She awoke from a dream. Her eyes shifted to the clock beside her. Though her mind was still foggy from her slumber, she knew there was something missing. She groped for the button on the alarm and sprawled out of bed. If only she could get her out of her head.
Once again, she visited her dreams, and Silke refused to think any further of the message that the dreams were trying to tell her about Ayano. Silke’s cell phone buzzed, once, twice, three times… it was Ayano.
“Hey, what’s up?”
“Nothing but you,” Silke thought, but dared not to text back, instead she put down the cell and got ready for breakfast. It wasn’t as if by texting her back, telling her how she felt, would change anything. Ayano had a partner, and Silke was away at college…. Far from Ayano. Yet Silke couldn’t help but think of Ayano’s laughter, and her soft smile that on anyone else wouldn’t have fit well with her cold yet sad eyes. Nor could she help but remember the night that she told Ayano that she had broken up with her own girlfriend. Silke still replayed that moment over and over. She wasn’t sure whether or not she really saw Ayano’s eyes light up at the news, or if it was just her own imagination running wild with lust for Ayano. She wanted to touch Ayano’s soft skin and taste her lips, to never let go, to make her hers.
But it was only a dream… Ayano would never break up with her partner; they had already made plans for the future. Ayano had her life set out, go to college, graduate, marry her partner, adopt a child and live happily ever after. There was no room for Silke in that future as anything other than an “aunt” to their child. But Silke wanted more than that. Though she laughed when Ayano had teased at the prospect of Silke being the aunt of her child, she wanted to help raise that child with Ayano. Together. To wait for her at the altar and say their I Do’s. That was what Silke wanted… but dared not to say. Ayano’s family would never approve of Silke anyways, and she would rather not burden her with more trouble.
Three more buzzes sounded, “When are you coming back from college?”
Again, Silke didn’t answer even though she wanted to. She couldn’t.
Their days went on like this, day in, day out. Every so often Silke would reply back, but it never seemed often enough.
However, on one particularly sunny day Silke got the text, “Ayano’s in the hospital!”
At this, Silke was sure that her heart stopped for a few moments. How could this happen? Silke thought, she’s only 18, young, kind, and strong willed.
“Where? Why?” Silke texted back.
Bzzzzt. “Wut pgs do we have 2 read?” Shut up!
She waited in terror-filled silence, clutching onto the cell for a response on Ayano’s status. It seemed as if hours dredged on and as she waited huddled on the beanbag chair, her mind wandered to the first time she met Ayano.
They were hanging out with friends, it was wintertime. Ayano shrugged off a few layers as she walked into the café after a night at the youth group. Some other people were smoking cigs outside, but she wanted nothing of that, she hugged a friend of hers. Then she laughed at something her friend said then walked… no pranced over to the counter. While she waited for her drink, she chatted up with a couple different gay guys from the group; they were interested in who this new lesbian was. She was short, slender and wore her dark hair up as if it bothered her to have it touch the back of her neck. Her facial expressions were animated, yet honest. Her eyes, however, held a little bit of sadness and her smile didn’t always touch her eyes. Yet she was beautiful, flirtatious, and cute. Ayano would every so often make hand gestures to emphasize her words, and her voice floated smoothly around Silke’s head as she spoke.
Then with drink in hand, she hugged him then walked back over to her friend, Tina. Ayano looked at Silke and smiled as she took a sip of her drink.
“Mmmm, this café makes a mean soy chai.” Then to Tina, “Scoot over.” Tina moved, and Silke found herself beside Ayano, legs touching through skinny jeans. Silke had to look away to be sure she wasn’t blushing and stroked her girlfriend’s hand. “Hey,” she piped as she shifted her soy chai to the other hand. “I’m Ayano, you?”
When Silke looked over, she found that Ayano was talking to her, and while slightly surprised she took Ayano’s hand to shake it, “I’m Silke”.
Her eyes lit up some, and her smile softened, “such a pretty name…” and as if she just realized something she perked up, “oh, wow! Your hands are so warm! And you must be her girlfriend, right?” She leaned over, and Silke couldn’t resist taking the chance to peep. “How long have you two been going out?”
“About 4 months,” Emily responded.
“Ah…..” She leaned back and took another sip, “My girl and I have been together for about 8 months now. It’s surprising how fast time flies, huh?” Ayano’s eyes retracted in thought then snapped back, “so, where are you two from?”
A text broke Silke out of her memories, “It’s in the northern part of the city. She was beaten up.”
She leaped up and ran towards the door, grabbing her keys. Silke didn’t care if she had to use all of her money she earned this week to get to Ayano. She had to find a way to get to her. As she closed the door, she stuffed her wallet into her back pocket and ran down the hall, dodging dorm mates and ignored their confused stares as she ran to the bus stop. She had to be sure that Ayano would be ok.
