I tossed and turned in my bed all night shivering from the touch of a rough pair of hands. I felt like I was cursed to the bed for eternity with a monster by my side. It was cold but I sweated fearing the future. I knew I had none good out there for me. The monster had me again and again. “You are making me lose my mind, I may go insane,” he said. He filled me with some warmth every now and then.
I didn’t know what happened to my family. I don’t till this day. It was a complete whitewash. Bits and pieces were strewn everywhere like the butcher houses in the old times. I was deeply saddened by the massacre of my dear sisters. What harm were they to anyone? Such pure little souls. I wept for them. “Yes, cry dear. Cry you must. For tomorrow, there will only be joy on your face,” the foreigner moaned.
The night went away in preparing me for the world out there. I was taught how to please them, brothers. “We are all a big happy family in Japan, you see. I need you to take care of my family. You see, it’s now your family too. So how about you serve your family right away,” the sick man said. He grabbed my head and pulled it down thrusting his phallus in my mouth. I didn’t resist. My lifeless body didn’t allow me to. I tried inside my head to resist but I failed in the physical sense. I gave way to his moves. I became his slave.
The Japanese arrived on December 13, 1937. We were sitting ducks waiting to be served a crafty blow by the ones who mutilated the innocents over the integrity of their political and cultural beliefs. With guns going gung-ho, they were invisible. They played target practice with the 500,000 of us gathered in a beautiful place called Nanking. My mother told her four daughters not to worry about the red alert. It’s just a game, she said. A game that made us bleed.
My little sisters cringed at the horrors they heard in the neighborhood. Our mother couldn’t protect their ears from ringing with the talks of life and death at the hands of the boogeymen. They can have their discussion elsewhere, she said. I tried to get their minds off of their environment. I tried to be their friend. I tried until they didn’t need me.
I was in school when I heard about my family. Those bastards slew them. All of them were dead – mother, three young sisters, father, grandparents. I had nothing left. I couldn’t differentiate one from another upon reaching home. I cried and cried until I couldn’t. A foreigner took me by the arm and laid his hands all over me. I couldn’t resist. I was tired. He had me all night in a hotel room. He called me his princess and that I was the most beautiful thing he had ever laid eyes upon. He kept on rubbing himself against me. The school was over. But a new one began. “You are going to make me rich. Men…they all have an itch,” he kissed me.
Jimmy throws a lavish party at his wedding. It burns a hole in his bank account. He invites his ex-wife who curses him in front of everyone and leaves Sharon wondering as if it was an act that her father paid for.
In eight months’ time, Jimmy has another daughter, Lily. The tragic thing for the newborn is that she loses her mother when she ventures into the world. Her cries just won’t stop. This keeps Jimmy up the whole night. “She needs replenishment. She craves her mother,” a babysitter said. “Go ahead and give her some,” Jimmy said. The babysitter gives him an eye and leaves the house. Jimmy is losing his mind.
He decides never to marry again and have an old, ugly nanny to look after his daughters. He gets a job in a bank as a teller. This keeps steady income which will help in his daughters’ upbringing. He becomes a reformed man. The transformation is significant. His neighbors come forward to help deal with his kids. They offer him to-dos which makes life easier for him. He becomes one with his neighbors. His daughters start playing with the nearby kids. They start going to school. Everything falls into place for Jimmy. The love for his daughters made him change from a couch potato to an adorable father.
Jimmy gets a babysitter for Sharon. Babysitters usually spend a few hours when the parents are away. But this parent was hardly away. Rita started doing a few hours in the morning before going to college and in the evening after college. Jimmy paid her well. She almost became a family. Sharon thought she’s her new mother. Rita is at the twilight stage of her teenage years. She’s beautiful and funny. She likes Jimmy and thinks of him as a bereaved ex-husband. She likes Sharon. She’s good with kids. She thinks of having some herself soon.
Jimmy likes Rita so much that he hires her sometimes by day and eventually month. She becomes a nanny. She does everything for the two-year-old. Once Jimmy was in the pool teaching Sharon how to swim. He asks Rita to take a break. She does so by entering the pool. “You are close to her. I don’t deserve her. I have done a lousy job,” Jimmy said.
