Exploring the stories of women who live by a ride-or-die philosophy

[SHORT STORY] climax (part 2 of 3)

by jeff tanaka

[Note from the Editor: jeff tanaka was our guest male contributor for the month of February. This is a continuation of a story that began last month. Please read part 1 “awakening” HERE]

she fought in circles – mirroring the smoke as it spiraled upwards towards the sky. her classes had finished and she was outside now amidst the concrete campus, one with the cold. she held her spliff close in hand as she found a scattering of trees. the branches sheltered her as she lit up staring blankly past the crowd of students hustling by.

usually she came here to meet the boys – they would talk shit and unwind but today she was alone, her only company came from the dull brightness of the sun radiating beneath the thick clouds. the faint sky lit up her depression and she felt a vague heat emanating from somewhere within her body. she must still be alive.

several hours before in a uniformly washed white classroom her mind had lost itself. she descended abruptly into crazy as her classmates recited some next level bull shit – each consecutive multi-syllable word they spoke sounding slightly more devoid of emotion than the last. biting her tongue she resisted the temptation of following her anger. she knew with a flip of the mind her rage could turn a classroom on its head. and though tempting, explosions and altercations like this were inevitably wholeheartedly condemned and forbidden by the administration.

as she inhaled, the vapours crossed into her mind merging with a chorus of maniacal laughter that beat life steady into her head. somewhere in a haze before her tongue the sound of the laughter congregated, lurking. it echoed deviantly and silently, drawing the energy of her mind into its trance.

she knew these strange contortions of noise well. they were the type of thing that would make the authorities uncomfortable if they ever decided to present themselves in public. but for now the world remained ignorant to her maniacal brilliance that lingered precariously – held just barely by her tongue, waiting for its imminent explosion. she remained ever confident that her own means of protection and evasion were infinitely stronger than any attempt they could make at understanding or surveilling her.

staring ahead she catches the eye of one of the men who walks by but quickly her gaze falls from his. she is too sensitive to these masses of pale faces at the university. she remembers these well-presenting men too often use words like handguns, heavy with hatred, their arrows and demons always within arm’s reach. they appear unnervingly content as they continue their century long bondage with some twisted cycle of violence. perhaps their minds have been segregated far too many times –perhaps their hearts have held far too little.

as the spliff transforms in ritual to ash the force fields she constructed around herself fall. she breathes different, no longer remaining so taut and closed. for a moment, she does not need to be quite the same type of fighter – still she does not disarm. fire burns her lungs collaborating with the cold air – all inside her is dry and there is a desert forming itself on the curves of her lungs. the sands kick up in the wind, and she coughs deep. her throat closes around itself and for a moment she loses her breath.

she looks instinctively from earth to sky – sky to earth – earth to sky. her breath returns as the cycle is completed and the laughter in her mind reaches a frenetic climax, a point of no return and then slowly begins to dissipate.  her legs begin to move and she is once again, on the move.

(to be continued…)

she puts in her headphones and presses play:


1. comfort inn ending freestyle – jhene aiko
2. hoodlove – jazmine sullivan
3. mr. wrong -mary j. blige and drake
4. call me – tweet
5. champion – mila j and b.o.b.
6. without me – fantasia
7. talkin about – tink and lil herb
8. freakum dress – beyonce
9. long way 2 go – cassie
10. what about us? – brandy
11. silly ho – tlc
12. dumb – jazmine sullivan
13. smoke, drink, break-up – mila j
14. scars – ashanti
15. jilted – moxiie
16. can’t raise a man – k. michelle
17. playa 4 life – rochelle jordan

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetjeff writes when he is supposed to. he believes words have influence and hold power so he uses them intentionally. jrtanaka@gmail.com



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