“Seriously Nayeim, I don’t know how to thank you.”
“Dude chill, it’s no big deal, really.”
“It is for me, trust me it is for me. You’ve bailed me out, massively.”
“Ahh, I didn’t realise…it’s fine, no problem at all. Just hope that it all works out.”
“Oh it will now, at least I hope so. So uhm, yeah, thanks again. I’ll–I’ll catch you a little later then.”
“Sure thing. See you, man.”
Tino put down the phone, heaving an enormous sigh. In front of him, a message flashed across the screen, confirming the transfer of money. Finally.
The last few days had been pretty desperate. A couple of months ago, he had enrolled into this online programme in theatre arts. At first it was simply an attempt at exploring a long time hobby. However, the more he got into it, the more he had realised he did not belong in an office in front of a computer. He wanted to be behind the curtains in a theatre, creating masterpieces that would take audiences into a world of his own crafting.
Of course, simply wishing for a career of your choice didn’t mean you would get it. Not in his household, at least. Standing in his way would be the six-foot, four-inch wall of stereotypes and disapproval that was his dad.
But now, however, there was hope. A few weeks ago he had come across this internship opportunity from one of the largest studios in the country. At first he felt it was pointless to apply, he had next to zero qualifications. However, he then remembered his theatre course, and the dots began to connect in his head. His heart fizzed about in his chest. This certificate would give him enough of a background to apply for the internship.
Once he got to the interview phase, he was confident of winning over the judges with sheer talent. And once he secured this opportunity, this paid opportunity, he could walk away from his dad’s taunts and follow his own path in life. He thanked the heavens for Nayeim and his generosity. It was only with this loan he could purchase said certificate.
Tino bolted up, hurriedly closing all the tabs. The last thing he needed was for his dad to find out before he got in.
“I’m coming!” He yelled, in case whoever happened to be on the other side was running out of patience.
After double checking to ensure his tracks were covered, he skipped over to the door and undid the lock.
“Ayana,” his voice cracked slightly, much to his chagrin. “What is it?” He reinforced his tone firmly, almost charging his sister.
“I needed a little help with something,” she answered absentmindedly, helping herself in.
“Ahh, sure,” his stomach sank an inch or two, what was this about? Last he recalled she was out with their father.
She sat down on the bed, not bothering to look at him.
“What is it?”
“You got some extra cash I can borrow, 2k-ish?”
Tino’s head rocked back.
“Ahh, what for exactly?”
“Really, you’re gonna launch an investigation now?”
He flushed slightly pink. What was he doing? This was hardly the first time either of them had asked each other for money. It was probably to get a present for her new crush or something.
“Sorry. Ahh, thing is, I’m kind of strapped myself right now.”
“You sure?” There was an injection of angst in her voice, taking Tino by surprise.
“What do you mean if I’m sure?”
“I–I’m sorry,” she shook her head, “it’s just, I really, really needed it. Can’t you…help me manage something?”
Now Tino raised an eyebrow.
“If it’s that important, just ask dad. Not like he ever says no to you.”
“No,” Ayana was forceful.
“No I ah, I don’t wanna ask dad.”
Odd, Tino thought to himself. Ayana was their father’s favourite. He spent twice the amount of time with her as he did with Tino. The two of them even went on trips without Tino and his mother. If Ayana really was in desperate need for cash, as long as it wasn’t anything illegal, she could easily get it out of their father. Unless, it was something illegal.
“You’re not doing hard drugs are you?”
“I mean, you are being pretty mysterious right now.”
“No, no damn it,” her voice was shaking.
“Hey,” Tino put an arm around her, “what the hell happened?”
“I–I…” Her eyes welled up.
“Ayana you’re scaring me. Please, say something.”
“I need to leave Tino, I need to leave now.”
“Wha–wo–what do you mean you need to leave? Go where, and why?”
“I have this person in my life. I…want to run away, and be with…”
“Woah, woah, woah. The hell, Ayana? Alright, great, you’re in love, so why do you need to run away? What did you drink today?”
“Listen to me!”
Tino nearly fell off the bed.
“Tino, dad’s gonna kill me, I have to get away now.”
“Why, is this guy the son of his arch nemesis or something?” Tino snorted hysterically.
“It’s…not a guy, Tino.”
It took a moment before it registered in Tino’s brain.
“Ahh, ok, wow. I mean, fine, fine. So, great, you’re out the closet.”
“And dad’s gonna kill me for it.”
“Okay what the hell are you on about, you’re dad’s favourite. He literally spends most of his time with you.”
“NOT BECAUSE HE LOVES ME, not in the way he’s supposed to.”
Tino could not answer. All his thoughts, all his wit was driven from him. He felt like his blood had stopped in his veins, he could barely feel his stomach.
“And he knows. About me and Julia, he knows, Tino. I literally ran away from him.”
She grabbed both his arms.
“He will probably be back soon, and then I’m done for. I have to…”
“I’ll transfer the money.
“I’ve got some money, I ah had it saved away for something, but this is more important.”
He immediately found his phone and began inputting the transaction details.
“I’m giving you all I’ve got but how is this gonna be enough?” He asked, still glued to his phone waiting for the confirmation.
“She got this job, in another town. That’s where we’re headed. Once there, I’ll find something, too.”
His phone beeped.
“It’s done,” he said, looking up from the notification message.
“Save it. We’ll see each other soon enough. We’ll talk then, alright?”
“Now get out of here.”
Ayana turned and ran, thundering out the door. A minute or so later, he heard the main door slam. Wow, she must have had her stuff packed beforehand. Either that or she left completely empty-handed. Tino sank into his chair, praying his sister makes it, determined to follow in her footsteps and escape this nightmare soon.
Whether it’s pop culture, fiction or politics, writing is Saam’s ultimate passion and reprieve.