To be honest with you, at times I do wish that I was dead. Every inch and consummately dead. Dead like those two boys, Kyle and Zane, whose deaths I am responsible for. I didn’t mean to do it. I just did it unwillingly and forcedly. That is what always happens when I break the rules. That is how things always end up whenever I become a little bit stupid and stubborn and yielding and careless. Awful and dire.
Kyle died on Valentine’s Day two years ago. He died before my very own eyes and those of everyone around, helpless and remediless. His death was so galling and frightful.
Zane died in his car, having driven me home from the party that we had just attended. He gave up the ghost right in his seat, with I myself keeping a hand on his once-warm-but-now-suddenly-cold-cheek, and it was after we had kissed vehemently and intensely.
In all my life, it was these two boys whom I had dated and fell in love with. There were no other. And there would be other, it seemed. Kyle and Zane. I had loved them more than anything else. More than my own breath and existence itself.
I sighed to myself as I thought about all this, seated down on my enormous bed, my feet tucked and crossed over each other, my hands wielding a sharply knife which I would soon use to root out my life. It had been enough already. Eighteen years of living hell so far. Eighteen years of torture and torment and endless actual nightmares and agony and anguish. I would put an end to everything now—without delay.
I still remembered the day I came across Kyle Hudson. I was a self-conscious and shrinking sixteen year old back then. Guiltless and inoffensive and lawful. I ran into him while wandering about Blanco West- High School’s extensive corridors, lost and gone out of track. Without foreseeing it, I hit into this tall and blond and overly enormous boy. He was well-built with the perfect muscles and a lovely male visage that any female would effortlessly fall for. Everything about his appearance was just plain damn…sterling!
“I’m sorry,” I grumbled an immediate apology, shame-faced and angry with myself.
“There is no need to; I am equally to blame as well; I wasn’t minding where I was going.”
Kyle had a lovely and sugary-like voice. One that you would like to be all ears to all day long; one that you would fall in love with just on the phone without ever bothering to find out the appearance of the individual it belonged to.
After helping me gather up my scattered books, I had paced away, leaving him standing there before the lockers on his own, and when I spun back to look at him he was still gazing and marveling at me. Little did I know that he was the guy whom I would share the microscope with in the laboratory during the Biology session. My God, he looked so graceful, spell- binding even! Even though his attire was modest and simple—blue jeans and a yellow shirt and a white coat—with that spiked up hair of his taken into account, he looked…totally divine!
That was the moment I fell in love with him. Not on our first encounter. Though later on he did admit it to me that he fell in love with me the first time he unexpectedly laid eyes on me.
School was just awesome and mind-blowing with Kyle around. Every day I was in Biology, seated there next to him with him looking and making eyes at me throughout the whole span that we stayed in class, I felt like I was in seventh heaven. Many times the professor would notice him and pass comment on how absorbed some of his students were starting to fall in love—not mentioning out names, but speaking in a manner that made it obvious by peeking in Kyle’s direction as he spoke—but still, Kyle did not ever quit making sheep’s eyes at me.
It took him eight straight weeks to eventually ask me out. All this while, we were just friends that met and chatted and cracked jokes and laughed together during Biology. Whenever the two of us had a word or two and laughed and giggled what’s more, everyone’s attention
would move and abide on us until we were over with whatever affair it was that we were carrying out.
This was how it went the day Kyle expressed his feelings to me:
After Biology, he ran to catch up with me in the protracted corridor, yelping out, “Nevada! Nevada Leigh!”
I turned over to him, seizing my books, which I had planned to lay by and then lock them up in my locker. “Yes, Kyle.”
He came to a final halt before me, breathing and sighing heavily. “What will you be doing tonight? My friend’s brother—Claudio I mean—is having a party. Claudio himself would like you there. I let him know that we are best friends. What do you say?”
I mused about it for a little bit while. “Sure. They say never say never. I will attend that party.”
“Thank you so much. One more thing. Look your very best. I beg you. I want to dance with you tonight.”
Smiling joyously, I replied, “I probably will.”
It was while we were dancing that very night when Kyle had began. “Nevada.”
I looked up at him warmly. “Yes, Kyle.”
“What would be your response if I told you that I love you?”
I giggled in absurd excitement. “My response? It would be that you are joking.”
He looked hurt in some way. “Nevada, I love you.”
“Is that a joke? Another one from you?”
“I am not joking, Nevada.” We stopped dancing right that moment and looked at each other quietly and gravely.
“I do mean what I say, Nevada.”
