from a rough neighbourhood, a penniless man with a broken family. No point in loving a man who has pockets of dreams and still is so far away from where he wants to be.

“I love you, baby sister. I’ll give you the life that you deserve, the one that I didn’t have,” I promised, lying beside her, she moved for a moment and then stilled. A lone tear ran down the side of my face, coolness of the liquid wetting my skin. I’m sorry.

Chapter Thirteen

It happened in a slow motion, one moment we were talking, and the next moment I was on the floor, my butt prickling with pain, my palms burnt from the impact of the rocky ground. “Fuck, are you okay? Are you okay? Where are you hurt?” Ricardo frantically uttered, his words spewing all over the place.

“I’m okay, I’m okay,” I repeated, hoping he would hear me over his own voice. I lifted my palms to see the skin broken, scratched and red but thankfully, not bleeding, “see Ricardo, I’m okay.”

“Yo, the fuck was that? Can you not see where you are going you motherfucker?” He shouted, sprouted profanities at the passing man that wasn’t walking anymore. Ricardo stood up, striding toward him, “watch where you’re going, you hurt her,” he cussed, feeling tense at seeing his anger, his anger was rolling out of him.

“Who the fuck you think you’re talking to, what are you going to do, you little boy?” the man responded, shoving Ricardo’s shoulder, but he never slipped, he stood his ground, feeling a sensation at the pit of my stomach, Ricardo’s hands slammed against the man’s shoulder, roughly shoving him, the man lost his footing, the pit in my stomach intensified.

“Ricardo, Ricardo, I’m okay, see I’m standing up,” I hurried, rushing towards him, taking his arm to face me, “I’m okay, Ricardo, leave it alone,” I said, repeating the words over and over again.

“Watch where you’re going next time, you lucky she is here,” he darkly said, the man inched closer to Ricardo, bridging my body between them in an attempt to protect Ricardo. The stranger man stared blankly at him, then at me, shaking his head and then left. My stomach dipped at the sight of ruthlessness and aggression that was etched on the features of his face, his body tight and coiled, his intense energy was spreading and contagious.

“Come on Ricardo, leave it alone, I’m okay.” I didn’t know what feeling was inside of me, that sat inside of me, confused at whether that was anger, protection, or things to do with a male’s ego. “Why did you do that? You could have gotten hurt.”

“I don’t care, you were hurt,” he said in an instant, “are you okay, you hurt anywhere?”

I lifted my palms to his eye level, “just these, nothing ice or a packet of frozen vegetables can’t fix,” I laughed, trying to lighten the intense mood that had grown.

“You shouldn’t have seen me like that, are you okay?” he said, again.

“I’m okay,” I affirmed, “you were gonna get hurt,” I said, something akin to fear embedded within me.

“I don’t care, you got hurt,” he said as if those words meant nothing.

“Why did you do that? You should care about being hurt,” I emphasised, trying to understand the why of his response and actions.

“Kalina, you got hurt,” he said, his voice rising higher as if that made any sense and given a reason to go madman on someone.

“Ricardo, you could’ve gotten hurt, why would you do that?” I shouted as if that will help to get the words across to his face.

“You got hurt, Kalina. At the time, it made sense, I didn’t care about being hurt, because you got hurt,” he said as if I would understand. I don’t.

“But why would you want to get hurt for me?” I said, my voice getting lost towards the end, not getting any of it.

He came into my space, naturally I breathed him in, inhaling his scent. He cupped both sides of my face, he raised my head to his eye level, “Kalina, don’t you understand? I don’t want you to get hurt, I was hurting, seeing you hurt,” he slowly whispered, breaking down each word as if him saying it in a snail pace would make sense of anything that had happened.

“You were hurting because I was hurt so, you shouted and became aggressive to the person who hurt me?” I whispered, my mind repeated back his words, the emotions overpowering my senses. The liquid welled my eyes and streamed down my face, my breath coming out shorter, becoming harder to breath in oxygen, overwhelming me at the thought of his actions and why he did it. He did it because I was hurt, he defended me, he shouted at the man because I was hurt, he risked getting hurt because I was hurting, and he didn’t care about getting hurt. My eyes were blurry from the heavy set of tears, closing my eyes from the warmth of Ricardo’s fingers wiping each tear that had fallen from my eyes. “Why would you do that? I’m not worth that much, Ricardo,” my voice breaking in between words.

