I am sitting in my apartment, unpacked, and I am so, so exhausted. Work begins tomorrow. My head feels like it has exploded, and my hands won’t stop shaking.
The cause? The man who shouted hekhiakouri gekhasėo at me on the Skyrail this morning. The streets were so unfamiliar, and I cut lim off on the access ramp. It wasn’t until that moment that I realized that my mother is right. A move to Central Shija five years after the Narahji Protests means that I must stay on my guard constantly.
I told lim that five years was an eternity. I’ve had glances on the Skyrail before while visiting Galasu, but most of my work over the past few years has kept me in Narahja. The Sabaji Tveshi still frown when making eye contract with me, and if I smile, they stare at me as if I have slapped them. My father says that the protests made the Sabaji Tveshi remember the disconnect between their culture and the culture of the Ịgzarhjenya to the South. My father is Īpahi and is very blunt during any conversations about Tveshė. I’m surprised that the state naturalized lim.
The Sabaji Fadehin is our Deimo. The Sabaji think that it is an insult for us to call lim the Deimo. One can only be a Fadehin when the monarchy has its seat in Narahja. Even if I were to use Fadehin publicly, it would be a lie. Sehịnta never meant for all of Tvaji to be united.
On my way, I saw several other Ịgzarhjenya individuals. One of them helped me with my luggage, and another held a door. It is as if the Sabaji Tveshi have forgotten what mesahele means because they did nothing. This isn’t like a tourist visit. Will I need to deal with this every time I go out in public for the next however many years?
An hour later. Kati and I made dinner. I feel a bit better. There are only two of us family in the apartment, and le’s Shiji. We are so different, and considering the Skyrail incident, how do I relate to lim? How can le be Uncle Bizarmu’s daughter? At least the family’s satellite home is only a short walk away.
I lied about needing to finish unpacking and called Suka immediately after Kati left the apartment to work on a music gig. “I despise Galasu,” was the first thing out of my mouth.
I have many, many reasons.
The accents sound staccato and inelegant. They don’t know how to use consonants.
I hate that it takes me three or four times to understand what someone wants.
I hated it when, in the train station, they laughed when I reversed the subject, verb, and object completely. I was tired. I had been on the train for over a day! I despise how much thinking about that makes me want to cry. As I told Suka, I need to be the best that I can be. Salus, how can you become great when you cannot even speak the national language fluently enough?
“Stop spewing shit,” Suka told me. “You have the job you wanted. Your mother even allowed you to go, and you found family to live with. It sounds like a small price to pay for your goals. I can send you things—fruit, newspapers, whatever you want. Just tell me everything. Do they really bathe in henna up there? Does the color look atrocious?” Le scrunched ler face up and stuck out ler tongue. I laughed.
Suka behaves so tactfully towards everyone, even the nuamua. Le never stopped being my friend, not even through the worst of my grief. Ler smile makes Enahari’s thousand suns dim by comparison, and it emanates from ler eyes. My face, glum as the monsoon sky, could never compare. Le should have received the position at the Progressive Movement National Headquarters. I know that le applied for it. Our friendship is strong.
“Try keeping a journal,” le said by text while late last night. That’s why I started it earlier this evening when the stress was so great I couldn’t hold my misery in.
Suka says that it will give me some insight into Shiji culture. The words surprised me because Suka has never been a controversial person. I’m surprised that le would recommend something so asocial. If it gets out that I am writing a journal, I don’t know what people will think of me, especially my mother. It’s a Madhzi thing, and everyone knows that the Madhzi have no family values.
Maybe I need something to turn myself inward. After the train, I could use a break from constant socialization. Sitting next to that eight-year-old bratty boy bouncing a ball against the ceiling was infuriating. We were on that train for seven hours, and le only stopped doing that to eat! It was the third time that I can remember wishing I could be free of other people.
But what if wanting to be alone becomes a habit? O Salus, what if this journaling is a Madhzi habit unsuitable for an Ameisi person?
This is what Suka wrote to me yesterday: It won’t hurt you. I keep a journal, and it has never given me the desire to chop someone up and put lim in a freezer.
None of Suka’s confessions has ever made me regret our friendship ritual. I’m flattered that le told me.
The conversation tonight made me feel better. I have replayed the vid as I write. It’s hard to see anything because I keep nearly crying.
Le is my friend forever, and forever is the stuff of dreams.