Jayitha Vannum is fervently committed to her writing call . Dedication , resilience and practice are key ingredients to shape a budding writer into a great writer. Iam excited by the amount of zeal ,the gifted thespian carries in her creative marrow. Jayitha Vannum , an international student at the British Columbia University has a glowing future in the literary arts field. CHOICE is a well knitted , action packed and boldly told story told through the brave lens of a brilliant young adult. I salute- WOMAWORDS CHIEF EDITOR
‘CHOICE’ by Jayitha Vannum
The sirens in the distance kept getting louder. I could hear them getting closer every passing second. It’s like time is testing me, should I just lay here on this bed speechless or should I run? I want to run but my legs seem to have given up. They’re numb; they feel stiff. I take the last drag of my cigarette and let the nicotine spread across my anxious body. The sirens are surrounding me now. I want to close my eyes and hope that this all a dream but every time I do, all I see is red and blue. The ringing in my ears won’t stop. Can’t all of this just go away? Why can’t the noises just stop?
Her lifeless body laid next to me, not moving a muscle. Her silky long hair covered her face. Her eyes were shut, she looked as if she was finally at peace. She must be at peace; after all she doesn’t have to live with me any longer, right? Her rosy cheeks lost their color, her skin was pale as though all the blood had rushed out of her body. How could I possibly admire a dead person so much when I couldn’t even do the same while she was alive? The smell of my cigarette took over her rosy perfume. The room no longer smelt of her.
“Always ash it in the ash tray!” she used to yell while I “accidentally” always ashed it on her favorite satin sheets. It was easy to piss her off, all I had to do was um…exist.
She loved satin. It was her favorite type of cloth. Tonight, she is wearing a peach satin night gown alongside our satin sheets which are creamy in color. I guess she always had an affiliation towards warm colors. The red stains on our walls really brought out their shades of ochre. How could one like warm colors so much, and yet not have any warmth within them? I always liked cool colors. We were polar opposites. They say, “opposites attract” but Diane and I always seemed to repulse each other. Maybe the law only works with magnets. We were never meant to be magnets in the first place, just two lost souls trying to find their way out of a marriage.
My indigo shirt was drenched, the red all over making it look black. She always reminded me of the color black. Like a shadow, plain and almost always invisible, unless I chose to notice her. She always thought I never noticed her, but the truth is she was always so hung up on wanting to live a life away from me, that she never really tried to live a life with me. Maybe one last time, I can finally smoke a joint while she’s gone.
“It’s either me or the marijuana in this house, you cannot have us both!” she used to scream every time she found a joint in the bathroom.
I looked over to her side, the blood that was once inside her body is now surrounding her. I wonder if she’d be mad if she knew her satin sheets are now soaked in her blood. I take the joint and crawl out of the bed. Perhaps I should respect a dead person’s wish one last time and not smoke in the house.
The sirens finally stop. No more red and blue lights, no more loud ringing; just complete silence. I could hear the leaves on the trees crackle with the slight breeze that blew across me. The night is chillier than usual. The moonlight seems to be shining particularly on my house tonight. It’s like even nature wanted to throw a spotlight on my wrongdoing. I throw my half smoked joint across the lawn as I see two silhouettes walking towards me. Both built, dressed in complete black, most likely the cops.
“Good evening sir, um, were you just s-smoking mari-”
“Sir, we received an anonymous 911 call saying there has been a crime committed in this house, do you live here?” the black cop cuts the Caucasian cop off. His voice is very stern.
“Yes” I mumble under my breath. I try to avoid eye contact and hope that they don’t notice my blood-stained shirt in the dark.
“We’ll have to take a look in-inside your house, s-sir.” The Caucasian cops says.
“We’ve noticed the b-blood on your shirt and sir, we really don’t want trouble, so we could either do this the ee-easy way or the hard way”
I try to keep the conversation to a minimal while I point them towards the door. The black cop gestures for me to come along with them, so I follow them into the house.
I sit downstairs cuffed to a table as they search upstairs. I could run away, I could escape from getting arrested and prison time, but I don’t find the need to. Everything I’ve ever wanted and loved in life is lying dead upstairs, what is the point of living in this house now? What is the point of trying not to look guilty when you actually are guilty of it? What is the point of living or dying when she’s not beside me?