“You are worth it, you mean something to me, Kalina. You got hurt, seeing you like that, hurt me too, I don’t like nor want you to be hurt in any way.”

“Why would you do that though? You risked getting hurt.”

“I don’t care, Kalina, you are worthy to me, I would do it again, if I need to,” he said without hesitation. “I wasn’t exactly a good student in high school,” he added, a small smile shadowing his face.

“Ricardo,” I breathed, speechless, dazed, and confused, simply staring at him. He didn’t want me, he couldn’t, but he protected me, risked the chances of being hurt because of me, I felt lost, what did any of it mean? I drifted down his face, starting the journey at his forehead, moving to his eyes, such kind eyes, the ways he would look at me, those eyes gazed at me with acceptance. My eyes travelled down his cheeks, and those lips, the generosity of God’s work was prominent, but it’s not that, it’s the smile, so wide and wholesome and gave me so much life. My favourite was when he smiled whenever I did or said things in moments of dorkiness, it has given me so much pleasure and joy knowing I can do that. I didn’t even need to force the way I was around him. it came out naturally, the best part.

“I like you, Kalina, I can’t stop my feelings for you,” he whispered, somewhere deep inside of me believed those words.

I leaned my head on his shoulder on the train ride home, I found it sweet that he willingly dropped me off home, it was thoughtful, he was thoughtful, he was kind, accepting, funny, and beautiful. Universe must be playing with me because I didn’t deserve a boy like him, how did I get so lucky?

“Thank you, Ricardo,” I said.

“What for, Kalina?”

“For tonight, for everything,” I answered.

“Thank you, Kalina,” he repeated after me.

“What for, Ricardo?” imitating his words, both of us sharing a smile.

“For tonight, for everything,” the both of us laughing in unison.

“You gonna repeat everything I say?” I retorted lightly.

“Yeah,” he responded, like the last time.

“Shut up,” laughing at the same time, again. Ricardo’s raspy chuckle transformed into a deep, gravelly laugh echoing into the empty subway.

“Ricardo.”

“Hmm,” his eyes bored into mine, his smiley face staring at me.

“I like you,” I truth.

“Kalina.”

“Hmm.”

“I like you,” he said, I knew that there was truth in that statement. His arm wrapped around my shoulders, pulling me closer to his body, I drank in his presence, pushing my face into his chest. He was a beautiful boy and he liked me.

Chapter Fourteen

Ricardo

I took her hand in mine when we got out the subway, the crisp air was brisk, tickling my nose, tearing my eyes, and the condensation exhaled out of my mouth from the coolness. Revered by the sensations she provoked by her nearness and when our skin touched. Her tears, her being hurt and traumatised, the need to protect her even though I didn’t know what happened to her drove me up the wall, it wasn’t a curiousity, it was a burning flame of wanting to know everything about her. I didn’t need to think nor hesitate when it comes to keeping her safe, to protect her. I turned to look at her, her head arched up towards the sky, her skin glowed from the lit-up lamppost, her hair was blown away from her face, her face gave me a gentle smile, intaking a breath when the present resembled the same imagination I had when I was in my baby sister’s room. “You’re beautiful,” I whispered, saying it like it was the most natural thing. She smiled and I was content with her response, she came ahead of me, leading our locked fingers to the bench that sat two doors before her brownstone. I didn’t need her to tell me that she was well-off, or what her parents did when I found out where she lived. I didn’t care that she came from a family with money but when she did end up telling me the story of her father and her family, it made sense and all the more reasons to wait for her, to not be with her until I was able to stand on my two feet with success, taking care of my family and being able to be worthy of her. She doesn’t care where I came from, but it mattered to me, it mattered that my life was in shambles, and I’m not where I am in my life to be with a girl like her, she deserves the whole world, and I don’t have the whole world. Wait for me Kalina, wait for me.

Chapter Fifteen

Trigger warning: abuse, sexual assault.

Ricardo

“Hey Ricardo. Finish off with cleaning the tables, count the money in the till and then put the needed amount in. You can go home after, good job today,” my boss shouted as he went towards the back, to the kitchen.

