As rain trickled down the window pane, Yemi gazed at the faded pink stars painted across the slanted ceiling. Who painted them? When were they painted? A hell of a long time ago was what she and her roommate settled on. If anything, time just turned these ‘stars’ into a constellation of pinkish triangles. This constellation, however tattered, was their safe zone and each triangle reminded her of the home they made for themselves despite all the obstacles they had overcome. Safe under its imperfect protection.
She stretched both arms out as if to try and catch them, intently focused on tracing multiple triangles at once.
“You aren’t asleep?” June yawned, one eyelid sealed shut and the other curtained by her signature silvery fringe. How she managed to navigate her way around anywhere was a complete mystery: a rare ‘sight’ indeed.
“Yemi. You aren’t listening to me, are you?” No, she thought. Well not exactly, listening could be quite difficult when your mind was constantly puddled by nonsense and a never-ending train of thought.
Almost on cue her right arm gave out, dropping lifelessly to her side. Her left arm still stood straight, so Yemi refocused her attention on the triangles above, slowly tracing the pattern to the other side of the room toward a now glaring eye. Without directly making eyes to eye contact, she slowly shifted away from the angry stare and back to facing her side of the ceiling.
“Not going to talk, eh? Well you should sleep up while you can, I need you tomorrow night. You promised remember,” June exclaimed softening her tone slightly as if she were slipping back into her dreams. Bobbing her head in agreement she continued,
“I’m going to make my peace with everyone and leave that place once and for all. Your role is to basically stand back unless it gets too confrontational y’know? No worries, right? I mean you probably won’t have to get involved anyway since it’ll probably go smoothly, right? I’m not worried about it one bit, so you don’t have to be too concerned either, okay?”
“No worries,” Yemi chuckled quietly as she recognised her friends obvious fear. Whatever happens, she would protect her. It was a bonus that she had been itching to hit something all week.
“Then I can live in peace. Well... Relative peace anyway,” she sighed, placing her forearm over her head as she lay facing the triangles. Peace was never an option and no matter what path they took, darkness always seemed to trail behind them. Living above the Chini made this a prominent threat; an underworld full of ex-cons and active criminals; an alternative mirror image of the pleasant Juu that rested above it.
The people of the ‘pleasant’ Juu lived their lives no less desirable as they depended on the welfare of Gov; throwing their money at an elusive government that saw them as nothing more than lab rats to be controlled and tested on, not that they cared. In short, people were not very nice, that included Yemi and her friends. June, Adia and Yemi; equally as guilty of committing some crime between the two God forsaken cities. Some crimes worse than others...
As the comfortable silence stretched between them, Yemi thought of her late sister Kaia. The truest example of kindness. Where outside of the world was she? Somewhere spectacular she hoped, too complex for her or any other living being to understand, not unless they were there. Not necessarily ‘heaven’, but a heaven of sorts maybe? Once she made it to the other side, all of life’s mysteries, curiosities and stories would be unraveled. Everything would eventually make sense and she would use this omniscience to guide Yemi as best she could. At least that’s what she imagined.
On the day of her sister’s funeral, as little as three other guests, June and Adia included, had come to mourn her. Kaia was a light in the community, ever-present and loved by many members of the Juu. Or so they thought. Losing her so unfairly was devastating enough, but to see the true nature of the people around her was enough to freeze her heart over.
Above all else, she hoped her sister was in a better place, better than this dump at least. Something inside her could not fully accept that she was truly gone, but she endured this feeling anyway as holding onto any shred of hope at this point would be ridiculous. From then on she vowed to protect the loyal few that were in her life as fiercely as possible. Never to make the same mistake twice.
“I’m with you all the way,” Yemi spoke, almost inaudible for June to hear.
“Obviously,” she smirked, her mind already lost in thought. Tomorrow was sure to be a big day for them both, unpredictably big, as most tomorrows were.