I was looking for ideas to write and my buddy, Sherinaz Basree had a lot. She’s great at giving lousy inspiration but this two words she suggested, ridiculous it was, it was the whole idea of this story.
This is for you, Cookie Monster.
I am sorry for bad grammar or anything. I tried my best. Thanks for reading.
More short stories : http://goo.gl/HzvWHX
Where Did You Sleep Last Night
By Saranikka Rose
Love is pain.
I was hurt and I don’t intend to get in the mess again.
This statement was simple enough to explain everything, as I pulled up my black skinny jeans. She nodded and claimed that she understood. I was unsure whether to believe her. Well, validation is overrated. I kissed her forehead and left the house.
I should have accepted the coffee offer. It was 2:00 AM.
Lucky for me, 2:00 AM was a great time to go home.
Home for me was a small, two rooms flat in an isolated part of the city. It was a kind of place you would have passed by but never take notice. The elevator was vandalised by some childish graffiti and the pavements reeked of uncollected garbage and rotten foods. I am very thankful though that the elevator was never broken. There was no view of city lights, just yards of old buildings. I did not mind , the place was cheap. And there’s Benjamin.
Oh yeah, Ben. He was a good housemate. Hell, he was perfect. He owned the house which gave him the power to let me off rent when I had financial crisis. Practically, it was his parents’ till they decided to move away from city life. Ben decided to stay. I have no idea what Ben did for living, I know it was at some local machinery factory. He worked long hours, seven days a week. He went home late, and in his twisted mind rather than sleeping, he made a jar of black coffee, rolled up some tobacco, pumped up some grunge music and lied down in the middle of living room. He made very good coffee.
So arriving home at 2:16 AM, I was welcomed with the mix aroma of caffeine and smoke, Nirvana’s Rape Me and a guy, staring at ceiling. I filled a mug with the hot black coffee he made and sat on the floor somewhat near by him.
“Apparently the world is dying”, said Ben with his deep voice that echoed the room as the old cassette player rewinds the tracks.
“Oh is it now?”, I asked as I reached up for the rolled-up cigarette.
“It is, according to Aunty Looi”, Ben continues. “She said –‘You and Samantha need to learn cleaning up your own trashes, I am not here to do it anymore. In fact, start recycling, save the world. It’s dying.”
I laughed, “What about sorting trash got to do with saving the world man?”
“War, poverty and starvation, and you want us to worry about getting the right trash bins? The world is long doom before the environment goes south.”
“True wisdom, my man“, I tapped his shoulder. We exhaled a good puff of smoke. The stereo started to play the tracks again.
“She moved away, Aunty Looi?”
“Yeah, she is moving to a nice secured sub-urban downtown with garden infested with bees shitting honey gold and elves running around with bucket of tulips. “
“I am going to miss that old loony“, I took a sip of coffee.“Everyone seem to leave.”
“Not me. I have no reason too”, he exclaimed.
“Neither do I”, I blurted after a moment.
He laughed and patted my back. “Nope, you are stuck with me forever“, he said. I can see his scruffy face lighted up as he ruffled my short black hair.
I smiled. We clunked our mug. We finished our drinks while screaming alongside Kurt Cobain.
The place was cheap, free at times. The companion was fun. The elevator was never broken unlike many others old buildings.
Why would I ever leave?
“You got to leave“, I whispered. She whimpered under the blanket. A shimmering gloss stain trailed on the white pillow case as her manicured finger grabbing the pillow tight.
I didn’t usually invite girls home. However, yesterday, between the hype of celebrating my birthday with a couple of buddies, the free flow tequila shots, the ecstasy of club music and … Natalia. Oh yes, Natalia, the stunning scandalous seducer. I end up with a hangover and very little memory of what happened.
She pushed away the pillow, and grabbed her cellphone.
“Dude, it’s like 5:30 AM. What the hell ?”, she hid under the pillow again.
“ My housemate is going to work in half an hour. He is going to wake me up, and I don’t want him to see us“, I exclaimed. Natalia sat up straight. She had a quizzical look on her face. I reached down for my shirt.
She was still in very blur state of mind. What did I expect from waking a girl who drenched out from an all nighter early in this morning? I slided myself closer to her, “There is a little 24 hours cafe that serves really good waffles. Let’s have a nice breakfast there and I’ll send you home, what do you say?”. I ran my finger through the strands of her hair, removing the glitters, and she took my fingers in her hand and pulled me close. The aroma of that classic feminine eau de toilette crept up as she grazed her lips against my face, slowly moving clolsely to my ear and whispered, “I was thinking of other sweet treat.” Oh, Natalia. She did it again. I was again drowned in her plumped pink lips, her glowing eyes, her intoxicating perfume, the dim light from my table lamp and Pearl Jam tunes that filling the room.