“Thank you, sir,” I welcomed the silence, it was easy and peaceful. It was the calm before the storm, I embraced the serenity of being alone. My eyes closed and she appeared in my mind, her smile was wide, deepening the dent on her upper cheek, circles of small, small dimples dug on her smile lines, her eyes so bright that I could see the reflection of my face on her eyes, the dull ache within my chest had intensified. I didn’t know whether it was longing or the dilemma of my life. I miss her, I thought.

 

A loud bang resounded inside the house, it begun, and my body knew as the heaviness within my body provided me with company. “Stop it, please. I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, I’ll do anything,” the screams exploded across the house, the urge to escape was arduous.

“I hate you. I wish you were dead, slut,” he barked, my heart thudded laboriously against my chest, my head bowed down, internalising the shame I felt for my father. If hate was truly a feeling, then it was a sensation I felt for him. He thought I wasn’t here, he thought I didn’t know. But I did, I knew, I saw, I heard, and I felt, and I hated him for it.

It is a man’s job to provide, to love, and to show love, to be good to his wife and children but he was neither. He wasn’t a husband nor a father, he wasn’t a provider nor a saviour. He was a shell of a man. My mother was still whilst he screeched words at her, “I can’t wait to be inside of you, you don’t deserve nothing but terror,” he slurred, the alcohol in his system heightened his anger, a serum displaying his truth, of what he was truly made of.

“Please, Mark, please,” Mother pleaded. I wiped away the lone tear that escaped my eye, and walked into the room, intaking a large gulp of oxygen at the scene in front of me. God, did I hate him.

“What are you doing?” I said, intentional to not show the emotions coming to life beneath my skin. He looked at me, his eyes clearing the darkness that had consumed him. It was as if he was another man, as if he never realised the damage he does. He watched me, a look on his face, a face of shame, his secrets of terror he thought he hid so well was in full display.

“Nothing, I’m doing nothing son,” he voiced with loss, revolted by that word. At that moment Mother made a sound, her shoulders hunched down, and her knees and curls concealed her face. It didn’t matter because I already saw the blood, bruised up nose, eyes, and darkened cheeks.

“What are you doing?” I repeated, trying to wipe away the image of the front room from my brain.

“Nothing, I did nothing,” he returned, his eyes droopy, his pot belly protruded and his face wrinkled.

“My son, help me out,” Mother whispered, wincing with every move, clutching her night dress, her palm flat against her ribs. A surge of anger cursed through my veins but, I couldn’t react, Mother wouldn’t like it. It’s my fault, I should forget about working, and stay home so, nothing happens to anybody especially, Mother. Mark never touched me or my baby sister, Mother would hurry us up when he was home, she would hide us and shout at me whenever I protested. I know, there will come a time when something unforgiving would occur and I dread that moment because I am growing up, my responsibilities and role within my family has increased, now I’m not able to protect them.

“Let me say something to him madda,” I whispered, padding the cotton pads on her cheek, handing her a tissue for her nose.

“No,” she said at once. “Never say anything to him, it’s okay. I’ll be alright, it’s not about me, it’s about you and Samira, you two are my priority. You need to be safe and untouched, and allowing him on me will keep you and Samira safe from him.”

“No, madda. You leaving him, us leaving and going away would keep us and you safe and protected, leave him madda. Samira would appreciate it; you are keeping her safe and protected if you leave him. We can’t stay here.”

“With what money can I move away, son. With what money?” Mother whispered, shaking her head in disbelief, she didn’t have faith in herself, this is all she knew.

“I can help, madda. Let me help.”

“I can’t, you are my son. You are my responsibility, and this is my battle to deal with.”

“Madda, this had been going on for too long,” I said, her face filtered through my mind, pouring her soft, tender energy onto me, the peace of her aura washed over me like the holy water. Her being provided me with solace amongst the darkness around me.

“Madda, there is something in this world worth fighting for, waiting for, and having in this life. You deserve happiness and peace, madda. You need to do it for yourself, don’t stay in this space, don’t stay with him.” The face glimmered from the night sky, her face radiating joy and wonder as she viewed the night sky. I miss her, I thought. “There are people who you won’t know at first, who were complete strangers and then become nothing to something. Making life something greater than before. This life isn’t the only life you can have, don’t allow Samira to grow up with scars and trauma she doesn’t need, and you don’t deserve to hurt,” I whispered, wishfully hoping that the words are going through her somehow. Her body quaked with her cries, the wails ricocheted through the four walls of her room, bouncing onto me, and streaming through my soul. The boil of my blood was kept at bay as she graced me with her presence, dousing me with tranquillity.