His eyes showed it. “I can tell,” I observed.
“And what is your saying? I want to hear it straight from you. Do you love me or not?”
“I do, Kyle.”
“You do?” He was suddenly happy and buoyant.
“Yes, I do!”
Squirming and yelling out in joy, he cuddled and squeezed me tightly to himself. I could hardly breath. In any case, he did not kill me. No, he did not.
Onward to the Valentine’s he died. We were dancing, steadily and happily, just like on the day that he proposed to me and I in turn accepted his proposal. He was neatly and excellently dressed in an immaculate black suit, one that suited and harmonized with his disheveled blond hair, and his scent…he smelled of cologne and some sort of mannish lush perfume that I had never come across until now.
I myself on the other hand—I put on a flowing and cleanly and well-designed black dress. Yes, to match and harmonize with his black suit.
“You look lovely and blameless,” he nibbled into my ear as we swayed this way and that way, much to my delectation and enjoyment.
I smiled eventually and whispered back, “Thank you. I am as gorgeous as you happen to be as well.”
He smiled back, staring down into my eyes while poking and ramming his nose gently over mine. We were breathing distance away from each other. And it was then that he kissed me, fervidly and intensely.
“Kyle,” I whispered between the hurried and ungovernable kisses, trying to pull back from him, but he was strong and he towed me over to myself. “Kyle, let us stop, this is not right…Kyle…”
“I am enjoying this, baby, ain’t you?”
The next moment he was on the floor, salivating and throwing out blood. Mouthfuls and liters of blood to be precise. As he spat out the blood, he writhed in pain and twisted and turned and rolled and crawled on his belly, screaming and yelping out to no one in particular. Just when his eyes had began rolling white, I screamed out, shaky and affrighted. “Kyle!”
Zane Casals. I loved him. I cared about him. How many nights I have wept and mourned over his death and loss I cannot recount. To be truthful with you, I am so pained and grieved by his departure. This is a boy I loved more than I had come to love anyone, a boy who stood up for me whenever I needed him and who in the very end died right in my own arms before my very own reach and touch. Zane. I still do love you. Even if you are no more. Gone, forever.
Zane was both the bad boy and soccer leading man, or hero I should say, in our school. Cuevas High, Downtown D’Cruz—Louisiana. I came to learn about him after my friend, Paige Griffin, insisted every afternoon about how we had to go and watch the football matches that happened on a daily basis in our school’s enormous playfield.
First, I would sit humbly and attentively with her and watch the boys play until Zane glanced about and happened to accidentally run into my eyes. Ever since then, he did not take his
eyes or watchfulness away from me. I was without fail what he looked at and dreamt about and adored as much as he cherished his own dearest life. I was that one and only true love in his life.
He was already friends with Paige. Not genuine and sincere friends per say. They did know each other and greeted and talked and laughed. And after my discovery, he went on to pay more attention and concern to her. All in the hopes of getting closer to me and then finally open out about how he was dying and very much willing to become my man and protector.
Yes, his plan did work though. Yupeee! It surely did. And why am I celebrating you may wonder? Because deep down my heart I prayed and dreamt and hoped that the boy would notice me and well…make a move on me. I am glad that he did.
Our relationship did not last that much long. It wasn’t destined to. It all ended badly with Zane losing his life and I myself being contested and warred for by his friends and cousins to be their next girlfriend. I hate to admit it. But as much as I hate it, I just have to acknowledge it. I feel like I am assuredly nice-looking. Beautiful even.
No, I am not stuck- up or self-seeking or self-praising. I am not. At times I do look this plain and terribly ugly in the mirrors and photos—I cringe away from giant mirrors that make me look rather irregular and foreign; and at other times, I am this lovely and adorable. I don’t get. How does beauty behave? Do we have it in one moment and then in another second it slips away just like that? That is what it seems like.
“Mommy, am I beautiful?”
“Yes, sweetheart, you are!”
“Then why don’t you allow me to go out on dates with boys I like just like the other girls do?”
My mother, with a very disappointed and frightened face, disclosed, “The curse doesn’t authorize us to date or fall in love, Corinne. You are aware of the consequences of doing so, aren’t you?”
“To hell with those consequences.”
“Tell me, have you been seeing any boy.”
I did not reply anything.
“Nevada, did you sleep or have sex with some boy?”
“I’d never do that, mother. I respect myself and my future husband too.”
“You are not going to have any future husband, sweetheart. You know it. You are not going to marry or even get married. That won’t ever happen.”
“Don’t say that, mother. I want to marry one day; I really want to.”