Rita comes close and sticks herself against Jimmy. “It’s all right. You are not to blame. Every child needs her mother. I am here. You are a father to her. Don’t have to be two parents anymore.” She grabs his hair and kisses him. He kisses her back. Sharon stares at them for a moment and splashes water at them. They laugh and kiss again.
Jimmy holds Sharon’s arm. “Stop it.” And he turns towards Rita. “Marry me…”
Rita swallows air through her mouth and breathes out a yes. They kiss and kiss and kiss. Sharon cries and they start kissing her.
Halloween is that time of the year when people deck themselves out in costumes. They become whoever they want. It’s a game. It’s a fun time for all sections of society. I am no different. It’s just that I get into different costumes on a single night. I will cover this area as a pirate, that area as a robber, and the rest as a mermaid. “What’s the matter with you? Why change into three costumes?” my mother said. Trick or treat, I said.
Having multiple costumes meant I could have a race amongst the different avatars. A 100 meters would tell me who’s the fastest. The lightest one always won. The one which made me look like a six-year-old would score the maximum treats. Going alone would get me more treats. A group divides, an individual ignites the treat score. Whatever happened to ‘unity is strength’. None of the costumes attracted girls. So, Halloween is just about treats.
After all the permutations and combinations, I ended up with no tricks on others. Maybe I should have gone crazy for one night. You think you were sane, my wife said.
Every Halloween night, my grandmother would narrate the same tale of creeps creeping into her village and butchering 500 people. It sounds far-fetched as you are the lone survivor, I said.
I just can’t finish a book or a movie. I get agitated at the slightest. I sense something. I am done. What’s more to read or watch? Better go for another one. This has made me read thousands of books. My parents didn’t like this. They were tired of buying me books. I starved two days a week so I can buy books instead. Yes, my parents made me go hungry for two freaking days out of seven. Who does that?
I borrowed movies from everyone I met. I didn’t want to spend money. It was hard to come by before marriage. I was called the CD Guzzler. I was known as the one who saw everything. It meant different things to different people. Movie buffs adored me, indifferent ones looked at me as if I was a queer, and imbeciles said, “He’s not God. How can he see everything?”
I never watched a television series. It gets you hooked up. You seem lost like a dog out on the streets. You can’t be yourself again before finishing all the episodes of all the seasons. I was better off without it. Otherwise, I would have been sent off to an institution for screen addiction. I remember my cousin Ben losing his mind and partial eyesight to television series. He went packing to the Transformative Egalitarian Society in China. Whosoever gave this gem of a name, he said. It took him six weeks to transform into a bright individual. Such a transformation was possible, I didn’t know. Maybe it would help me with my itch. So I went there and came back a transformed man. And I was back to my usual self in half the time I spent there.
Ten years of marriage and nothing to show for it. “You are worthless, you never get me. At least he does,” my wife said. Yes, I am the one to blame for not divorcing her. I should get divorced. It’s not that we have kids, it’s just that she has a lot of inherited wealth from her grandparents, uncles, aunts, and of course parents. All of them are dead. Ain’s she glad? She does whatever she feels like. She’s like a monkey jumping from tree to tree leaving her scent behind. My wife sounds just like me, a variety-seeker. And she does a better job at it.
I remember the time after our honeymoon. It is vivid even to this day. She leaped onto the chef while he was in the kitchen. He was good at his job. He was busy when my wife wooed him out of the blue. To hell with the cooking, he said. Cries of joy echoed outside. People stopped eating and stared at each other in wonder. I knew what was on. It took a few minutes for the hotel manager to turn on the kill switch. Stop this insanity right now, he shouted. My wife came out disgraced and covered in flour and butter. I escorted her to the room where she transferred some of the flour and butter on to me in the hotel room on the 14th floor. I know you like it, she moaned.
If she can do it on our honeymoon, imagine what happened after that. “Who doesn’t enjoy a joyride?” She got me a girl who was about to be married. “Don’t be a killjoy. Here you go! Take care of her. Tomorrow she’s taken, so better start shaking.” She surprises me with every move. No one is willing to believe a word I say about her. You are making her sound like a monster, a friend said. Voilà!