“Everything will be okay, madda,” I consoled, the image that had calmed me disappeared as I am overcome with the need to protect my family.

Chapter Sixteen

“Would you wait for me?” Ricardo whispered. I stilled the movement of swinging my legs over the bench. The evening breeze was crisp, the air nipped my skin as it glided across my space, it was quiet between us, the both of us seated at the bench in the promenade overlooking the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridge. I regarded him silently, wondering where that question came from, he hadn’t looked at me. In fact, he never looked my way, and he was unusually quiet, a dark aura masked over him.

“Why?” I asked.

“Wondering. I want you and I like you. But you don’t deserve to be in a life where I am not ready for you, physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially. Would you ever wait for me?” he softly whispered, having a feeling that the answer I say would shift something inside of him, that somehow the response would be important to him. I regarded him, his eyes that have been honest, soft, and kind from the moment we had seen each other, his mouth that filled me with words that had soothed me, that had made me feel confident, to his body that had continued to make me feel safe, wanted, and comfortable to his words being a melodious balm to my soul.

“Why does it seem like what I say to your question would be important to you?”

“I don’t know” he shrugged, a thoughtful expression on his face. “Maybe it is, you mean something to me, you make my life extraordinary simply by being here with me. Would you wait for me?”

“I don’t know,” I answered truthfully. “It’s a big ask, who knows how long that would be. You may never be ready, you may want more from life, you may find something better because there is always something better. There are better things, better experiences, better woman, better beautiful women. What if you’re never satisfied with what life gives you? What if you never want me after you discovered the greater parts of life? You never know where life will take you,” the words streamed through my mouth with ease as if those thoughts have been unconsciously inside of me since the moment, we had spoken.

“I’ll always want you. You’re my angel, the light to my darkness,” he lightly murmured. My fingers laid flat on the bench beside my legs, I felt the hot sparks as his fingers tenderly reached for mine. Each finger pressed between each of my fingers, I dipped my head down to where our fingers were, in between our legs, sitting on the bench. His long fingers blended with my short fingers, portraying an image of someone watching over me, keeping me safe. “I’ll always want you, Kalina because you became important to me, life wouldn’t be the same without you. I won’t get this with anyone, I won’t feel this for any woman, not every woman resembles Kalina. There is only one Kalina and she is sitting beside me now,” he whispered, our fingers laced into one, sitting on top of his thigh. Our shoulder and thigh touched each other, I looked up at him, at his eyes that glittered like the stars in the night sky. I knew in these moments, this union between me and him were more than like and interest, it was earth bounding, it was greater than life, it was my soul and his soul coming together, in sync and beating rhythmically with each other, with the Universe. He was my celestial light, my Universe. He had my world in his and I knew that he always will, even if we are never together.

“What happens when life moves forward, if life evolves for you, you’ll tell me? Promise me, you’ll tell me when you go?”

“I promise, I’ll tell you when I go. When life moves forward, I’ll tell you,” he affirmed, his eyes open and honest, his fingers squeezed mine and his face came close to me. His mouth tilted upwards into a tender smile, his forehead pressed against mine, “I promise Kalina, I’ll come back for you. I won’t hurt you. Do you trust me?”

“I do,” I said in an instant. “You trust me?” I returned.

“I do,” he smiled. “Kalina.”

“Hmm.”

“I think I feel more than like.”

“Ricardo.”

“Yeah.”

“I think I feel more than like,” silence gathered between us before we burst the silence with our laughter. “You promise you’ll never hurt me?”

“I promise, Kalina. Would you wait for me?” he asked again.

“I don’t know. It’s a big ask. I’m afraid I won’t be emotionally secure for that.”

“Will you tell me who hurt you?” the anxious feeling crept up as soon as he let out the words.

“I- I don’t know if I’m ready. It is still fresh in my mind.”

“Whoever they were, they don’t deserve to be taking space in your mind, to be hurting you. Someone said to me, ‘you may never be ready for life.’ Sometimes you just have to say it without the thought of being ready because we may never be ready.”

“I know,” I sighed.

“They are dickheads too,” he added.