“You won’t, Nevada; you know very well that that is an impossibility.”
***Flashback cut out***
Mother was right. I won’t marry; and I will never get married; and for that one reason, I’d rather be a dead man. Or a dead girl if you prefer.
That said and thought over, I knew what I had to do with the knife that I was clutching in my hands.
Suicide is no easy thing. We all want to live; we all want to live life to our very best; we all want to have those foremost and leading things that we can possibly have in this life; and if we cannot have them and instead we are unhappy and broken-hearted and hapless, what better alternative than to put an end to our being and existence itself?
I don’t know why. But in spite of wielding the knife and assuring myself that I was going to thrust it into my stomach, I just could not get the power and zeal and spirit to accomplish that. Mother. I thought about her. Yolanda Moon. What would she do without me? I was her one and only daughter. The only girl she adored more than anything in this world. Yes, even more than her own happiness and well-being. Was this how I was going to repay her for everything that she had done for me? By killing and depriving her of my companionship and intercourse. No, that was not being fair, or was it?
That night, while it poured hard and showered and thundered outside, I dreamt about Zane. These days, ever since I had become so humiliated and depressed and chilled about where my life was going, I had been experiencing frequent and endless and incessant nightmares. Nightmares about I myself wedding with fire-winged and hellish-looking demons and devils; nightmares about enraged and murderous-looking mobs and throngs of people swarming over me and chasing me and stoning and hitting and beating me up and calling me a witch sent straight from the devil himself; nightmares about the entire town gossiping and prattling and gibbering about how cursed I had been in killing any man that happened to be drawn in toward me.
Yolanda and I have kept this a secret to ourselves. That we are beautiful but cursed. No one else apart from the two of us knows our condition; not our friends or neighbors. We always do what we can to avoid men that become interested in us. If we were so inconsiderate and unmindful—sure, just like in my nightmare—the whole town would without doubt know about our curse and go on to gabble and gossip and dish on the dirt to others about us. And what would we do from there? Nothing but move away to some…far away town or place?
Yolanda and I have switched towns like mad. Endlessly even. Since I met Zane two years ago, we have relocated more than fifteen times. At least seven times in a distinct and separate year. This curse, it has just made our lives so miserable and a painful living hell altogether.
I have met numerous and wonderful very good-looking boys. Boys that I wished I had the time and effort to get to know them much better and familiarize with them. Boys I would have fallen in love with so helplessly had I tarried longer in their reach and presence. But then it was for the better that I stayed away from them and move entirely out of their promising lives. I would do nothing but ruin and wreck their lives for them.
Yolanda met my father, Shawn, when she was at university. She studied Literature (bachelor’s degree) and she got a masters and a PHD in Creative Writing and Economics. All her life, she has wanted to be a published writer and author altogether. But she fears what would come off her life if she produces something successful and popular enough to unravel out our actual private life and the secrets that we are drawing a veil on. To her, fame and popularity can be quite detrimental. Very much indeed.
Like me in times past, she cast away all the rules and went on pursuing my father. No, not chasing and stalking and bugging him up to marry and wed her. She hanged out in places where he was fond of dropping by with the hopes that he would…see her. He did! I remember the words Yolanda herself used that other day she was recounting to me about how the two of them had met up.
“Your father, he was the lucky and winning womanizer. Every month, he had to court and take to bed a different girl. It was a game and contest that he and his shallow-minded peers played. And he played it so well and in such a staggering and mind-blowing manner. I fell for him on our first encounter; and as I behaved a little bit stupid and yet strangely different from all the other girls, he hesitated on whether to go for me or not to. When other guys appeared interested and began making moves on me, he acted fast for fear of losing me. I had to go about being unyielding and a little bit inane, just to give him a cruel and laborious time. Which I sure did.”
The story altered. “I remember the day he died. The day the curse hit and destroyed him. I was four months pregnant with you, Corinne. And we were staying together. We had just moved in and every time I did feel that our happiness was short-lived and going nowhere. I couldn’t help it. There were nights when I woke up weeping and crying and your father would be waked by my noise and hug and shush me and ask what the problem was. I just couldn’t tell him. There was no way for me to figure out how I was going to let out things to him. How was I supposed to tell a man I deeply and sincerely loved that he was soon going to be dead for loving and sticking on to me?”
In my bedroom, there are pictures of Shawn Kerr. He looks just like me in some way. I have light brown hair, black eyes, and golden-colored skin. That is what Shawn precisely had. But then, I look more like my mother. Yolanda herself is brown-haired, brown-eyed and pale-skinned. I share more of her facial symmetry and body shapeliness and curves. We are very much alike.
