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I’m Just Going to Write XI

Sissa and Tulle sit in the hammock chair hanging from the ginkgo tree in the back of the estate. Sissa strokes Tulle’s bare forearm as the breeze soothes their hanging legs. Tulle smiles, takes Sissa’s hand in hers. “You are always so kind to me,” she says. Sissa is quiet, watching the birds eating from the ground, smiling softly.

“I know,” Sissa winks at Tulle.

Sissa’s thumb softly strokes the back of Tulle’s hand. She lets out a needed and pending question. “So what is the deal with your mother?”

Tulle’s body caves ever so slightly. She too is looking at the birds, but her energy has shifted. “I don’t know. I haven’t talked to her.”

“But why?”

Tulle can only bring herself to slowly walk her hands around Sissa, until her arms embrace Sissa’s middle and her head rests on Sissa’s chest. She breathes for a few moments before saying, “She is like a dark heart in me. I think of her and I get sad.”

Sissa strokes Tulle’s shoulder, her chin in Tulle’s thick untwisted curls. The convent rules have restricted everyone from engaging in committed relationships. Larissa has warned that ‘should you begin a relationship with a sister, you do so at your own peril.’ It’s a risk Sissa is unwilling to take. She wants to be obedient. But the way she feels with Tulle is like home. Is like floating in water and knowing that the water holds you warmly up. Is like the sun shining on you in that water.

“Well, how do you feel when you think of me?”

Tulle shifts up to look at Sissa’s eyes. For a moment she is quiet. Then, “I think of heaven.”

Sissa’s face warms.

“When I think of you, I know that this is what heaven is like.”

Sissa squeezes Tulle with her arms around her smiling. “What about your mother? What memory do you have of her that is even close to that feeling?”

Tulle rests her head on Sissa’s chest again. She seeks within her an answer. A thought that flees but feels safe and kind. She finds one. “I think of a day by the water. Before she was sick. My brother was little and she was showing him letters in the soil. Laughing with him. Writing in the soil with her fingers. I wished she could be like that with me. But I was happy that she could share that, even with him.”

Sissa exhales. Massaging Tulle’s arm. Realizing then that she had been holding her breath. She is relieved there is an answer. “Ok. We can work with that.”

“How can we find more mercy for her?” she asks Tulle.

Tulle pulls up and sits back in the hammock, diagonally from Sissa, pondering.


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About Lolade

Lolade is a Gates Cambridge Scholar, starting her PhD in Sociology with the 2019 class. She recently graduated with her MA in African Studies [Sociology discipline] from Yale University where she researched ethnic identity formation among Nigerian immigrants in New York, Tokyo and Mumbai. She is the author of 'Market of Dreams' a radical poetry collection about love and freedom. She obsesses over indigenous textiles, cultural preservation and innovation, and intimately connecting the African Diaspora.

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