“They are,” I agreed, perking a grin from his reassurance, and understanding. “You are cute, you know that?”

“Kalina, only you can say that,” he muttered. For more exaggeration he looked around him, a man was running along the promenade and there was a woman walking her dog behind us.

“Don’t be so dramatic, Ricardo. There is no one here,” I huffed with a sigh of a laugh, which he responded with a gruff of a laugh like he was a boomerang.

“Come on.”

“Where are we going?” I asked.

“Anywhere. Been to a fair before?”

“Of course.”

“Ever been to one in New York?”

“Aren’t they all the same?”

“Maybe, do you like fairs?”

“I guess so.”

“Why is your mood so low?”

“I was comfortable sitting on the bench.” I muttered, he didn’t say anything in response, but he did roll his eyes.

We went to the subway to Greenwich Village, the fair was in Washington Square Park, well that was what Ricardo said as he dragged me to the train. There were rows of people surrounding the park, the Ferris wheel was grand as it stuck out from the rest of the rides. The multicoloured lights bright against the dark sky, children ran around me, laughing, and shouting at their parents. NYU students littered around the park, cheering, and whooping as fellow classmates danced whilst some sung. Some skated with no care in the world whilst others watched, the air of sugary dough wafted through the air and the smell of grilled meat hung in the air, streams of people stood in the long lines of rides and food spots, children held their parent’s hands and music resounded across the park, transforming the greenery space into a magical, fairyland.

“Where do you want to go?” Ricardo started.

“I don’t know,” I said quietly, getting lost in the actions that are taking place around me. “This is amazing,” I breathed, at awe of how the place had mystified and humanised the people.

“Come on,” he shouted, dragging me to a cart where they were making pancakes and crepes. On one side they had sugary sweetness and the other were savoury, my eyes were in a whirlwind as I watched the spectacle of the fairyland. “What do you want?” He asked, bringing me out of the magical daze. I studied the menu which hung on the wooden wall of the cart, innumerable options left me indecisive.

“I’ll just have crepes with sugar and cinnamon on top please.” I reached for my purse from my backpack, hurriedly handing my card just in time as Ricardo stretched his arm forward to give the person cash, relieved when the card pinged approved.

“Can I have strawberry pancakes with white chocolate sauce and white chocolate swirls please, thank you.” Once he ordered, we moved aside for the other people behind us to order.

“Kalina, that is the only time you are paying, okay?” Ricardo whispered perkily.

“Mmm,” I sounded, “you genuinely don’t need to pay for me.”

“It’s not about need, it’s that I want to. I want to be able to pay for you,” he said. “You don’t need to pay when you’re with me okay.”

“You won’t let me huh?”

“No, I don’t want you to.”

“What if we share the expenses, so you pay for the next one and then I pay for the one after?”

“No, Kalina. When you’re with me, I want to pay for you. Let me have this?” He said as if he wouldn’t budge, and he never wanted to budge.

“Okay fine. You can do it,” I said in admission.

“Order no. 9,” the crepe maker shouted.

“I’ll bring it,” he said before I even moved from where I was standing. I shook my head, floored in how he was with me. I watched his back, his face smiling up at the lady with my order. He came back to me, both of his hands laid flat on the bottom of the paper. “Coming back,” he hollered over his shoulder. My heart was overflowing, pouring incandescently throughout my body. He came over to me, groaning at the stack of pancakes, his features loose and soft around his hard edges.

“Why are you so nice to me?” I voiced, questioning whether he was a manifestation that had truly become my reality or a fragment of my imagination.

“Why am I so nice to you?” he muttered back, his eyes curious and confused.

“Mhmm.”

“You have been nice to me,” he answered, but then paused, his brows furrowed and thoughtful. “When someone is nice to you, you are nice back,” he simply worded as if that was the logical reason.

“That’s not always the case, Ricardo. You can be kind-hearted, have good intentions and be giving, but they’ll still treat you unjustly.”

“That is true. All the more reason to be nicer to each other, kind hearts will always recognise kind hearts,” he murmured. “But that isn’t the reason why I’m the way I am with you. You mean something to me, you are kind to me, a beautiful soul that only deserves good things happening to her. I can never be mean to you, it’ll hurt me.”

“You talk about me not deserving you, but it feels like I don’t deserve you,” I said when we found an empty bench to sit on.

