Dip by Hadiyyah Kuma

Indera dipped her toe in the ocean and felt her skin soften. Yesterday the callouses dried. Tomorrow she would run again, barefooted and thin and alone this time. She swirled the tip of her toe around in circles as she looked up at the lavender sky. It was dawn. The eyes of the clouds were still sleepy, with the small bags of restlessness that she always found so endearing. They were her mirror, and his.

Sadhu. Brother, seeker, sister’s keeper. He’d laugh if she called him any of those things. Doctor, he would correct her. He’d snort a little and she’d lay a hand over his mouth to suffocate the sound. The vibrations of his laugh were sealed into her palm, and when she pressed her hand against her ear, she heard him ringing like a prayer bell. Curling herself like a blade of grass on the banks of the Ganges river, she said a prayer for his safe flight to Toronto.

The plane would touch down in two hours, and she would sit here until she felt his feet touch the ground. She’d feel it through the ocean, his slender toes bending and winding around hers. If he was crying, she would feel that too, she would feel the water grow thicker. She let out all the air in her spacious lungs and drained the water from her eyes. This water would join his, if he needed it. She kissed the sky and waited. It grew brighter. Two hours later, the sky was blue, and the water was the same. Her feet were the same, there was nothing but a slight pull in her heart, slow and first and then quicker, quicker, fast. A snapping of rubber bands in her chest, a warning as his feet touched down. She jumped into the ocean and swam. The feeling was heavy and sharp, and it weighed her muscles down. Swim as she might, she would never reach him.

The warning was called Abandonment and resulted from too fast a breakage between people. As the years went on, she would swim and think of Sadhu and other friends who had went away. But she would learn to live alone, and if they ever thought about her, then she would live in their bodies, joining those invisible bands that stretch from India’s body out to any other place. Something organic like heartstrings can always be repaired.

Hadiyyah Kuma is an Indo-Guyanese writer from Toronto, Ontario. Her work has been featured in the Jellyfish Review, the Hart House Review, Cosmonauts Avenue, and Acta Victoriana. Follow her on Instagram at @Hadiyyahaha and Twitter at @hahadiyya

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