She Who Hides
Every Saturday at 1 A.M., I wake up and drive in the moonlit avenues.
It all started with a dream. Behind her was a white car—my white car. She was standing beneath the sunset. All I knew was that her name is Calypso and she looked exactly like me.
“I beg you, please, help me! Let me out. Please, please,” she cried, holding my hands. I didn’t get her. I didn’t say anything. Yet it was gut-wrenching to see her begging on her knees. It was as if I saw me.
Not long after, she stopped crying. She stood up straight, and with a weary smile, she said, “Thank you. You’ll know the answers to this.”
Then I woke up at 1 A.M. I made my way to my car, and drive. Following every footstep Calypso wanted me to go.
Tonight, I—Calypso—dress up as pretty as she can. Curly hair, red lipstick, a little black dress, and the highest heels I own. We stop at a local nightclub. There’s a line of desperate people waiting to get in. The bouncer’s steady, ignoring all their complaints. Calypso walks toward him, passing the long queue. Hips swaying side to side, eyes locked on him.
“Come on in, missy,” says the bouncer, smirking, gazing at her.
As she takes a step inside, the neon lights illuminate her face. Red, blue, and purple hues. She walks in with a sense of familiarity. As if she belongs here.
She approaches the bar and just sits there, observing the people dancing. Then, the bartender taps on her shoulder.
“From that guy over there,” he says, handing the glass, pointing at someone sitting at the corner of the bar.
“What’s this?” she asks.
She takes the cold glass and catches its scent. It’s something different, yet exotic. She tastes the bitterness and sweetness of it. She doesn’t even flinch, she just gulps it down, bold and fast. Indulging the warm and dull drowsiness. As if this isn’t the first time, she tastes it.
“So, do you like it?” When she doesn’t answer, he continues, “Figured it suits you. The drink.” He smells of cheap perfume, cigarettes, and sweat. His hair’s greasy and his smile reminds you of a maniac.
“Thanks. It was good.”
“Glad you liked it. I’m Theo.”
“Eve,” says Calypso.
“Do you wanna dance, Eve?” He gives her his hand.
She bounces with the music. Theo gave her another drink. She’s light and smiling and laughing. Like she’s never been blue. With his hands on her waist, they dance and drink through the night.
At one point, they get out of the club and go to her car. Calypso is in the passenger seat. “You sure, you can drive?” she asks, laughing.
“Who says we’re driving?” He says, touching my hair, fondling it with his finger. “You’re gorgeous, Eve.” He stares at my lips.
She leans closer, until my face is dangerously close to him. His hand is now touching my chin.
“I know.” Then, our lips touch.
You may not want to remember this, she says to me.
In just a moment, everything’s black.
I wake up in my room with a migraine. It’s 3 P.M, my dress and mascara from the night before, and I feel like throwing up. So, I run to the bathroom. It left a sour taste in my mouth.
“Just how much did you drink?” I whisper, leaning my head on the wall. I pick my body up and hop into the shower. As the cold-water streams through my body, I keep thinking of last night.
This is what Calypso does during our late-night drive. She initiates things that are so foreign to me. And as much as I want to deny it, I find bliss in our drives. Calypso made me feel things that I come to love and hate at the same time.
It happened last year. They’d talk to me as if I was one of them. We’d laugh and eat lunch together. Afterward, they’d take me to the park—a secluded one. On one of my lucky days, it would end with insults and spits. On one of my worst, I’d get bruises all around. The last time they did it to me was when everybody was at the match. I was alone in the sixth-floor storage room. They locked me in during the last period. I grew tired of screaming for help the first thirty minutes. But, at those hours, I was thinking of ending things.
There was a craft knife in one of the boxes. It was an ugly plastic green, the blade was rusty but somehow sharp. If I were to die that night, no one would know. If they did, the only way possible is that they’d smelt my rotting carcass, then figured something’s odd.
I was about to scratch the knife onto my wrist, the blade was touching my skin. I could feel the cold and coarse of it. The metallic scent didn’t throw me off—nothing could at the time. I lifted and placed it just above my veins. In one slight move, I could’ve ended the pain.