“Maybe we needed to find each other to show that we deserve good things happening to us,” he uttered with a faraway expression.

“Thank you for being good to me.”

“Never say thank you to me, Kalina. Whatever I do for you is because you deserve it, I want and need for you to be happy when you’re with me. I need your smile.”

“You’re so kind,” I sniffled, the tears worked their floodgates again, and attempting to consciously breath in a futile manner to control my emotions.

“They’re not worthy of carrying that pain, Kalina. Don’t let them keep hurting you.”

“It’s not that easy,” I said.

“I know. Kalina.”

“Hmm.”

“You’re beautiful,” he whispered, his words illuminating my soul.

“Thank you.”

“Kalina.”

“Yes.”

“No more, saying thank you.”

“Hard adjustment to make.”

“Then I’ll keep on telling you, I’ll keep on reminding you. Come on,” he started.

“Where are we going?”

“Somewhere.”

“Where,” I persisted, he didn’t answer me. He took my hand, halting at the queue of the Ferris wheel ride. “Such a cliché,” I laughed.

“I can be a cliché… sometimes,” he retorted, wearing a smile on his face. I looked up at the Ferris wheel, it was high up in the clouds, the lights were like the gasses and knots from the constellation of Aquarius. We stood there for what felt like forever, anticipation sunk into my veins as the adrenaline sizzled beneath my skin.

“Next,” the man held the gate to the entrance, calling out for the next people in line. Ricardo pulled us forward, crossing the barricade to the Ferris wheel, people who were on the ride seemed jovial – lovers, family, friends, and those alone were mirthful and young. We stepped into the empty cabin, nerves amplified, and the crackle of adrenaline heightened. The man put down the safety rail in front of us and locked the door, the music resonated through the air, whirring as the mechanics of the wheel worked itself. Then the adrenaline streamed quietly away into nothingness, replaced with the feeling of awe, bewitched, and captivated by the commotion happening below me and above me. Fireworks exploded, and reverberated, shaking the ground from the vibration. The crackle of the rockets oscillated through my body and bounced up to the sky. The pyrotechnics shot through the seams, flowing into each other and flowered the deep sky.

“It’s beautiful,” I breathed, enamoured by my surroundings.

“Yeah, she is beautiful,” he worded, I turned to him. His eyes caressed my face, wearing a light smile. The lights gleamed heavenly across his face and his dark complexion shimmered lustrously against the beams of colours. His eyes were on me for what felt like the longest time, the sounds of the people echoed through the atmosphere. I looked away, the intensity consumed me with electricity and flutters purring through my veins. Mesmerised by the pictorial views beneath us and above us, the lights blazed and alighted the dark clouds. The moon glowed her snowy hue onto us, the night clouds wrapped around her, cocooning her, moving her like the waves. 

“I’ll wait for you,” I whispered, the Ferris wheel stopped at the top of the circle. The sights of the buildings were stunning, the flickers of lights blinked, and the seas of skyscrapers seemed infinite. At this moment, life felt infinite, connections are infinite, and I know this connection would be monumental to my life.

“You will?” He murmured.

“I’ll wait for you, come back to me, okay?”

“I’ll come back to you, Kalina. I promise you.”

“Okay. Ricardo.”

“Yes.”

“You scare me.”

“You scare me too.”

Authors Note: These are segments of the character Ricardo Opheseus from the selected chapters that reflect his character development, his POV and significant moments that takes place in his life. I hope you enjoyed reading. Chapter six, seven, thirteen, and sixteen are my personal favourite.

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 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.

Love

poem

Love. We don’t know what it means. There is no rational, logical meaning.

Writing this down, trying to find the words to explain what love is and coming short. How does one express, describe the one element of life that surrounds us, we can’t see, nor touch, but we feel. We feel the vibrations, the energies of another person, of our thoughts and passions.

Love, the priceless gift sourced from the Universe.

Love, the freeing air that engulfs us, bringing us to life.

Love, making us weak, succumbing us to the energy and yet, feeling alive, powerful, and infinite all the same.

Love. We know the beauty of love but, somehow think we are above it, think that we can run away from it, play with it. We know the beauty of love but don’t cherish it. We know the beauty of love and yet, think our lives doesn’t revolve around love.

