Christie Kandiwa

Kayssie K is an Afro-Irish poet and singer with a wild passion for nature and self-love. You might find her drinking a coffee in a cafe by the sea or breaking down in the college library during exam times. She’s been published in magazines like Seventh Wave Magazine, Cosmic Orgasm, Not So Popular and loads more. However, when the sun sets and the moon is out, she turns into an Instagram poet.

The Virtue of Kindred Souls

“We are different.
My hair is different. My skin is different. My colour is different. My values are different. And it’s okay to talk about that.

If we just talk about the fact that we are different and acknowledge why we are different,
instead of pretending that nobody is different, and still secretly thinking that we are different, we might finally be all on the same page
And be less…
Different
-Vir Das

Our first words seem negligible in comparison to those that emanated –
those that now lay washed up on our bottom lips –
waiting for our breath to shove them further into existence,
whether in a whisper or a shout,
there care not about how they escape, but worry if they ever will.
Thereupon our first meeting,
between the gasps of gossiping teenagers gushing away with the sun on their foreheads,
I decided I would carry her beneath my wings as if her own had been broken.
For I knew the mountains and the valleys of the world
and her the timid hills and fields.

I came to learn that her wings had never been broken
but merely weary.
At times I grew weary and impatient,
but our feet would find their way beside each other –
Synchronised –
and tittles would float around in the air around us to our dwelling.
At first, we grasped each other in fragmented conceptions,
then tying them up at the waist
with fugacious assumptions built on past perceptions.

Gingerly we learned to mould those assumptions into rigid comprehensions of the body before us.
Comprehensions built on thoughts,
she and I would share,
whether we were soaked in the biting rain
and our noses stung from trying to smell the sea-
or in the blazing hot blue of the early summer skies
when Bray town suddenly resuscitated from its unconsciousness.
We would haul those thoughts upon our shoulders,
dividing the limbs in half
until I held the arms and her the feet,
past the dargle river until we split paths,
almost every day for seven years.

We never held hands,
but compassion had wrapped us together by the hips
until her battles became mine,
and my tears became her own.

A mutual understanding that surpassed religion, culture and boundaries.

He is all pine and I am an apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, ‘Good fences make good neighbours’.
Robert Frost // Mending Wall

Our friendship was built on sincerity,
but wreaked of boundaries.
We understood how some stones were better left unturned,
so we submitted to the compromise.

Dinners were foreign along with celebrations, never once shared pictures online and discussions of the ‘real’ God were prohibited.

Instead, we shared gifts before birthday dinners,
laced text messages in luck
and encouraged each other in prayer.

And that is when we began to blossom,
in respect, humility, empathy
and understandings of different customs and religion.
We bloomed beautifully.
We had endured the pain that exceeded our age,
hence we matured accordingly.

She had endured wars of guns and bombs,
nothing I could ever match up to,
but excluding that, our stories were kindred.

Our rendezvous were a bittersweet freedom trailing to our prison.
Often enough, we would extend the trail past our abodes and –
all the way back exploring all the dimensions of our existence from all angles.

We sliced ourselves and shared our pieces with each other in doses,
our fears,
our dreams,
our thoughts and hopes.

We cried,
and laughed,
held each other,
pushed each other,
criticised each other
and encouraged each other –
in those two kilometres.

We ventured our future of when we would marry,
how I would send my children to her house for discipline,
as she did so well to me,
and how even if she failed to invite me to her wedding I would spontaneously appear ready to celebrate. How I would spend seven days covered in henna tattoos, a hijab and Shalwar Kameez that we had spent so many years googling and trying out.

“I’ve heard it said that people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led to those who help us most to grow
If we let them and we help them in return.”
― Stephen Schwartz

 

When she moved away, it was ordinary for my heart to break and feel anxious. We sat on the bed, drinking tea, attempting to piece our broken hearts with logic and convincing ourselves peripheral distance wasn’t enough to undo the knots around our bodies. Sitting there we squeezed each other until our chests refused to rise and only then did we realize.
Months tiptoed past us with few yet perspicacious correspondence, and began to trudge following my godmothers passing. I tried to find my feet, and my breath all at once, which often resulted in falling face flat, but I would stand back up, stumbling, only to try again. She flew over a few weeks after the funeral, we visited the family and were surprised by the consuming hugs she received despite the known boundaries, of seeing her only twice, during the trips from school when my Godmother would adversely stop, and force us in the car when she could.
The day before our parting, we sat on my double bed surrounded by the unfeeling walls of my studio apartment, crowded by all my family’s belongings packed into the mountains of suitcases, drinking tea with cookies. Unwrapping all our thoughts we had mounted to the tips of our tongues until it slept at the bottom of our mouths from exhaustion leaving us mumbling. We cried together that night until it was so late, she had to race home before she got in trouble.
In the month preceding, I was alerted that she had moved back home and in hopes to marry a cousin her family approved of, despite her denial. It was in that moment that our boundaries became like boulders on my shoulders and our understanding amounted to nothing. I shook my mind of everything I knew of her and ways to help, only to realise, I really was the only one who knew the depth and width of her valleys and mountains. The only one to know it all constituted to her strength.

And I hope there are more nooks and crannies than those she had revealed to me. Enough to keep her strong.

“I don’t know when we’ll see each other again or what the world will be like when we do. We may both have seen many horrible things. But I will think of you every time I need to be reminded that there is beauty and goodness in the world.”
― Arthur Golden // Memoirs of a Geisha

 

© Christie Kandiwa