That was when I heard the handle twisted. It was Mr. Moore, the janitor. He was looking for the spare brooms. The match was over and people were helping him sweep the court. He asked what I was doing there, to which I answered, “Having some time alone.” And I left. That night was the first time I met Calypso.
When I first saw her, I could feel the unfamiliar ecstasy that she is. There was a wildness in her. The kind who dares to do the unknown. The kind who lives by her own rule. The me that I could never be.
On the first Saturday I woke up as Calypso, she knew what I was going through. I was pretty sure she can read my mind.
I can help you, but only if you let me, she said. I wasn’t sure how I answered her, all I knew was, I needed her help. Don’t worry, everything will be fine. Then I forgot what had happened. The next Monday, they didn’t bother me anymore. It was as if they feared me.
Theo offers to pick me up at 8. At this point, I just need someone to talk to. I dress up a little—the way Calypso would. Tight-fitting dresses and light make-up.
Theo’s an hour late. When I get into the car, he’s listening to some EDMs. It irks me how places his hand on my thigh.
“Aren’t you the hottest thing ever?” he says.
With a faint smile, I say, “Good to see you.”
We drive to the edge of the city—the cliffside. Sitting on his trunk, staring at the city lights. If only, I’m not with him, this could be a scene from a romance movie. He inches closer. His breath smells of cigarettes, eyes closed. He reminds me of hatred. Pure hatred. The kind I feel toward them. On this very second, I want him to feel all the things I wanted them to feel. All my misery. Even just a slight. His face’s so relaxed, I place my hand on his cheek, caressing it soft and slow.
“The fuck do you think you’re doing?” Silence. “Answer me, you bitch!”
I can’t move. I want the pain.
“You’re not gonna speak, huh?” He gets up, pulling my hair hard and fast, then throws me to the ground.
You need my help. I can help you, but only if you let me.
“Still not talking?”
I get up.
“You know, Theo. You remind me of my dad.”
“The fuck you’re talking about?”
“That disgusting hair. The cigarettes, even your perfume. Oh, and we can’t forget the anger issues. How fucking pathetic could you possibly be? I bet you’re hiding something behind…,” I pause, staring at him head to toe. His chest pumps up and down. His face’s a mixture of shock and rage. “All of that.” I walk closer to him. As I try to caress him once again, he catches my hand.
“You think I’d fall for that?”
“No.” I lean closer and kiss him. Enduring his sickening scent and touches. He kisses like drinking. Gulping every bit of my lips while I reach into his pocket. I grab his match. The guy doesn’t even notice. I light it up until it touches the back of his shirt. Any second now.
“The fuck! You crazy fucking bitch!” He pulls away and throws himself to the ground. He screams helplessly while I get into his car and drive.
I feel it too. Just like that first Monday, how they stopped bothering me, I feel it too. The erratic impulse, I feel it too. The wildness and ecstasy of the unknown. Calypso. I can feel her.
I drive faster and faster, just like Calypso would. Still at the cliffside, I stop miles away. I get off the car and walk closer to the cliff. Watching the city lights, I’m thinking of ending things.
I don’t know what’s going on, but I can feel it. The bruises, the cold and coarse of the blade, the pain, the hatred, the wildness, the ecstasy. All come rushing through like a wave.
“Please help,” I say, leaning on the car. “I don’t want to do this, please help.” I can feel it. All of it. I don’t want to feel it. I don’t want this. I never meant it to be like this. “Calypso, help!” I can’t see anything through the tears. It hurts. All of it. Life hurts. I don’t want to feel it. “Please, help. I don’t want this, please help. Someone… anyone… please, please, please… help.”
You may not want to remember this, Eve.
“How do I forget?”
I can help you.
Let me in, Eve. Let me take over.
Calypso is wild and daring. An antithesis of me. There’s a numbness in her—one that I’m envy of. The way she doesn’t care about the world. The way she stands up for herself. The way she does what she wants to do. I want to be her. Calypso.
In just a moment, everything’s black.
Tania is an Indonesian student writer with a scattered mind full of “what if”(s). What if she gets out of this tiny town? What if she becomes an author? What if she doesn’t? What if her stories are not good enough? What if it is good enough? What if she stops thinking of “what if”(s)?