Love is the energy that envelopes us, ingrained within our souls, in our hearts. We thrive through love, through embracing love and being love.

Love is our truest, purest form.

Love is the essence of life. Love is the unknown source of life that fits our puzzles, melds our life with blessings and peace.

Love is the beauty that carries us through this life, keeping us afloat. We are love. We are surrounded by love. It is the fundamental essence that teaches us the ways of life and what it means to us.

We are love, not because of its feelings, the ego-self or the mind. But the fact that we yearn for it, it is an energy, it is a gift so profound that it allows us to prosper and become one with our being.

I am love, by loving another. I have found my love by moving with love, keeping love in my heart, and within my fingertips.

Love is the living energy connecting us with the Universe. 

I love you, my love.

Talking to the Moon.

Blog, Story

The clouds cocooned the moon, the moon 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, the coolness washing over my sand pillowed feet. My heart full, my soul sound, enveloped within Earth’s nature. The crisp air clinched onto my skin, the waves moving in sync with the gentle gust of the wind. The silence 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, 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 gratitudes 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, 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 potentials. Unclear about what the future holds; hoping, wishing and wanting” I say absent-mindedly, 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 it. The pangs of longing sharpening within the chambers of the heart. I miss him. He isn’t listening. Can you see him? The thoughts of him filling my head. The stars can see him too huh? We don’t know what love is 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 is shimmering 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 pumping, thrashing against your chest and blooms. Coming 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 making you feel unhinged, crazy. The Universe laughing at our despair but, soothes us with unconditional kindness of our blessings that are yet to come,” I ended. My fingers played with the sand. The moon arose higher, 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 body lax; a deep presence within me. Inviting his energy, a soul presence that never left my heart, the comfort and security enwreathed my body, gripping my heart. The moon hidden in behind the clouds, that one flickering star gone. The fallen, shooting star.

“He is listening,” whispered the Universe.

Solitude is Your Power

Blog, Love

Since young, we knew about love. We see the love between our parents, have love for our siblings, family and friends. To some we love by being dreamers, for our passions, and for our Planet Earth. We are taught about love. We see love. We know of love and yet, we are not taught about self-love. The power and beauty love holds when we make space for ourselves. When we fill our cup and appreciate our own company. Relationships and romanticism are notions that have influenced our social perceptions since we were young. We have created an identity for ourselves when we are in romatic relationships, placing our values in whether or not we’re in a relationship, especially with the pressure of being a woman. As women, we are taught that we are valued, we have a place in this society when we are in a relationship, when we are taken by a man.

Not many are comfortable with being alone. Many of us are scared of being alone, of living our lives alone. Obsessing over the psychological time, think that we are running out of time, and don’t have the time to fall in love or be in a relationship. When these are simply social constructs and have no significant value. Why do we put a time stamp when it comes to finding love? Why are we allowing ourselves to be pressured into finding love? Why do we not celebrate being single? Why is there such unease in being alone?

The power of self-love is being able to embrace aloneness. There’s power in knowing yourself, having a relationship with yourself and being comfortable in your being. The power of self-love is when you’re able to pick yourself up when nobody sees. The power of self-love is knowing your worth and not tolerating men who don’t know how to treasure you nor love you. The power of aloneness is being self-sufficient, independent, and sure of yourself, knowing that you can rely on yourself in the lowest of times. You are able to be friends with your soul and nourish your soul. So, when your lover comes into your life, they’ll flourish your being, your energy and protect it, love will be extraordinary.

The beauty of love is when you and your lover find each other, entering each other’s life the way they’re supposed to. Your love will come, and it’ll be everything you’ve wished for. Patience truly is a virtue.

Love is the source of life, love will come to you in the most unexpected ways. That being said, for the sake of desiring a relationship, for love don’t allow anyone to be in your space. Your energy is valuable. Not everyone can care for it and reciprocate it. You’ll just end up hurting yourself in the process of desiring a relationship, it’s not worth it. There is innumerable amount of power in self-discovery, self-awareness and self-reflection. There is power in healing, in enjoying your own company, your being, feeling comfortable being alone and being at peace with yourself. That is the true beauty of oneness. Being whole and complete with yourself. Being able to remain one with yourself. That is your power, being one with life.

Hues of Yearning

Blog, poetry

Stagnant. Stuck. Lost.

