Fiction that never was


 

She saw me first. Squealing and almost sprinting, she bear-hugged me from behind and tickled me senseless – something she knew I despised. I was too happy to see her to care. I pinched her cheeks and rolled my eyes at her fat cheeks. She scoffed and told me she was going to learn the soundtrack in Mr. Bones just to sing for me. Fits of laughter engulfed me.

 

It had been 6 years since I last saw her. We had exchanged just two letters within that period. We spoke of the past and our childhood. The short walks after school, sitting in front of the administration slabs waiting for her driver to pick us up and pretending we weren’t drooling at cute boys.

The childish arguments and our make-up sessions; whoever faulted bought the other a yellow packaged yoghurt. Which was funny, because I always bought that yoghurt on borrowed money from her. Money that she never made me pay back.

I remember the confusion and trauma she had to go through when her parents separated, how much she hated the thread of women her dad was sewing through, how scared I was when she went missing for two days, and sitting in the class freaking out hoping the police wouldn’t ask me if I knew where she was. I didn’t want to be the one to tell them her mother had ‘stolen’ her for a few days.

The numerous tales she spun to her father, the numerous tales her father spun to her.

Those two made me laugh at the intricacies of a simple life

I remember her father asking me what I wanted to be in future. And how she chipped in before I could reply that I was about to mention something fancy. I giggled and told him I wanted to be a trillion things. He asked me to mention one and I remember telling him I didn’t know the name of that profession but I wanted to work on people’s brain. With a surprised look he’d asked if I meant a neurologist. I shrugged, because I hadn’t heard the word before.

He smiled at me and promised to buy me something special if I could help his daughter figure out what she wanted to do. The memory of her sticking her tongue out at her dad and I made me smile.

I remember how we used to chide Afua under our breaths for her obsessive enthusiasm over mathematics; a subject we both hated. Our collective hatred of maths was directly proportional to how much Mr. Lomotey talked about how mastering his formulae made him excel when he was in primary 6.

 

Growing up and moving to new schools had created a bridge. I lost her number, she lost mine. I wrote her a two-page letter in high school. She replied with a lengthier one and signed off with three hearts. I remember how different she sounded. How grown up, how seemingly mature, how different my Akyaa had grown.

That was six years ago.

Bumping into her that afternoon was a pleasant surprise. She wanted us to meet up the following day and catch up. I was travelling the next day, so I couldn’t make it. I promised to let her know as soon as I was back so we could hang out.

Weeks later, Ab calls asking if I knew when the funeral was. Confused, I asked who had died….

I remember hearing my heart beat in my ear. I remember screaming no over and over, and sobbing helplessly. I remember praying endlessly asking God to bring her back. I’d seen it on tv several times. He could do it for me too, couldn’t he?

Akyaa was dead. She’d died in a motor accident.

First it was shock. And then disbelieve. She couldn’t be dead. She just couldn’t

Then the tears came. I cried so hard. As if, if God saw how miserable I was, he would bring her back..

And then the numbness embraced me…..

 

I lay wishing I had spent more time with her, called more often. Hanged out with her instead of traveling that day.. guilt plagued my insides…

And the uncertainty of life unsettled me

 

Everybody said she was in a better place. I hoped she was

I hope she is…

 

Me na


I didn’t really want to be here. I didn’t want to be here at all. Ayeley had dragged me across the wall and made us jump a 3 feet wall. I could feel the sweat trickling in between my breasts. I hate sweat. It makes me stink like the exasperated bi-coloured poo of a constipated dog.

 

The only place I wanted to be was in the dorm, under the shower. For an hour.

 

Besides I had a date with my genetalia. Our very first date. I had been acting coy for too long. It wanted my attention; and give it, I was going to. I had even filed my nails in anticipation

 

Not until Ayeley the rusted tuba decided running across halls and jumping 3 feet walls was the new cool. I slipped my hands into my pocket. I wanted to be sure Me na was still lodged safely in there. Me na was an aswang I had stolen from Ayeley’s history class. It was a wooden doll of a creature with bat like wings that was trying to morph back into a woman with vampirish teeth or vice versa. I couldn’t tell. The doll fascinated me. It was an embodiment of two beings struggling to have their image take control of one body. Something like a multiple personality disorder, only difference was it wasn’t just the personalities that were in multiples. I named it Me na, after my step father’s mother because she had an ugly trait of pouring the piss from her ill infested chamber pot into our dog’s drinking bowl whenever my step father wasn’t watching. 