The morning following my nightmare, on Tuesday 14 August 2018, I woke up at five to strive and withstand the temptation and almost overpowering feeling to head back to bed and sleep again. I went on to sit in the living room, close to the still afire burning place, where I tossed in a handful of stony-like but long-burning wood, and here, I fetched the diary that I had carried with me and began scribbling the words:
Yolanda and I moved here to Svetlana, Nebraska, two days ago. The town is this big and wonderful and amazing; the people here have been good and kindly to us; our neighbors always check in to bring us gifts and presents of all sorts. There is this funny thing though. Ninety per cent of my presents are from boys. Or men I should rather specify. Young men. Two boys from our neighboring house, Marion and Lev Meyer, who are brothers, I must what’s more add, brought me my current alarm clock and newly-shopped romance novels and an enormous blank diary that I have to fill in and a glittery-like pen that scrawls with shining and glimmering ink and wholly nice- looking teddy bears and sweet-most and pretty flowers and a nice and very new pair of jeans and—their biggest and final present, an old-dated but still functioning and superbly operative laptop. Marion said that it belonged to him and he was giving it over to me as it had a highly effective and powerful browser with which I would surf the net and research up any assignment that I might have. Words cannot adequately express my gratitude to these two adorable and loving brothers.
Charlie Wooding, the blond boy from next door, brought me blooming and freshly flowers and a nice new hat and a cake written ‘Welcome Nevada and Yolanda to Svetlana,’ which he said his grandmother, Sally Wooding, had supposedly baked. It was so sweet and tasty and pleasant that I had not tasted anything marvelous like it before.
Edward Chen, the leggy and well-built and highly handsome bachelor from four houses down the street, brought me an expensive perfume he had picked for me while on a recent trip to Spain, and which he said he had bought from one of the Spanish royal family members themselves. He showed me photos of himself in Spain and this Maria Theresa Castillo woman whom he said was married to a grandchild of the Queen of Spain Herself. She was holding the perfume itself and smiling at the camera happily, appropriately dressed in a very expensive and far-reaching yellow dress that had an Indian look and elegance to it. On top of that, Edward brought me paintings and cookers and cutlery and carvings and dresses and boots from Spain itself! Everything he handed me screamed, “Spanish! Spanish! Spanish! And more Spanish!”
I will end here. Ten other men brought me diverse and unlike things. I cannot list them all or else my diary would be filled up and…become something else rather alien and outlandish. And I don’t want that to happen. This is strictly a diary. Not some detail-everything-to-the- very-last-bits sort of book. No way! That said and made clear, I am still muchly grateful and indebted to everyone who have brought me something from the depths and very bottom of their hearts, I fathom. Diary, goodbye!
I had an interview at nine. At Brock University, where I wanted to study Fashion and Design. Not to become a model specifically. Clothes designing and artifice were my thing and talent. I habitually dreamt that one day I would come to be this fortunate and lucky and prosperous designer with my very own corporation and list of celebrities endorsed. But then for that to happen, I had to work very, very, very and sincerely hard. Nothing was going to come on a silver plate, free and un-worked-for. Not in this racking and toilsome world of ours. Not here.
After an effortless and slight warm showering, I stepped back into my bedroom, half-naked and clothed with a long white towel. By half-naked I do not mean that all my breasts were uncovered and denuded. I know. In our house Yolanda and I were the only living things around. Living humans to be point-on. Females exclusively. Who would care if we looked at each other naked? But then, ever since we had moved in here, we were occasionally bombarded
with endless knocks and visits from our male neighbors. Not all of them being bachelors and unmarried. It was best that we put on something after washing, just so certain occurrences would not come about by accident.
Before my tall mirror—yes, I still disliked enormous mirrors, but in this case, I had no alternative than to tolerate them—I slipped on a gray skirt suit and gray shoes and combed my hair straight and then tied it at the back of my head with a fastener. I looked…fine and superb. No qualms and misgivings about it.
Shortly afterwards, while I was hopping down the stairs, Yolanda cropped up into the living room, carrying a plate of cup cakes with one hand. She gestured over to me and voiced out, “Come and have breakfast, will you?”
“No, thank you.” I rushed past her off into the kitchen and she right away followed me.
“You are going to have an interview on an empty stomach, Nevada, are you?”
“I will eat later, mom.” I tossed open the door of our tall refrigerator and hastily began looking about inside with worried and anxious eyes.