Wait, Pearl Jam?
The door was slammed open. “Happy Birthday Samantha Davis! You are fuckin- …”, Ben’s speech was stopped, by the view of Natalia removing her lips against mine. The blanket slipping off her bare skin. She covered her lips with her hand as she giggled.
“Dude, I said I am sorry”, I persuaded him. “I knew you hate strangers at home.”
It had been three days, and all he does was being quiet. Total silent treatment. He had not utter a single word, just extensive chain smoking. He was squatting on the floor.
I knelt down in front of him. He kept his face down, as his fingers rolled the tobacco. “Enough of all these crap, man. If you want me to go, I’ll pack my stuff”. Still, not a word.
I sighed and got up, “I should have expected this”.
“So what, you are … ?” he mumbled. I knelt back down and raised my eyebrow.
He struggled to get the words out. “Well, are you like…”
“Gay?” I asked. He lowered his head which I suppose was a nod. I laughed my heart out.
“Dude, why do you think I had been dragging you to watch the late night supermodel reality shows? Cause of the dramas? “, I patted his back, but he pushed my hand away and instantly stood up.
“You think this is funny?“, he walked back and forward. I had never seen him like this. I got so much to say but I didn’t plan to disturb a frustrated man who is now kicking our coffee table. He picked up a few old FHM magazines and flips over some random pages to flaunt towards my face, “how about this girl, you like her? You want to drag her in our house? ” he screamed. “How about this one?” He went berserk, throwing the magazines to my direction.
“Are you out of your mind? Stop this shit, man” I screamed back.
“No, you are mad. You are real mad.”
“ Because I like girls?”
He replied with a cold stare. At the moment, I felt really disappointed. Maybe because I thought him as my brother, he would actually give a chance to understand , not this total freak out. I stomped in my room and packed my stuff.
“Where are you going?” he asked “You are going to leave me for that bitch, aren’t you?” he asked me. He slammed his coffee mug to the floor to get my attention. I inhaled deeply and walked to the door. He was blocking it.
“Excuse me.” I said. I pushed him to the side till there was enough space for me to move out. He grabbed my hand.
“ Look, I’m sorry. Don’t go. Please.” His voice trembled. “You are the only person there for me.”
I smirked, “Well, you are nothing to me”. I pulled back my hand and walked away.
More crashing sounds echoed from the house as I left with nothing in mind except pure anger. This was too much for me.
“He is too much”, as she massaged my neck. I put a cigarette in my mouth but it was pulled back.
“Honey, my housemate is allergic to smokes.” she said. I rolled my eyes. I have no idea what I was thinking of going to her house. Maybe she was the subject of the fight, she was the only one I can think of.
Natalia’s room was pink and smelt like garden. She had a huge Marilyn Monroe poster posted beside her well-arranged wooden table. It was pretty and nice. Too pretty that I felt so uneasy since the moment I walked in.
“This is your mistake, anyway”, she said. “What were you thinking living with a homophobic?”
I felt electric static shock all over me when I heard that word. I wanted to deny it but I had no idea. I had never face a person with such phobia. I hid this part of me very well, usually.
“Is it okay I crash here today?” I asked.
“Duuuh, of course, you can”, she laughed. “I just wish you would have called first rather than come knocking on my door out of blue. Why didn’t you call me first?”
Why didn’t I call?
There was a call. I can hear my ringtone from outside the door. It was unlocked. The house was dark and messy. However, the casette player was rewinding tracks, the coffee jug was filled and there was a lit cigarette in the ashtray. I knew he was there. I rushed in my room and instantly found my phone. There were 10 miss calls.
“You are back?” his voice startled me. He approached me closer. I took a few steps back. “I thought you are gone forever.” I kept myself frigid. He looked devastated, eyes were red and shirt had gone missing.
“You really hurt me when you said I was nothing.“ He touched my face and brought me close. His hands were cold. “I know now that is not true.”
I pushed him away. “Whoa, wait a minute.” This was unexpected.
"I love you”, he blurted. The world stop spinning for a while and I can feel my heart dropped.
“You are back now so I know you love me too.” He said, touching my face again. I slapped his hand and spun around. I had to get out. He called my name repetitively. I quicken my pace.
My phone rang as I approached the elevator. An unknown number appeared.
“Hello, Miss Samantha?”, a stern voice greeted me once I picked up. “We had been trying to contact you for four hours but you did not pick up.”
I was not in a good state of mind. “Who are you?”
