As narrated by Meez:
“It started last year; few days before we went on the roadtrip. It was Noor’s birthday party. Noor from Grade 11. I don’t know the full story but apparently her father ‘booked out’ a club, because they wouldn’t have allowed under 18s, and there were only drinks for ‘adults’. He gave her limits, boundaries, what ever you want to call it, which she and many others obviously overstepped. I didn’t enjoy it to be honest. I don’t even know why I keep going back. The dance floor was too full, the music was too loud, the lights were too flashy, and all the guys just wanted to fight, for no specific reason. I can’t say it was fun, but I got into it faster than I thought I would and I surprisingly left feeling good, even though I hadn’t really had fun, if you get what I mean. The morning after that night though, I woke up feeling like shit. That was the same morning we left for the roadtrip. Everything basically slowly started going downhill from there, and the way I see it, as soon as you get up and leave, things are going to just keep going downhill, only really fast this time.”
Her hands wrap around her glass of water, so cold that it has become fully misted. Her expression remains blank, exactly like how it had been when she sat down.
I sigh, continuing.
“I don’t know why I keep on going, because I don’t really enjoy myself. It just gives this… I don’t know. (I pause, thinking of a way to explain it to her.) It’s something like starting a fire. You start of by collecting your means to build the fire. You light the fire and as you fuel it, it slowly gets bigger. And then, once you’ve felt like you’ve had enough, you put out the fire, and it slowly burns out. Or, it goes out of control, and someone has to be a hero and extinguish it for you. Either way, the fire eventually dies, and once it’s dead, all that’s left is ash. In this case my ‘friends’ are my means. As of this period in time, I feel like I’ve still got control, but I haven’t quite had enough. And that is why I haven’t stopped fueling the fire. I’m fully aware that if I don’t stop soon, it’s going to go out of control. But it’s giving me too much warmth right now to stop. It’s ironic, really, because I usually just end up feeling numb, as if I’m cold; frozen. And as much as I don’t like it, I don’t feel like I want to stop it either. Sure, that feeling once the fire has died is crap, but it’s worth that period when the fire is at it’s best, crackling away with just the right amount of wood and coal.”
I pause, sipping at my own glass of water, not quite near as cold as hers. I look at her face, searching for any sign of emotion, but there is none. Her jaw is set, her eyes are blank and I find myself wondering how does she do that? It’s like she has switched herself off, like she’s somehow disallowed herself to feel.
Surely that’s not possible.
“Part of me doesn’t want to do this, doesn’t want to live this new life of late night outs, chics and lying to my parents, and the other part of me just.. I don’t know.. almost wants to do this. It’s like I’d do anything to learn to say no to living this life, but I’d also do anything to remove the word no from the dictionary. I feel somewhat pressurized and I don’t want to give in, I don’t want to be pressurized to do anything. I want to do what I want to do, not what people want me to do. But lately I can’t really tell the difference.”
I stop, breathing in deeply.
“Dee, I saw your sister at a club.”
She reacts, finally.
But her reaction is only a long sip of that ice cold water. And then her jaw is set again. However, now, her eyes aren’t just looking into mine.
It’s as if she’s throwing every action that she’s refusing to act out, yelling every word that she’s refusing to yell out aloud, and expressing every feeling she’s refusing to feel, through her eyes; in a single piercing gaze.
I direct my own gaze at the wall behind her, slightly unsettled.
I pull in a deep breath of air and then start speaking again.
“I saw her from a distance. She was with a guy, as many of the girls were. Obviously thinking it was you, I got angry. I approached them, not really thinking sanely. I threw a punch, he ducked, and I got angrier. And then he kissed her, to show me that he didn’t give a shit about what I was saying, to show me that he was the boss.”
She lifts the glass to her mouth again, but this time the water spills.
Her hands are shaking.
I reach for the glass, afraid she might drop it, but her grip tightens, easing the unsteadiness of her hands.
“When he kissed her, that’s when I knew something was amiss. You’d never let a guy do that to you. Heck, you’d never even go near a club! So I turned to look at her.. properly this time.”
“Dee, you and Dayyanah are so identically same, yet so drastically different at the same time, that it’s almost impossible. She’s got ear piercings, she’s dyed her hair, and she’s lost a lot of weight from the last I saw her.”
“She recognized me, because when I turned to leave, she followed me out. She told me not to tell you that I saw her. I asked her why not. I told her you’d be happy to hear from her.(Long pause) Dee, I hate to be the one to say it to you..”
I stop, trying to think of a nice way to say my next words.
But there is no pretty way of saying ugly words.
“Dee.. she said.. (Deep breath) she said that she doesn’t want anything to do with you.”