“I don’t want you collapsing and passing out while the interview is still running.”
“I won’t pass out, mother.”
“Your stomach will groan and creak. And that will be an embarrassment before the interviewer. Eat something please.”
“Nope. I will give an apology if that happens. I have never heard of an interviewee who was kicked away from the interview for the sole reason that they were famished and had their stomach groaning and lamenting.”
When I glanced at Jordyn, she scowled at me, rolling her eyes what’s more. “You are stubborn, you know that, do you?” She asked me.
I grabbed out cheese and caned coke from the fridge and then heated scones from the oven, which I packed into a lunch box, before I responded back to her. “Sometimes to get your way in life, mother, you have to be this firm and persevering. That is how life largely works.”
Yolanda dropped her mouth open. “Even if it will cost you your dear life and brilliant future itself, you just have to be willful and pig-headed, isn’t that what you are trying to say?”
“One starved meal will not kill me, mother. A gone-wrong interview won’t ever destroy my entire future. Don’t you get it? It is that plain and simple, isn’t it?”
“I have no extended arguments with you.”
“Thank you very much. I will be taking my leave now. See you later!”
“Bye, sweetie! What about my kiss?”
“I will be late if I come back for it. Reserve it for next time.”
It was showering and drizzling when I drove my way out of the below-ground garage, and on I proceeded my way, away from our newly-bought house, sighing and exhaling out in easement. I would be through with the interview. Yes, I would make it through without any much troubles and hindrances. If any would arise, I had to know how to tackle and grapple them.
While my car sped on the not-so busy road, I played on some music—Stephanie O’Brien’s ‘Love is Waiting Around the Corner’ and Martin Drunkman’s ‘Watch Me As I Walk into Your Life.’ These were two slow romantic songs that I liked like nothing else. Every day I awakened from my sleep, I had to put them on to freshen and vitalize and enliven up my day. Is life ever possible without love? I don’t think so.
Twenty minutes after, I eventually made it to Brock University. The drizzle was still present and ongoing. Shit! I had forgotten my umbrella back home and I wondered how I was going to make my way out in the rain. For that mistaking, I had to pay by getting drenched and wet. I surely had to.
As I was about to park my car, I hit into this lusciously-colored but olden-looking red car that was about to proceed its way out of the parking lot. My bonnet smashed into its tail-lights, shattering and wrecking them and the bonnet itself splintering up to some degree; my heartbeat quickened up. How had such a thing come to happen? How? And what would I do now? What?
Lightning Powers of Recall
It was cloudy and dim and overcast outside. Poorly lit and pitch-black that each time I looked out the window of my bedroom, all I could note and sight outside was an enormous and by leaps and bounds hunks and bulks of lofty and giant trees. It was all I could perceive and nothing else really. All I could catch a glimpse of and flawlessly and perfectly lay and clap my eyes on.
Yolanda sat by the flank and edge of my bed, her dusky brown hair far-reaching and spread out, her sparkly verdurous-like eyes glistening and scintillating at me in the luster and sheen yellowy gold light about us. She had a cloud-nine and yet scared and timorous feeling about her. It made me think and be curious on what all this could be all about. What in particular? Something bitchin’ awesome and pearler or what unerringly?
“Mom,” I bade and summoned her, shuddering and quivering unevenly. She gawped and took a gander at me straight away. “Yes. Are you okay and actually fine, my dear?”
“I am, mother. But there is something out of the ordinary and eccentric about you. Won’t you mind splitting to halves the particulars and fine points about it with me?”
She twinkled and was all grin from ear to ear in no moment of time. She then pressed on, “It is nothing really, Corinne. I am just thinking back to that elderly and past-it day when I first fell in love with your father. The first time that we really met, that is. I cannot simply and with no trouble let slip from the memory something ruinous and inopportune like that, or can I?”
“What is infelicitous and ill-fated about that, will you please acquaint me with it?”
She smiled and beamed again, all pleased and ecstatic but terrified and shaken out of her courage and bravura at the same time. Could it be something that grave and critical? There was no way I could easily and with my eyes closed and shut discover that? What was it really with her? What precisely?
“I chanced on your father in the course of a very frightful and appalling accident. And something spills the sly, shifty beans that the same will soon come about to you. I don’t know how bona fide and veracious that is. But if it is factual and accurate, then you will damned and have your death knell chimed and tolled the day something alike to this comes to see the light of day in your life.”
I had never seen Yolanda so merry and apprehensive at the same time. Could that be a grim cue and forewarning actually? Could it be?