The sharp tinges of pain echoing inside the hollow canvases of my heart.

“I miss you” I whisper into the night sky.

The moon illuminating luminously against the dark, starry sky. Gazing up at the flickering, twinkling celestial orbs.

“I miss you” I murmur into nothingness, the burning sensation within the heart transforming into flames.

The hues of longing still, motionless. Reaching into every corner of my being. Consuming.

Moments of happiness burrowing the deep-rooted yearning.

The hues of longing clawing at my inflamed heart, scratching at the heart to relieve the pain.

Lips quivering, nose tickling as tears fall, dampening the skin. Unleashing the dam.

The blazing, raging ache gripping my soul.

“I miss you” I breathe into the void. The syllables falling from my lips as my voice breaks.

The yearning pinching my heart, clutching my throat.

“He isn’t listening” I utter. The shrapnel exploding into the abyss of my soul.

Stagnant. Stuck. Lost.

Breaking Generational Curses

Blog, Self

Growing up I always felt alienated from the Bangladeshi community. Not understanding why I felt this way, not comprehending why I couldn’t connect with family members, why I didn’t have mutual interests with my cousins. Not knowing why I couldn’t relate to the norms and traditions of my culture that never made sense to me.

I was that introverted, socially awkward girl who would sit quietly in a corner of the room, surrounded by people but not speak, just observing. Listening to older generations talking to each other, gossiping about each other. Throwing ‘harmless’ jokes at each other, commenting on other people “when are they getting married?” “She’s of age now.” When are you going to have children?” And if you go against the norm you’re instantly ostracised, exiled. Wincing to everything they’d say, never aligning with the ways they were, their beliefs, and values. It was never about belonging, it was the realisation that my life’s meaning, my purpose was different. It was to break the restrictive norms and traditions for future generations. It was to break the norms that society held of girls, of women. It was to heal the generations to come, it was to break the generational traumas and values that had no significant values. My purpose wasn’t going through the traditional route.

Transitioning into an adult, seeing the unspoken traumas, generational unhealed sadness that I realised the norms, ideations that existed never had an essential purpose. It simply confined the people, immobilised us to mind-ego and never seeing the light, the beauty of life. It isn’t just about the traditional route of going to university and graduating, nor about getting married by 25 and having children. It’s the gaps that reside in those spaces of conforming to these concepts. It’s the regret of not doing more in life, not knowing what your purpose is and why you’re here. It’s the pain, suffering they have of blindly following man-made societal norms and projecting the traumas that were created onto the future generations, onto the children. The trauma and suffering repeating like a cycle.

It never was about connecting with my community because that meant I affiliated with the societal norms that were created. It is about breaking the generational curses that controlled, imprisoned them because they never saw an extraordinary life. They simply saw the life of survival. The need to survive. It is my purpose to crack open, and break the generational curses, so the future generations don’t have to worry about breaking norms that limited them.

Intimacy

Blog, poetry

Streaming, seeping, ever flowing energy between two lovers.

My soul wanting to devour his mystical being.

His loving aura, his love for me addictive, devoted to only him.

His body close to mine, encasing me, fire burning inside for him.

Wanting him to take all of me, wanting to give him all of me.

Because that is what he has made me, a crazy lover.

His intimacy is my constant yearning.

My soul light and free.

His love florets my heart.

Thanking the Universe for giving him to me.

Thanking the Universe for giving me unconditional love in him.

Our souls burning together, creating a passionate, blazing inferno.

My love for him pure, limitless, and transcendental.

 

 

 

Musings: Fate

Love, poetry

Fate is like the ocean that comes swooping into the shore. The ricocheting essence

overwhelming you yet, soothing you.

Fate is the unknown, leading you to your one. To your purpose.

Fate bringing two souls together, connecting them, interlocking them through the lifetime and the here-after.

Shocking you, moving you. Fixing your missing enigmas and putting you together.

Gifting you your light, your meaning, your purpose.

Suddenly life makes sense.

Creating series of circumstances like a domino, trembling your core when you are at the crest.

Two aching souls bind, unite through the purity of their love.

Fate is the unknown.

Fate is the essence enriching, radiating your light.

Two souls intertwining, seeking, finding, and loving each other.

The unknown is where you find love.

He is my one.

He is my unknown.

He is my fate.

Now I know.

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