September 2018

Back to Issue 4

The Closest We Got To

By Aline-Mwezi Niyonsenga

The wind plucks jacaranda blossoms from a nearby tree, whistling for Keza to thumb faster on her phone.

          Are you in city?

          A bus rumbles to a stop. James breathes relief in time to another gust. It’s not his number yet. A purple petal touches his thumb.

          Yeah, but only until I catch my bus.

          Keza bites her lip, watching people board the new arrival.

          Which stop?

          Headlights flash across the signpost.


          Keza gasps, whirling around.


          They crane their necks and spin on their toes, circling the bus shelter. Keza doesn’t find the thin frame and sunken eyes. James doesn’t spot the thick curves and wiry hair.

          I don’t get it…

          Where are you?

          The 144 roars to snatch Keza. James drops his shoulders at the sneer of the 861.

          I’m on Grenfell.

          The doors clap shut behind them.

          Ah, I was on North Terrace.

          James smacks himself on the forehead. Keza sighs, leaning her forehead on the window. Her thumbs drag across her phone’s screen.

          You’re leaving tomorrow, right?

          James nods, biting his fist.


          Keza pouts, unable to see any of the jacaranda blossoms in the glare of the bus lights. Honking outside keeps James from dozing off. The bus crawls through rush hour, making him wonder if he should’ve missed it. Keza regrets not catching the 861. They both lead home anyway.

          Their fingers hover over their phones, right up to when they get off. Keza rubs her arms against a cold wind. It’ll be colder in Canada for him. James wonders if he’ll ever get used to it.

          Expecting the jacarandas to look just as dark as before, Keza’s eyes widen at their brilliance.

          The moon.

          James frowns and looks up as well. The moon bares its moustached grin, round with a fullness that makes his heart growl.

           Yeah, I see it.

          Keza smiles, letting moonbeams halo around her head.

          Do you think we’ll keep seeing the same moon?

          The street opens onto a shadowed park. James sits on a bench, wishing the clouds would keep it covered.

          Not if it’s cloudy.

          Keza tilts her head, leaning on a lamppost.

          True, but the moon always shines through.

          Leaning back on the bench, James watches the clouds sweep over, revealing the leering moon again.

          It’s too cloudy where I’m going.

          Keza uses both thumbs to stab at her screen.

          So why are you even—


          She erases that. Blinking tears, she sends a different message.

          At least we got to see it together before you go.