He had read recently about a trick farmers used to catch monkeys that fed on their crops. They would take a coconut and cut out a small hole in it. They would then place a piece of fruit into said coconut and leave it in a place frequented by monkeys. When the monkeys noticed the piece of fruit in the coconut they would place a hand into the hole to remove it. But the hole was cut small enough that the monkey could not remove its hand whilst holding that piece of fruit.
When a farmer would then notice the monkeys and come out to capture it, the monkey, instead of running to safety would desperately try to remove both its hand and the fruit from the coconut and would end up being caught. When these monkeys were captured they were then placed in controlled habitats and these ‘coconut traps’ were laid out for them again. Invariably, these monkeys would be caught once again because they refused to give up the fruit and save themselves.
Taking a walk one evening, James felt like the unwise monkey; falling for the same things he had learned to be especially cautious of. Snippets of the conversation he had just walked away from played in his head, stuck in a depressing cycle of repeat.
“I’m not ready for a relationship…”
“With him, I saw things clearly…”
“I’m hung up on someone…”
“I don’t want to be insincere…”
“I need to feel the same way I felt with him…”
he thought. He had allowed it to happen again, but it was her fault wasn’t it? Coming to see him at his house, being annoyed when he didn’t call her early enough on her birthday, kissing him, putting her head on his chest, asking if she was special to him, even telling him her secrets. All of this was certainly her fault, but hadn’t he allowed himself to be baited; by being touched when she wouldn’t ask him for money, running his fingers through hers… He shouldn’t have touched her hands; that always eroded away his resolve.
She must have been lonely at first, making all the first moves. But then he began to feel things for her… And she pulled away, leaving him stranded at sea. It reminded him of some things he always wished he could forget completely. He knew he never would.
5 Years Ago…
James was on his way back to his classroom from the cafeteria, walking
silently past the Tech lab, when he saw a figure perched on a staircase,
crying silently. He stopped in his tracks, taking a step back to hide
himself. His heart skipped a beat, another, then a third, and he
thought he would faint. It was Yinka; Yinka was crying!
James did not know what to do. If it was anyone else he would have gone over to ask what was wrong, but he did not trust himself at that moment in time. Yinka did things to him; things she did not know about. She left him dazed when she spoke, upset his balance and left him catching his breath when she passed by him. Her presence was fire and ice, and he received the full force of her influence. He had spent countless hidden moments simply staring, wondering why she held such power over him. It was a mystery he hadn’t unraveled.
He was indecisive for a few minutes. They were friends, he then reasoned, and he had to help her somehow, so he walked up to her. When Yinka noticed someone was coming, she calmly began to wipe her tears away, and then she relaxed when saw that it was James. He asked her why she was crying and she debated on whether or not she would answer. She instead asked him a question of her own; “Have you ever liked someone who liked someone else?”
He remembered the conversation they had that day about Sosa, who he had already known about. He was convinced that day, that she probably felt the same way about Sosa that he felt for her, and he was left with a distasteful conclusion. He knew he would never get over Yinka, because he didn’t even want to. She was saint and prayer, one of a kind, but if she felt for Sosa the same, it was a game he would never win, the outcome decided before he even knew the score.
James could not, and would never have gotten over Yinka without Azeezat; his rescue and doom. She saved him from a nightmare he could not endure, showed him that not all light was of Yinka’s making. But then, even she had moved on, the instant they were separated and had to go to different schools. She had forgotten him like he was nothing. Yet it was she who picked him up and he had been desperate for her. He wanted to talk to her, to touch her, if only with a finger. She was the most interesting person he knew and she had taken over his thoughts completely. He had lost so much of the person he used to be, become a different person entirely on the inside; a sacrifice he could not avoid, lest memories of her consumed him completely.
He was completely guarded now. Vigilant even. He would have never let it happen again. But then he did, and it was not his fault. Kachi had woken a sleeping child, then left him unattended to. He wondered who the other guy was.
The worst thing about Sosa and Yinka was the fact that Sosa did not care much for her. And here Kachi was, in the same position, desperate for someone she would not have.
Perhaps that’s where the allure was, a desire for the unattainable. Every feeling he’d ever felt for anyone was always lesser than the last. He even fantasized from time to time about how his life would have been if he was Sosa or anyone else, with the Yinkas and Kachis of the world- the objects of their affection chasing after them. He knew he was a catch, so perhaps they had something he never would, and would hence, always be ahead when he managed to scrape the remnants of himself back together.
He made a decision. He would never be hurt again. He opened the trunk of his car, and carried his luggage inside to his parents pool as he prepared to take a cleansing swim. He brought his weights out of the gym and bound them to the luggage. Then he went to take a shower.
When James finally took a plunge into the pool, his feet were tightly bound to the weights and he held said luggage in his arms, as air bubbles rushed out from within it
Kachi regained consciousness suddenly, inhaling water as she drowned in James’ arms, along with him.
She never did realize what was going on.