Finally she got onto the bus, it was empty but for nine other passengers. Only one glanced up as she skipped a few steps getting onto the bus then found a seat. Now in a seat, she texted back, “what happened?”
Thirteen minutes later, “She was helping some old lady get her groceries in2 her car. 2 men came over and started throwing slurs @ her. She turned around & asked them wut their problem was. They then threw an ice ball @ her, it hit her in the face, & she fell. They then came closer, called her more slurs, then kicked her repeatedly.”
“What about the old lady?”
Silke’s stomach dropped. “Is she ok?”
“We don’t know, she suffered multiple broken bones, she was a bloody mess when she got to the hospital.”
Silke leaned back against the back of the seat. Her body slumped like a ragdoll. She tried to think of the last time they were together to avoid crying.
They sat on the roof of her car, talking and drinking chai as the sun was about to set. It was summer, but Ayano still wore jeans and sneakers despite the heat. Her hair was now cropped short in a boyish manner, giving her the appearance of an emo guy. But the genderfuck look suited her. She was laughing over something that Silke had just told her. Then she paused, and looked down at her hands.
“You know what I don’t get?” Her slender fingers fiddled with the sleeve on her drink. “I don’t get how people can hate each other so much… and blame gays for the 51% divorce rate then claim it needs to be ‘protected’. Protected from what? Love? Marriage isn’t a Christian institution anyways… “
Silke smiled and leaned back, being careful to not slide back too far. “I really don’t think you need to worry about that. Who cares what they think? They can be bigots if they want. You can’t change them anyways, Ayano.”
She looked up with her eyes brimmed with tears, “True, but I’d like that for once, they would realize that we’re not that much different from them. We can’t help who we’re attracted to after all… and with all this hate in the world… why hold back love? Why fear it? Why seek to make the lives for those who are happy and know who they are, more difficult? Can’t they see that they’re only harming society? There’s a reason why the GLBTIQ community has such a huge issue with drugs, alcohol and depression… There’s so much negative perceptions toward sexuality… we’re told constantly that we’re sinful, going to hell, evil, perverts, and more… Sure, you can ignore it and lay in acquiescence… but what will that do other than beat you down? They hate against us constantly, but claim to love us. It’s not love though… they’re just passing judgment and are,” she clenched her now empty cup, “hypocrites”. She laughed tearfully. “We’re just constantly told these vile things, beaten down and denied rights by the government… and we have to find ways to escape. Whether art, drugs, alcohol, writing, suicide, we find ways to cope, or run away from the issues caused by the thorns of society. They just sew our lips shut and laugh at us; they mock us. Sure, some of us unbind our lips… but to what extent? How much blood and pain must be spilled before we can be treated as human beings?” Her voice started to rise a little, “I’m tired of sitting back. I want liberty; I want freedom!” She paused and placed her cup down and then lay back on the metal. “…Sorry Silke for the rant, I know how it upsets others… I just can’t help it.”
A smile slithered across her face as she looked down at Ayano’s stretched out body, she had the urge to lean over her and plant a kiss on her smooth lips. “It’s ok. It’s good to let out some of that anger.”
She looked up at Silke, “but I’m not angry… just frustrated.”
Silke soaked in Ayano’s words, not for the content, but for the smoothness of it; the innocence of it. “I….” she was going to say that she loved her but went for a different route, “How’s your girlfriend?”
“She’s… ok, we haven’t talked in a while, she’s been gone getting ready for college.” She stuck out her tongue in disgust. “How’s Emily been?”
Silke really didn’t like this new topic, “I broke up with her.”
Ayano bolted up and Silke suddenly wished Ayano would pull her close to comfort her, “I caught her cheating on me.”
“Oh… wow, that really sucks! Her loss then….” Ayano’s eyes then grazed the horizon, “oh! Silke, look! The sun is setting! It looks gorgeous, doesn’t it?”
“Yeah, gorgeous….” Her eyes were set on Ayano’s lips.
“Silke…? Did they hurt?”
“Did what hurt?”
“Your snakebites,” she said it so casually, it was almost sexy the way it came out.
Silke shrugged, “Nah, not too much. I sort of like the pain anyways.”
Ayano’s laugh sent shivers down Silke’s spine, “You’re such a masochist.”
“Are you ok?” Silke suddenly felt someone’s hand on her.
She shrugged it off and looked at the person; she was probably in her thirties, her green eyes smothered with worry, “Yeah…” She didn’t want to go into complications with a stranger on the bus.
“Are you sure?” She nagged.
“But you’re crying.” She held out a tissue.