I close my eyes and wait until the police find my tragedy upstairs. I could hear whispers but I couldn’t make out their words, I could hear footsteps but I couldn’t tell where exactly they were. Do the cops normally take this long to search a house, or does it just feel like time is passing by slowly? Or am I just high? They finally come downstairs, both of them look at each other before they turn towards me with another set of handcuffs
“Mr. Gradner, you’re under arrest for the murder of your wife. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in court” the black cop tried to make his voice as intimidating as possible.
“Yeah, I know” I say as I stretch my hands out so that they could cuff me. Both the cops suddenly looked perplexed.
“Are y-you high Mr. Gradner?” the Caucasian cop questions as he proceeds to put my arms behind my back.
“Yes” I reply
“W-were you high when you murdered your wife?”
Prison is a very disconsolate place. I guess it is made this way so that everyone in here could reflect on their actions. Little does the government know that this place, in fact, drives people crazy. How can you leave someone in their own thoughts without giving them anything to do? I am trapped inside the prison of my own mind. I couldn’t tell what’s worse, letting myself get trapped in my own mind or actually being trapped. I need something to keep me sane. I keep taking myself back to that night. Sometimes I wish the sirens were still there, I wish the ringing was still in my ears. Anything to keep myself from feeling empty. Anything to keep my mind from drifting away into its land of darkness. Unfortunately, it’s hard to get a hold of a cigarette in here, let alone drugs.
I spend my days sleeping amongst all the noise of other prisoners, and I spend my nights being awake thinking about her over and over again. The nights in prison felt long. Despite how cold prison is, my body never seemed to agree with the temperature. During the day, I would shiver and during the night I would find myself in a pool of sweat. My body needs drugs. I need to get high. I need to stop thinking about her. I stare at the white wall in front of me as my eyelids get heavy and I drift away into my world of nothingness.
No matter how much I tried to hide it, Diane always seemed to know when I was high. She wouldn’t get upset, rather, she’d yell at me as if all that yelling would sober me up. Her words always went over my head, I was high, and her words flew past way higher. I always hoped that one day she would eventually understand me, but that day never came. I was always stuck between giving her too much and not wanting to care at all. More often, it was the former, but it was never reciprocated so eventually it sank down into the latter.
“You can’t solve all your problems through drugs! You can’t expect them to disappear just because you’re fucking high all the time! I didn’t disappear, and I am your biggest problem, am I not?!” She used to say.
“Everything in this world is solved through drugs, my dear. From a simple fever to something as deadly as cancer.” I’d reply calmly.
She was right, she’s my biggest problem, but I also loved her more than I loved myself. How can you love someone and yet despise them at the same time? Somehow, I always felt this way about Diane. It’s like, I could neither live with her nor without her. I was stuck. I was lost.
You see, she’s the reason I started using in the first place. Too sadistic of me to blame my mistakes on my dead wife? What can I say? The truth is the truth, I cannot possibly change it. We thought we walked into a happy marriage as two halves becoming one. We were too blind in our love and happiness to see the reality for what it actually was. We were parts of one whole being separated into two halves. It wasn’t a strong bond that kept us together. We were tied together by a barbed wire. The tighter it got, the more it hurt us, the more we bled. I was willing to stay; I was willing to get hurt and bleed for her, but she wanted otherwise. She said she couldn’t take the pain, I hoped it was because she had a lower tolerance to pain than I did. She kept tightening the wire until one day it finally snapped. Our marriage snapped. We were living together but not really living with each other. We slept on the same bed, yet in different directions we rest. We wanted different things with life, I wanted her, but she wanted more. Every night she’d take the car and drive away. She never told me where she was going and some nights she wouldn’t even come home. Sometimes, she would come home with her lipstick smudged and her dress shorter than when she left.
Every time I asked her where she had been, “Why does it concern you?” was her simple reply. I really wish life was as simple as her replies sometimes.
