I don’t have much say in what I do or where I end up. That’s life for me. Where I came from? Probably a factory on the lower side of the city. That’s what most people say. Before I came into being it was darkness. Only for a little while though. Then out I came.
White. Pristine. I had words scribbled across me. I think that was my name. But since I couldn’t read, still can’t, I went by what I heard people call me. Juala. Or Jei. I like Jei. It has personality. Life for us is where the wind takes us. Literally. I’ve had so many friends. I don’t have a best friend anymore. Now I’m with matt. Hovering somewhere above dusty roads and browned grass.
I remember the day I came out like it was yesterday. Or maybe today. Time for me, us, isn’t really a thing. Coming out for me means different than it means for you. First I don’t have sexuality. It would be weird. You don’t look at a paper bag and go ‘yes that’s sexy baby let me buy you a drink’. You people live complicated lives. Chasing dreams. Finding purpose. Finding someone. We are born with only one. To carry. Imagine that. Born into your purpose. I was barely a few minutes old. Some rich guy. I think he was rich. I didn’t know that then but I’ve been around enough to know money when I see it. I felt a hand reach in and grab me. I knew it was it. My time. Fulfill my purpose.
Where we come from is kind of like a womb. We’re many of us. And there’s idle chatter. From the ones that made it out but were pushed back in. They’ve had a glimpse of the outside world and we listen to them with awe and reverence. They say while it is our purpose to carry. Some have greater purpose. Some carry more important stuff. Others carry award stuff. Some aren’t strong enough and so others have to help them carry. Secretly I hoped I got to carry weird stuff. Like the toiletries. The lubes. The latex sex thingies. I’m not your normal bag I’m weird. I’ve always thought I was meant for something much greater than carrying. As I left the womb I had a scruffy voice
‘leta hio juala’ it said.
First time I heard my name said.
Roughly I was handed to another hand. I was creased. But still excited. Waiting to fulfill my purpose. I thought I’d carry something weird. I didn’t. Kind of like you guys. How we plan life isn’t how it turns out. I only caught a glimpse of the rich guy. I wondered how his place would be like. Probably comfortable with lots of company. He looks like he does this a lot. Looks like he has a room just for us. Utopia. I was passed on to some older lady. She had a green paper bag. Torn and worn. Inside were maize cobs. Her rubber shoes were dusty. Unceremoniously I was put over the green bag. I was going to be a helper. It meant I was strong. But do you know how awkward it is to stay around old people? It’s the same with old paper bags. They nag. They talk out of place. They smell. Old people have a funny smell. Like age smells. You can smell old. It’s just awkward. Like being turned inside out to carry food. Okay let me use something you’d know. Like sitting next to your ex at a wedding. Or being next to a tuk-tuk driver as he’s maneuvering the congested streets. From the looks of the tattered bag I knew where I was going I’d be alone. No company. I’d be as used as the old bag. Then disposed. I was only a few minutes old and I hated my life.
On my way I noticed a lot of things. A lot of my kind littered the streets. In different states of despondency. Some looked at me and admired how clean I was. Others just smirked. Like they knew a truth hidden to me. Others were fulfilling their purposes. Carrying. Some complaining under the stress of too much weight. Others. The lucky ones. With barely nothing. Probably a single lingerie. They were pretty too with fancy words written across. Glossy like they’d had make up. Snobs. Some of them ended up lime most of us. Others won over people with their charm and good looks. Mostly good looks. And were kept. As souvenirs maybe. But they were kept. Never used to carry dirty things. Never used to dispose garbage. Never left on the ground. There’s a word you people use a lot. Bitch. Yes those bitches. Pardon my french. They feel too good for us.
The moment I hit the floor I almost cried. It was rough. I think that’s when I got my first tear. A small rip. Nothing big. But a tear. In my world once you tear you seem to lose value. For you, scars are brandished. A sign of bravery. Survival. Strength. For us they show weakness. Inability to carry on. So I knew in one way or another I was done. I wasn’t so far off. Kids came running towards me. They seemed happy. I almost smiled until they tool me off and threw me on the side. I landed on a pool of dirty water. They were interested in Green. Or at least what green had inside. What’s that thing you say? It’s what’s on the inside that counts? Ungrateful little bastards. I helped green. They should thank me. The old lady quickly came and picked me up from the ground. Straightened me out and folded me. Maybe she wasn’t so bad after all. She murmured something to the kids and I heard my name again. The sweet melodious sound of my name. She stuffed me into a drawer. A smelly drawer where, surprise, there were others like me.
I said the drawer was smelly. I didn’t know just how much it smelt until it was closed. It smelt of despair. It’s where I first met Boro. Also the last time I met Boro. Fun guy. Horse drawn on on him. Cigarettes. He didn’t really smoke. Fire kills us. Kind of like you. But he had one drawn on him and it made him cool. He told me of something I’d never heard of before. Wind. He said it lifted us. Took us places. To the sky. Close to your gods. To new lands. Places we’d never be needed. Places they’d hate us. Dirty a places. Clean places. On top of trees. Dump sites. Rumor had it he’d been in the wind too long. Lost grip on his sanity. But there was something in the way he spoke. Something about being in the wind. Not knowing where you’d end up. Living life knowing your purpose is good but once you’re done what next? I needed the wind. I had to get out.
Kids right? Naughty people. One afternoon the drawer opened. Mucus dripping from their nostrils and some dried on the back of their hands they took me and Boro out. I heard something about Kite. Boro looked at me and acknowledged that this was it. He told me to let the wind take me. Outside the sun was bright. But after being in a drawer even an idiot would look bright. Then I felt it. A slight surge inside of me. I hadn’t carried anything since I got there. I had been feeling empty. But this feeling swept through. In my emptiness I felt full. Then abruptly I was lifted. The ground moved farther away. The kids screamed. Boro cheered. The wind blew. How can I explain it? The feeling? I can’t. You just have to go against the wind to know. Stick your head out of a moving car maybe. I don’t know. I felt sexy. Where I’d end up I don’t know. A river maybe. A tree branch. A garden somewhere. Or maybe never land. Stay in the wind. I think I’d rather stay in the wind.