Me na was safe

Image

 

“Are you going to help me push or you’re quite okay fondling your pocket? Is there a testicle in there?”

Ayeley’s irritating voice interrupted my thoughts.

 

“Dumbass!”  I hit her hand before she could touch my pocket.

If she found out I had Me na, she would find a body part on me to castrate. She claimed she had found a hideout in the pantry, 3 steps to the left of the glossed cupboard, an underground staircase was right there. She also claimed some students had already discovered the hideout and were indulging in orgies. I didn’t believe her of course. I was just allowing her to tug me along because I would need a favour another day and who best to ask than my half crazy best friend?

 

I struck my shoulder against a painting of a wounded lamb on the wall which actually happened to be a pantry door and helped her push it open. The place smelled of fresh bread. Ayeley pulled me by my jeans before I could get a chance to open any of the cupboards. I reluctantly followed her lead and was mildly surprised when we found a latch on the ground. There was a hideout after all.  

I followed Ayeley as she descended the stairs ever so slowly as if we were entering wolves den.

There were about 15 people in the underground room. No one seemed to notice us, or care that we were not one of them. I assumed it was an open place for only those who could find it. The room smelled of old age and depression, and the people looked like they were in a nonchalant regime.

 

Yetty was the first person I recognized. That girl’s behind was the definition of perfection. Her bum was shaped perfectly as if it were a painting to be entered in a competition for a Pulitzer award.

 And her face? Sad story; her face was screwed up as if God had asked her what etymology was before she could spell her name. She had her legs crossed and was filing her nails like she didn’t have a care in the world.

Ayeley and I had slid into the shadows and sunk ourselves into a couch. Everyone in there looked too cool, to be cool. The faces looked familiar. There were more of them than I thought. My hand found its way to the insides of my pocket. I traced my fingers on the edges of Me na

Suddenly the place became like an overcrowded stall. Everyone was talking; loud whispers and hushed tones. For a brief moment it was a reincarnation of the tower of Babel. I felt slightly dizzy. I shook my head mildly as if to clear a fog of uneasiness. I scanned the room again. Something weird was happening; I could hear a lot of talking but no one’s lips was moving.

I looked to my left. There was a girl in a red sweater and black beaded slippers.

 

“I’m 8 days late. I may just be freaking out but please Lord, let me bleed”

 

Her lips were not moving but I could swear on my last pack of smarties that what I just heard came from her. I wanted to ask her if she was just being retarded or there was a new god I was unaware of. A fat boy sat next to her.

 

”I wonder what she’s wearing under those tight jeans. I hope it’s a thin line I can just pull off. I don’t mind penetrating that at all”

 

My lips rounded into the word “perv” before I could stop myself. The fatso looked surprised. Nobody was talking.

Where were these voices coming from? I was too bewildered to be freaked out

 

“How am I supposed to know how many bosons there are if I don’t know what symmetry the system starts with? This professor treats physics like it’s a wonder god”

A cute boy in blue stripped glasses was squinting at nothingness with a furrowed brow with a piece of paper in hand.

 

Ayeley had upturned her lip. “No orgies, just a bunch of boring people”

I shook my head again and scanned the room.

 

“I love Yayra, but I’m not ready to stop seeing Afia.

 

“I hope Sir Jones recognizes the hardwork I put into this project”

 

“I need new panties, new comfortable sexy panties. Shopping for them is such a chore”

 

I took my hand out of my pocket. And there was silence…….

 No loud whispers, no hushed tones

Ayeley jabbed my rib

“Come on Mensima, let’s leave; no….

“No orgies, just boring people huh?” I finished the sentence for her

 

She nods and heads for the stairs…..