“You are Benjamin Long’s emergency contact”, he said. “I am sorry to inform you, there had been an unfortunate accident. The paramedic had tried their best. ”
“What do you mean? I just met him!” I shrieked.
“I am sorry ma’am, his body was found on the ground floor of his resident. We had witnesses claiming he had jumped from the top floor. We need someone to - ”
Suddenly the call faded as the elevator had randomly stopped and the lights flickered.
The elevator was never broken.
I felt a cold breath on my neck followed by a voice.
“You are stuck with me forever, remember?”
Love is pain.
Sherinaz two words were - Homophobic ghost. Hahahahaha
Where Did You Sleep Last Night was a song I used to listen on my late night bus from Shah Alam to Johor. It was a cover song by Nirvana , I have no idea who the original singer. All I know it was fill with dissapointment and darkness.
It’s Monday. I’m going home at 6pm and a middle aged man and a teenage boy are the only people left on the bus with me. I consider the fact that because the driver is also a man I am the only person left on the bus with the correct genetic makeup for boobs. I’m automatically scared, scared because of my own anatomy. I wonder how old I was when I realized that my own body was going to be the cause of the constant anxiety and fear I feel in situations like this. I get off at the last stop and the older man smiles at me while following me up the street. His smile drips, drips, drips and my heart is pounding, pounding, pounding. He turns off down another road, but I run the rest of the way home.
Not all men.
I’m at home on a Tuesday, beginning to plan the travels I want to go on next year. I dream of wandering the streets and meeting strangers. I just can’t wait to escape the city I’ve lived in for 17 long years. But… my mum is hesitant. She’s forever worried about the danger that being a young girl traveling alone can bring. I’ll be alone and she’s scared. Surely I’m invincible. I feel invincible. But I know, I know this danger is real and I can’t help but think to myself, if I feel unsafe in my own city, how am i going to feel in a strange place with strange men who don’t speak the same language as me? If I was my brother planning this, I would probably just be wondering if European girls are going to be hot.
Not all men.
Wednesday is a beautiful sunny day but I’ve always been told that I don’t have a “nice enough body” to wear a bikini on the beach. Ever since I was 6 years old I’ve thought that having tummy fat was ugly. That skin that doesn’t have a perfectly golden glow is undesirable. I amble to a clear patch of sand in my one piece and I can feel pairs of eyes latching onto me. Hairy men in speedos who I don’t look twice at eat into my body with their stares. I’m a piece of meat. I am a piece of meat? I am here for their amusement. Please don’t let me be eaten alive.
Not all men.
Thursday night two friends and I are walking to our god damn school dance when we hear “Jesus look at you! You sluts heading to a pole?” These words snarl out of the mouth of a respectably dressed man and we stop in horror. Shivers roll up my back in fear. It’s dark. We are alone. What. Do. We. Do??? One of us pulls the finger back. I can never be sure how quickly a sexist man can get angry so we walk quickly away. We’re angry, so so angry. But also so… deflated. I wonder if we deserve this shame.
Not all men.
Sitting on the internet, Friday night and scrolling down my Facebook newsfeed:
“Haha, good job at the game today bro. You RAPED them!”
“Damn with tits like that, you’re asking for it :P”
Another sexist comment…
Another sexist comment…
Another sexist comment…
I’m shrinking and shrinking and shrinking and I want to CRY because these boys don’t realize how small they make me feel with just pressing a few keys. I see these boys on the streets, I talk to these boys, I laugh with these boys. Dear GOD, dear GOD i hope these boys don’t think actions speak louder than words…
Not all men.
Three rules that have been drilled into me since I was young run through my mind at 1.30am on a Satur… Sunday Morning:
-Don’t ever talk to strange men
-Don’t ever be alone at night in a strange place
-Don’t ever get into a car with a stranger
I break all 3 of these laws as I pull open the taxi door. Making light conversation with the driver, he doesn’t see my sweaty hand clutching the small pocket knife I keep hidden on me at all times. He doesn’t even realize the fear I feel at his mere presence. He cannot comprehend it, he never will. How easy would this 15 minute car ride be if I was born a boy?
Not all men.
It comes to Sunday, another snoozy, sleepy, Sunday and someone has the AUDACITY to tell me not all men are rapists. I say nothing.
I’m a 17 year old girl.
When I am walking alone and it’s dark, it’s all men.
When I am in a car with a man I don’t know well, it’s all men.
When men drunkenly leer at me on the streets, it’s all men.
When a boy won’t leave me alone at a party, it’s all men.
Not all men are rapists. But for a young girl like me? Every one of them has the potential to be.