Kamsi has left Coach Ken with the sad eyes. The lint free mirror set down as the last piece in her new apartment is where she looks out through, searching for a deeper meaning in the wreckage of their pairing.
Her fingers dig out her past thoughts, analyzing them, fixing them into themselves carefully; answers into questions, bits into pieces then wholly in its dimensionless realm. The result lets her know that in those moments, her attention was always focused on just one part of the picture, unconsciously neglecting the others because it was its best feature.
Her romantic relationships were sometimes deemed unhealthy, other-times unfortunate and all-of-the-time bound to end by her peers but they were always successful to her own understanding.
She swore by honesty especially when it came time to extend that nicety to herself. There was joy when a person navigating their feelings without shame burst into the window of her life. So she had no problem admitting to herself that she was a parasite. Some kind of self-evolution that produced guilt and shame made her try to feast on herself but it only meant ceasing to exist.
When she started dating Mr. Ken, she thought pain lay deep in the layers of his eyes, those eyes that spoke sorrow even when his laughter rejected the idea. They must have seen horrible things and held on to them, for her to fish them out and keep recycling them into numbness and nothingness.
She had done all she could to carve it out, slowly and precisely, peeling its soft flesh from his strength. She had pretended to be someone he could trust, tailoring her person to oppose bad reviews of his exes she could force out of him, going above and beyond his expectations and always ready with apologies for her failures.
In her core she promised him a burial ground for him to dispose all his heart wrenching worries, full of understanding, compassion and comfort but Coach Ken just wouldn’t budge. In some sense it made it more interesting, the unravelling, little glimpses during nights of heavy intoxication and vulnerability.
In the meantime, she did what Kamsi did best, like a beggar with her cell number, she told strangers on the internet to message her if they needed to talk about anything and the messages came frequently to her because therapy was a bit pricy. She would sit crying till her heart was full and relief washed ashore somewhere in her. But it was never enough; her greed was an insatiable beast.
There was always an unshakable resignation to whatever situations people faced. She had seen it in Fikayo, the illegitimate son of the CEO of king’s n Kin group of companies. He was also proof that pain was best experienced in person and not just read or heard about.
She loved death, death of any kind. There was an unchanging gray of grief over people when they lost someone they loved, when they felt a bit of their lifeform had been taken. And in as much as people grieved in their own way, there was a certainty to the pain; it was a blinking red light in the gray held up by a mountain of regret and sadness on their tongues when memories visited, the fear of where they’d end up, the guilt of forgetting the shape and texture of their faces, the panic when they appeared in dreams or we mistook them for someone in a crowd or heard the warmth in their voices, even more reliable was the pain when they betrayed you in death as his father had done, leaving him and his mother with nothing.
The 1% were a bit plastic with their grief mostly because they were shielded by personal agendas. There was always more to live for when it came to them. She had thought of killing too but the overall idea of it was too stressful and messy.
She tried universities and though there were some, the chase and the work to fully immerse herself in the experience was not worth it. The pain and sadness they felt was fleeting, she didn’t have the patience, frankly the hustle made her lose a lot of weight. on accident scenes, there was mostly numbness and shock. The pain was shallow at best and the depth she desired took more time to settle in, to transform itself to a sorrow of enormous weight. There were also times she went back during recovery for fatal cases when pity was the only apology people could wear, you were alive but believe you are fated to an austere life.
She applied to work at hospitals. They were hotels she would never have to check out of. She loved the unique disguises family members wore to mask the smell of their pain, certain it wasn’t comparable to that of the person admitted. It created a high when she got them to open up to her, when they involved her in their ceremonies. She had favorite patients, journals full of death anniversaries to relive the pain with their family members but sometimes it got overwhelming, the way perfect things can be stifling,
Out of the blue, ken would start fights, till she was tipping to tears even though it didn’t take long.
Then he would try to comfort her, leaving her confused and swollen in the mouth with emotion.
Ken knew what type of predator she was, there was no criminal name for it so he had taken it upon himself to be the system, the mouthpiece of justice.
He had watched her, just as she watched him torture his gym members till they threw up and cried; it was art to her, to search another’s mind and use it against them till they were at their breaking point
when she realized that she was in fact the prey and not the predator and that beautiful people were capable of the worst things, she packed up his mirror and gym equipment he kept at home and moved them into her new apartment because it was always easy to tell when things were starting to go south, mostly, asides him also having another woman.
Ezihe believed her ability to cry on demand was a superpower, without the downside of possible mass destruction. She wrote it on the dotted lines that enquired about one’s talent in questionnaires immediately she saw them, It was a no brainer. She also fought constantly on the credibility of the skill by employing it suddenly during arguments, as proof. There was no science or pre sensation to it; it was just a special skill a few other people could do.
She told her sick father she was going to be a professional mourner and he died disappointed, leaving her with the rest of his debt for practice. She also started her own company in the house, a glittery signboard hung outside from its roof ‘grief cocktails’ to help express emotions people couldn’t process. You could watch auditions of all her staff crying including the men she employed to diversify the space and for more authenticity, tailoring your event to each sound, the tempo, timbre but business was slow because people were moving on from the past and didn’t need mourners as much anymore but she had rent to pay so she needed a roommate. She put the sign outside leaving the heavy lifting to her agent.
They meet in the living room. The new tenant is a girl from another part of town but there is an intimate knowing. They have both been seeing ken even though they would find out later that Ezihe was only helping him process what he took from Kamsi. They spend the night arguing about whose city sleeps the least since they haven’t gotten over the awkwardness of the whole situation, still deciding when it would be the right time to start sharing secrets and talking about their own struggles,
- what else is there to talk about really except the things that tie their breathing and keep them up at night