“T-thanks.” The bus stopped and she speeded off and nearly tripped off the last step. She should have been a mile away from the hospital now. Silke looked at the street signs, but found that she suddenly didn’t know where she was. She pulled out her cell phone to look up her location.
She groaned; she was near a hospital alright, but at the opposite end of the city. She cursed under her breath and ran in the direction of the right hospital. She then turned at 31st street and halted. The sidewalks and street was blocked off; construction. She would have to find a new way. She turned back to the street she just came off of, and then tried 32nd, only to find that that street was blocked and a biker parade was inching through the streets. Back tracking, she ran to 30th street, only to hit 27th.
She turned left onto 27th, and hit High St, turned toward 31st and found 30th street. 30th was bustling with people, multiple times she was nearly clotheslined by passersby. It then started to rain and she still had to make it to 12th and Long Street. By the time she reached 20th street, her heart pounded and her feet were sore. Resting for a few seconds, she glanced around for any concession stands to get bottled water. There were none, despite being near the courthouse and a museum.
She got another text, “did u finish last nites homework?”
The church on the end of Day Avenue lay silent as if praying in solitary confinement as people entered the buildings around it. She then hit 19th Street and was still exhausted. Yet she trudged on, she needed to see Ayano to be sure she was ok… and to tell her what she failed to tell her that night on the car.
She was half way between 13th and 14th street when suddenly she overheard, “hey, look at that dyke!” “What are you running for fag?” “Slow down bitch!” Silke glanced behind her shoulder, and found she was being followed by three gangsters; she faced forward again and gasped right before smacking into a large burly man. His bear hands clenched onto her arms and spun her around, the leader of the group was lanky, with a designed chin strap beard and a tattoo that snaked up his arm to his temple. He sneered as he placed his scaly hands on Silke’s chin tilting it toward him. She bared her teeth at him, disgusted.
“Look boys, looks like we’ve snagged a butch bint,” his smile lay crooked on his broken face. “How about we have some fun with this one?” The rest of the guys jeered and jabbed at the idea, all seeming to be thrilled with the prospect of having fun with a lesbian.
On the opposite end of the street, a cop walked by, seemingly blind to the commotion as she was dragged into the alleyway. She struggled and fought against the bear-like creature that held her; yelled in protest with multiple different profanities. Finally she was able to get one hand free and bit him, he yelped. Angered, he punched her, she ignored the pain and grabbed for a broken pipe that lay on the floor. She yanked her other hand out of his grip. Screaming, she smashed the pipe against his shoulder. A splintering sound waved through the air, creating silence. She stood there for a millisecond, shocked that she broke some bones. But then ran towards the exit, only to find that the men were there.
Terrified, she skidded to a halt and bolted in the opposite direction where a high fence stretched toward the sky. Quickly, and barely even taking the time to think, she leaped onto a box. It crushed some below her, but she didn’t take heed as she jumped to a new box and flung herself onto the closed dumpster. From there, she ran toward the fence and hurdled her body toward the fence. She made it, mostly. But her hand began to slip while the guys below groped for her ankles. She violently kicked a few hands away and found her footing on the security chain-linked fence. Her hands bled from the barbed wire, but she ignored the pain until she fell to the other side of the fence. She didn’t even bother mocking the jerk as she ran away…she was actually glad to be away from them until she saw the Rottweiler standing before her, jaws snapping and ears back.
Her body froze, terrified she squeaked, “Good doggy… good doggy… don’t mind me… I’m just…”
In the distance someone whistled, the dog looked behind it, glanced back at Silke, and then ran to its master. Silke let out a sigh of relief; nearly melted into the dirty asphalt even. But a text sounded and reminded her why she wasn’t in her dorm room in the first place.
With more resolve than before, she ran out of the area towards the hospital.
She crashed through the hospital doors startling the receptionist momentarily; she stumbled forward out of breath. Enervated she gasped, “where’s Ayano?”
The receptionist sighed, “Family?”
Would like to be… “Yes” she lied.
She paused to catch her breath, “Zal, Z-A-L”.
She popped her gum, “room 289 down that hall.” She passively pointed in the general direction.
“Whatever,” and flipped the page of her magazine.
Finally Silke reached the room. She swung open the door to find Ayano’s girlfriend beside her bed.
Silke fell to the floor as the screen above the bed sneered “TOO LAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATE”, and her legs melted. Ayano’s girlfriend wept, her body hunched over beside the bed with her hands clenched tightly to her chest.
Feebly, Silke stumbled to Ayano’s girlfriend, feeling the slices and bloody shards left by Ayano’s shattered hourglass that smashed before them. The two women wept over the loss of their loved one, alone in the bloodied sands of time. All the while, a lone voice sang in the hallway.