I propped up against the pillows while sitting on my bed, ready to recite the night prayer. I then imagine I should pull myself together and confess to this Supreme invisible Being since I will not have the audacity to do that behind that small-holed cardboard at the confession room in Church. This will be among the many sins I hold back every time I go for confession; I tell myself. You see, the confession prayer concludes as follows “….and for those sins that I may have forgotten to mention, I pray that the Lord may have mercy.” So, technically, that will be among the sins I forgot to mention.
Memories of what I had done would replay intermittently, with images flashing in my mind in monochrome while I would beg them to stop. I immediately shrank myself (literally) and slid deep inside the blankets mumbling how sorry I was and would bring back normalcy if given the chance. Then I remember the good old days when I was young and innocent. At least I did not do it myself, I would silently console myself beneath the uncomfortable beddings I was in as mosquitoes buzzed around hungrily.
I crave for human interaction so that I could get distracted from all the thoughts that have rented space in my head. I glance at my phone before switching on the power button and the image that is reflected on the screen is of a totally different girl. I knew this girl before. She was everything I wanted to be: charming, full of life, funny, goofy and would even laugh at her own jokes. But split second, she is someone different. No one has to find out about this, they will judge you; these uptight self-righteous, self-important, perfect human beings.
It was on a Sunday afternoon and normally we would invite friends for lunch and watch animation thereafter. But on this day, most of our friends were not around and neither was my roommate. I had not gone to church which was unusual and could not stop thinking about Lemaiyan even after trying to distract myself. I would take Khaled Hosseini’s book to read but then I recall that his tone is mainly melancholic and that would worsen my current state. I would then consider watching a romantic comedy series but this made me think about him even more. I tried sending him a text message again, this was the eleventh, I was counting. I would check on my phone after every second for his reply. The ache of his absence was my unremitting companion. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, they say.
We had dated for nine months now and things had been great between us; so great that we were the most enviable couple in school. He was in his last year pursuing Computer Science. I always had a soft spot for computer nerds since I was young; perhaps because I was a nerd too. Like attracts like, scientists say. However, I was afraid that our relationship would go down the drain after a heated argument we had on Thursday evening. We had not communicated since then; he did not pick my calls nor reply to my text messages and this made me even more anxious. I now pictured our relationship like a sinking ship, capsizing, the waves had been too much and we just hit the tip of the iceberg.
I buried my face in my hands while lying on my bed with the belly facing down and thought of how petty and egocentric Lemeiyan was. At that moment, I heard a light knock on the door and hesitated to open since I did not expect a visitor. I had deceived my friends that I would spend the weekend at my grandma’s place. I assumed it was the plumber since I had earlier reported to the house caretaker that my kitchen sink was clogged.
“Lemaiyan! I have been worried sick about you. Is everything alright?,” I said looking puzzled.
“I thought you loved surprises and look, your roommate isn’t around. Perfect timing, I guess.” He said while biting his lower lip.
Hearing him crack a joke made me feel at ease and for a moment, I thought he had probably forgotten about the argument we had earlier.
“You handsome little whizzy man. Come in.” I said flashing a grin on my face.
After serving him a drink and making fun of his new haircut, we heard a bang on the door. It was Chemuttai, but we mainly called her by her sobriquet, Chemu. She was my roommate’s best friend who had self-esteem issues despite boys in her class commending on her looks. She would ever grumble that her cheeks were too chubby, legs too flabby and arms muscular and at times gloat over her weight. My roommate never failed to remind her that she was beautiful just the way she was. She came in running and panting heavily with droplets of sweat on her dainty nose.
“Your roommate is in trouble; she just passed out as we were on our way here. She had earlier complained of a severe headache and dizziness but we both took it lightly. A young man just helped us rush her to the hospital in school,”
“You need to hear me out first before we go there,” Lemaiyan said abruptly looking rather uneasy.
“That can wait,” I said as I slipped my skinny feet inside my shoes, grabbed my jacket and the house keys. Lemaiyan was still seated unmoved and trembling lightly.
“I am the young man who helped her rush your roommate to the hospital.”
I stared at him for a moment and looked directly in his eyes. He was not himself; not my charming little whizzy man. I recoiled, moved a few steps back to where he was, then walked out of the room and wished to say something but did not seem to find the appropriate words. As we walked down the flight of stairs, I lagged behind and reminded him that he could confide in me.
“I am the one behind all this. Your roommate. We have been seeing each other for a while now. I am so sorry. I know that was so stupid of me. I thought getting rid of her would help our relationship grow. Please…no one should know about this,” He drew closer professing his undying love for me and I pushed him slightly where he skid and rolled over the staircase.
There is an irritating sound caused by a spoon which just fell. I fidgeted then opened my eyes only to see my roommate preparing breakfast. I gave her a frightened look followed by asking “You good?” as opposed to my usual excited and loud good morning greetings. Her facial expression was blank. She then forced the muscles on the edges of her mouth to form a smile. I heave a sigh of relief “I am glad. I had an appalling dream. Do you have any plans for this beautiful day? What should we put on; short fancy dress or tight jeans? We’re wearing make-up and rocking the day, right? I think I will dye the tips of my hair blue.”
She seemed restless, not the usual bubbly soul I was used to. She stood aghast then coldly replied “I just need some time and place alone to exorcise my demons. They cannot stop tormenting me,” then added, her voice sounding bitter “For the record, you also need some soul-searching to do. Investigations are underway you douche bag! And the body underneath your bed isn’t going to bury itself. Lemaiyan couldn’t have done that. We tricked you dummy and you fell for it. You cut short your innocent boyfriend’s life..”