COLOURS AND THEIR EMPTINESS
by Ìyàndá Abimbola
This story begins with you standing at your father’s doorstep on Indigo Street almost naked.
It is raining and the sun is shining at the same time, so you say, God is confused.
Because houses on Indigo do not have colour, fences, or doors, neighbours see into one another’s life dealings so that if you stand by the mosque beside your father’s house facing straight, you will see a brothel, lined with those indigenous girls and women of riotous colours, ranging from really skinny ones__that you often imagine how they find their voices under huge men who come to fuck them__ then to the really thick-ass women__designed with horrible inks in the name of tattoo__whom you often picture if boys from the railroads side don’t get lost to between their folded vagina.
You have looked into their room so many-a-time while growing up, so you learnt that to be called a slut: you need a body that will feel everything except arousal when a man pays you for sex, a retarded foam stained with several dry fluids and ejaculations, condoms, and some dangerous pills.
However, houses in your street preach self-expression and that’s one thing you adore about it but you hate that it doesn’t practice it because Orange, the girl whom you share bunk with in College tells you that security only helps with you being protected but protection is not required if there is no chaos in our heart, or wars in our head.
She says you are exposed to danger the most when you are secured.
So, core self-expression turned something you seek in several rooms in Indigo but never did find one, girls don’t love girls in this street where you belong. It’s a punishable crime, and a deadly sin too.
Indigo Crescent is sandwiched in between railway stations and a market area.
One of the railway stations is where your father works as a tutor, and an operator.
Your mother, a devoted Christian who collects house paints all her life__for a reason known to herself alone__is 6 years older than he is, but he commands respect all the same. At work: with mutiny and non-conformity, and at home: with love and tenderness. But your mother says her husband smells of burnt black oil in bed, and his palms on her skin feels like rusty burglary she always wants to escape, so she seeks solace in collecting paints and reading Christian prayers.
Oftentimes, you wonder if your mother’s voice really belongs to her, or if she has any hidden in her throat at all.
One fateful evening when your mother sat in her room reading quietly some verses of Psalms, your father rushed out to pick a call.
Over the phone, you could hear rumbling sounds, to steadily increasing chugging sounds, then to hunks sounding like a forlorn call, while babies’ cry and crowd jostles puncture the windy coverage at intervals of dialogue. Your father didn’t call out a name before you figured out it was a call from the railway station.
You know what life there looks like: boys who are just finding strands of hair between their legs sit in burnt and abandoned trains oftentimes and share tales you think they never have.
Some of them smokes, and yes, some girls have kissed and taught themselves how to make love before, but they didn’t die that night, they died later because they were caught and still didn’t conform to hating each other’s bodies, your father was part of those who killed them.
Well, such is the life you live in a railway station; chaotic and untender and you don’t expect anyone from there to be different.
Your father started his conversation with several yelling and fierce gaze on the phone but it soon seemed to end in shock and pitiful gestures.
There was a letter from the governmental agencies, they wanted to privatize some railway stations.
You remained in your room that day listening to Charlie Puth’s Marvin Gaye.
Tunes blending in atmosphere of emotional sincerity and it reminded you of the day you first kissed Orange, peacefully.
It happened 7:45PM that night, you were meant to attend the “live, and let’s live” Awareness in Rainbow Randy Hall in College.
She had kissed you a day before, but you didn’t reciprocate the language of her lips on yours.
You feared torture, you feared shame, you feared insults, and you feared death. But that night, you felt the melody of her skin, and you decided to drown in its rhythm.
For the first time, you kissed a girl without fear, and you felt like the houses and rooms in Indigo: you suddenly had no fences, no doors, or some forms of security, but you had a colour, and you wore it so bright on your skin that night.
You remembered how you have always admired Grey when you were very little and innocence was the air you breathe.
You sat beside Grey in the train on your way to school one day and you looked at her fair thighs with admiration and lust, you thought it would have been a life more beautiful in Indigo if its streetlights current have been tapped from Grey’s vibrant thighs.
You managed to rest on her bare shoulder and smell it, her scent so good you wanted it to turn into river so you may drown in it, you continued to look at her glossy, too white eyes. You were smiling and just wanted to fall asleep inside them.
You love Orange because she is fierce. She helped you find your voice and even taught you how to use them like arrows, she asked you to carry your colours and never to be afraid of wearing them on your skin, but Orange died before you began to speak with the voices she left in you.
The market area was silent that day really, that you could call it a cemetery, and so was the whole of indigo and the railway stations. There were half burnt tires and broken bottles, screwdrivers with blood and not oil on their mouth, and some bodies no one would identify, on the ground.
Your father had been sitting at home for several weeks, standing and sitting, sitting and standing; he was impatient and not convenient.
He was really calm now and he seemed to have stopped sexually abusing your mother’s decent body because she had reduced reading her Christian prayers and had totally stopped collecting paints now.
Your father was dismissed from work some weeks before now, he did what no one has ever done before in Indigo, he led a protest; that led to a riot, then to crises, chaos, then death and silence.
Your mother was in her room, and she would find her voice that day, she first came out to empty all of her buckets of paint to the gutter in front of your house, that gutter leads to the market area, to the cemetery behind it, further to places you have never been to.
At first she poured out Red paint, then Orange, Yellow paint, then Green, then Blue comes, before Indigo and Violet followed, the gutter looked like it now has rainbow in it, and the water would carry it to the market area, to the cemetery, and further to places you have never been to, and the whole houses in Indigo might find colour(s).
Your mother said something after she poured her last bucket of paint
It looks like something that’s been hidden in her throat for a long period of time. She said, “Prepare for darkness when it’s late.”
Then she went back into her room, lay in her bed and sleep like something that looks like forever.
So today, the end came to meet everything, including this story, with you remaining at your father’s doorstep in Indigo street, hoping it stops raining so Rainbow may at least come.
Source: From the Rebel Issue (October 2019)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
ÌYÀNDÁ ABIMBOLA is a poet and a writer. He dives into creative writings for self-expression; expressions driven by a host of things that ranges from griefs and pains that come with boyhood, coping with loneliness, despair, and all of the blissful scars he finds on a woman’s body.
If he is not in between pages of books weaving another creative piece, you will find him seeking embrace in the abyss of a lady’s warm thighs or listening to sad songs. He writes from Lagos, Nigeria. You can reach him on Twitter: @AbimbolaJnr, IG: @iyanda_a_broken.door, & Email @firstname.lastname@example.org