The little lamp

Saturday 31 August, 2013:

IM SORRY MS!! 😦 nd I mean it ay i waz to stuborn to lyk take tha truf instd i wantd to be ryt unau. Too busy thnkn im ryt bt fxk I waz in the wr0ng big tym!! Im sorry fo all the tymz ms gvng u a headache being a hasle im sory fo every done or said to hurt or make u fee usd 😦 I miss tht juc knowing u have dat sumwun whu thea thru thick nd thin be thea fo u far HARD now days trust people. 😦 but ua difrnt ms

Pls don’t be sorry Kepaoa, no need. Im far from perfect. But I really do care abwt you and always will, straight up. And it’s good to hear from you.

It is, it means a lot to me, to hear from Kepaoa. But after almost three months, I feel a kind of wariness prickle up, too. I can’t be really sure about what anything signifies.

 

A few texts go back and forth, over the course of the day, and then – it’s as I’m cooking dinner – I get another one which says: ‘Hey ms uhm kan ask a favr plz? Plz?’

Turns out he’s in town for the weekend with his cousin – they’re after a ride home. I don’t know what to say, so I just buy some time. I tell him I’ll be busy for an hour, but to text back after 7:30, and see.

He just replies: Thanks ms, and I wonder if that’s that. Again, I’m not even sure what I’ve signaled, myself.

Then right on the dot of 7:30, another text. Asking, very politely, if there is still any possibility of a ride home.

So I make a decision. At the very least, I want to see him. I know it’s not the way it used to be, but that’s ok.

 

They’re at Municipal, down by the station. I text when I get there, and they come out to the car. Kepaoa approaches my door, and I get out and we hug, just in the way you’d hug anyone who you haven’t seen for a while. His cousin gives me a hug and a kiss on the cheek, too.

On the way to Carthill, we just chat about stuff. Work, Elroy, Tau and Leroi. I start to feel a kind of light sadness, that things seem so… ‘neutral’. It’s ok, course it is. What was I expecting? Well, nothing more, honest truth. But in my heart; that gentle sadness about it, all the same.

When we pull up in Montgomery Rd, Kepaoa’s cousin gets out and Kepaoa just sits there, quietly. He says, “It’s good to see you Miss,”

“You too,” I tell him, truthfully.

“Riding around like this… it’s like I’ve never been away,” he says

“Mmm, I guess,” I reply, unconvinced of this, but not wanting to say as much.

“It’s really good to see you,” he says again.

“It is,” I tell him. “But I feel a little bit sad, or something.”

Kepaoa nods, saying, “Me too, Miss. I just wanted to see you.” He adds, “We didn’t really need a ride, Miss. I just wanted to see you. That’s the truth.”

“I wanted to see you too,” I tell him. “I thought… sometimes I thought I might never see you again.”

“No,” says Kepaoa, and he shakes his head, then he puts his arms around me, and holds his cheek against mine. I feel his warm head kind of bump and scratch my skin, and I put my arms around him too, and we hold onto one another, just as still as can be. Kepaoa murmurs against my face, “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry for that night, Miss.”

“I’m sorry too,” I whisper back.

“It wasn’t your fault,” he says. “You were right on point, everything you said was right on point. We were behaving like little kids, I can’t believe how we were acting. I was angry at the time – then I just felt ashamed. I was too ashamed to get in touch. I thought I’d better just try to be my own man.”

We stay close beside one another, saying these things.

“I’m sorry too, I shouldn’t have yelled at you.”

“You had a right to,” he tells me.

“I didn’t,” I say. “I’m not trying to make excuses, I could have done it differently. And I tried to get in touch, and to tell you – but you never replied. So I knew I just had to leave it.”

“I was missing you hard out,”

“Me too,” I say.

 

There’s a little tap at the car window. Kepaoa’s cousin has been waiting to go inside – the door is locked, and he doesn’t have a key. He’s just been waiting there patiently, in the cold. Kepaoa laughs and gives him the key.

Then he says, “And me and Teri have broken up.”

“Oh, right,” I reply, kind of noncommittally.

“Yup, I broke it off with her,” he tells me. “She went back to Oz, and… I didn’t feel the same anymore.”

“Really?” I ask.

“Yes, really. I just… I dunno, Miss. It just wasn’t what I wanted anymore, I guess.”

“Was it hard though, at first?”

“No,” he says. “Honestly, it wasn’t as hard as I thought.”

“Well, algood then, if you’re happy,” I say.

“I’ve grown up heaps,” he tells me quietly. “Heaps, I reckon.”

“Yeah,” I say, looking at him. “Working man and all. Getting money, taking care of your own.”

“Trying to,” he says. “Miss – I’m trying to.”

“That’s all good,” I say.

“Man, Miss – it’s good as to be riding around with you again,” he says again. “Just kickin it with you again – I’ve missed it heaps. And, I’m sorry, Miss.”

“I’m sorry too,”

“No need.”

And then we just hug one another again. Our heads resting side by side, pressed close and quiet. I can feel Kepaoa’s hands stroking my shoulders, and I run one fingertip over the back of his head, rubbing his buzz cut hair.

 

I know, I know. I write about it so tenderly, and yet everything’s ‘charged’ too, in a way. I know it, and sometimes I yearn for the world to be different, and for time to be… fluid, so that I maybe could have met Kepaoa in a different time and place. But it is what it is, hmm. I guess what I’m saying is, I understand that it’s got to be this way, and not some other way. It’s this time, and this place – and I’m alright with that.

All day I’ve been remembering that Katherine Mansfield story; the one that finishes: “I seen the little lamp.”

Because that’s how I feel. Sure can’t have it all. But it’s something, to be me, here, right now. It’s something, it isn’t nothing.

 

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