I wasn't born a tomboy. I liked pretty things and pretty clothes like most little girls. But I was the only child my father had. And he had different ideas on raising girls.
Don't get me wrong. I genuinely enjoy Action and Martial arts movies. I love Bruce Lee and Donny Yen and Jackie Chan. Jet Lee and Sylvester Stallone and Messi and Thomas Muller. I idolize Pele and Mohammad Ali. I am comfortable in my clothing, which is casual to the point of offending fashion.
See, my father is an ex Chronicle fighter. He was better than great. The best in his time. He's still famous.
My grandfather however is an ex crimelord. The only reason for the ex is he legitimized his business. He went from marijuana to medical marijuana. From cheating people to cheating people in casinos. From killing people to putting them in situations where they often ended themselves.
Dad cut relations with grandfather before I was born. I met him thrice a year; on his birthday, on grandmas birthday, and on their wedding anniversary.
What is a Chronicle fighter you ask? The Chronicle is the largest fighting league in the world. It determines who the strongest living being is, where any fighting and spirit wielding style is accepted. We have the Beastmen, Humans, Wielders, - any life form that wishes to compete willingly really (so no animals). To even try for a spot on the Chronicle (an annual event) one must be a top ranked Astlyr (fighter) in a legitimate, respected Fight Cage. Grandfather is also the creator of the Chronicle. Many people wonder what grandfather's greatest accomplishment is. The Chronicle, or the son who ruled it in his time.
Jules is the only breath of normal in my life. I care for him deeply, because sometimes you spend so long with one person, they become part of your routine. Like a peaceful rhythm that keeps you at ease. Dad and Jules are my rhythm.
I go to Jules' house to routinely pick him up. His mum answers the door. She tells me he's left with his friends.
Jules has been ignoring me for some time now. I don't know when it started really- somewhere between middle school and high school. He has always been popular, intensely so. It wasn't flat out ignoring at first- just little acts of avoidance. A missed call here, an awkward conversation there, a text message that was reciprocated days later. An abundance of "seen" and "blue ticks" but a dire scarcity of replies. Today I decide to approach him. He's with his girlfriend.
"What's wrong?" I ask.
"Have I done something to-"
"I'm with my girl, so nows not a good time."
"Kind of busy. I'll talk to you later. "
The girlfriend thew me a look of pity.
"Babe. " she chastised.
He frowned, but called me aside after they exchanges some strained whispers.
I looked very puzzled at this point.
"Look. I'll put it simply. You're not popular. I am. We're in high school now. You do the math. Celeste and Matty don't like it, my other friends either. "
"Jules- what are you saying?"
"Your company has become... unsavoury. Im sure you've realised that we aren't equal. You're beneath me."
" You do realise what you sound like, don't you? "
"Totally aware. But I do have norms to uphold. Im merely choosing people I can take pride in. You understand, don't you?"
"Well this was a quaint conversation. I've gotta be places, so I'll buzz now."
"Thirteen years Jules. We've been friends thirteen years."
"Im aware. But we aren't children anymore, are we?"
Speechless, I walked away
"Rain. " he called. I turned. Hopefull for what, I don't know
"Don't call me Jules anymore. And don't approach me unless it's life and death.
I did not cry because I promised father I'd save my tears for the worthwhile. And for the love of the world I knew this was not worthwhile.
I did what I've always done. Buried the hurt, refused to acknowledge it's existence, and continue indifferently into life.
© Ananya Jafa, 2019. All rights reserved.