The nights got longer, she left for days together while I started getting my hands onto substances. First it was alcohol, then weed, and when I finally realised I needed more I went onto harder substances. They weren’t helping, I still needed more. I needed them to forget about her. While she spent her nights putting her mouth to another man, I spent mine putting my mouth to bottles and pills. I thought she’d never find out about my drug habit, I thought she’d never even notice but eventually she did.
“You know you can tell me anything right?” She’d say while gritting her teeth.
She tried to hide her anger through the face of her curiosity. I seldom replied. We barely spoke anymore. Eventually, when she was tired of her life, she decided it was time to butt into mine. She left and now it’s okay for her to walk back in again? And why? To keep me away from the one thing I love, again?
It was a full moon night. The dogs had finally gone to sleep, and the neighbourhood was at last quiet. I was just done snorting my lines when she walked into the bathroom.
“Get the fuck out of the bathroom, you have to make the choice tonight!” Her voice was unusually loud that night.
“It’s either me or the drugs, you can’t have the best of both worlds! UGH! When are you going to stop living in this dumb fantasy world of yours! I wish I had better! I wish I had chosen better, instead, I’m stuck with you and your stupid drug habits.”
Her words echoed in my ears. The world slowed down, everything around me started going in slow motion. I looked at her and my whole life flashed in front of me. It spiraled around me as thoughts flowed in and out of my mind. My body felt numb; I lost all the feelings on my fingertips. I could feel anger settling down in my stomach, and I could feel the despair fill up until my throat. I was falling backwards or maybe it was the drugs? Her voice ran along my body, I couldn’t hear it any longer. I loved this state of ecstasy, but she couldn’t be a part of it, she couldn’t ruin just another thing that brought me happiness. Diane had to go.
I made my choice.
“-vid!” what’s that sound?
I felt a hand on my shoulder shake me. I shook my head and my eyes spun back to reality. The Caucasian cop that arrested me was standing in front of me. I look up at him and he pulls me up by the collar.
“Listen here, you si-sick fuck, you need to tell us who else was there in your house that night. The 911 call we got was anonymous, but we need to figure out who else witnessed the crime. You bastard, you were too high to remember anything from that night, so why don’t you tell me the person’s name so I can ask them what the fuck you did, aa-asshole!”
He stammers less when he’s angry, that’s unusual. His grip on my collar gets tighter, my breathing slowly gets heavier and heavier.
“I did it.” The words rush out of my mouth.
“I called 911. I was the anonymous caller.” I finally say as he looks into my hollow eyes.
JAYITHA VANNUM BIO
Jayitha Vannum is a 19 year old, upcoming writer, thespian and poet. She was born in the city called Bangalore in the southern part of India. She moved to Kelowna, Canada at the age of 18 to study as an international student at the University of British Columbia to pursue her under graduation in the Bachelors of Management program. I picked up my first book when I was 10 and penned down her first poem when I was 11; ironically enough, that poem is actually called “I can’t write a poem” which is something she laugh about to this day! Despite doing Management, She has always had a knack for words – mainly them flowing onto a blank sheet of paper. She see words as stars and putting them together either to write poems or stories, She feel as if she have fathomed these stars into constellations. Constellations that are defined and shaped the way I want them to be. Her fascination for pens and blank sheets of paper didn’t stop at just writing; when words fail me, I sketch and paint her thoughts instead. Even before she learnt to hold a pen, she learnt to hold a tennis racket. She played tennis and took part in numerous national tournaments until the age of 15. Along with tennis, I also bagged many gold and silver medals in both athletics and Throw ball. Coming back to the present, I am in my second year of Bachelor of Management. She actively volunteers as a peer mentor at my university and she works as a barista at Starbucks over the weekends.
WOMAWORDS CHIEF EDITOR
Mbizo Chirasha is the Poet in Residence at the Fictional Café (International publishing and literary digital space). 2019 Sotambe Festival Live Literature Hub and Poetry Café Curator. 2019 African Fellow for the International Human Rights Art Festival( ihraf.org) , Essays Contributor to Monk Art and Soul Magazine in United Kingdom .Arts Features Writer at the International Cultural Weekly . Founder and Chief Editor of WOMAWORDS LITERARY PRESS. Founder and Curator of the Brave Voices Poetry Journal. Co-Editor of Street Voices Poetry triluangal collection( English , African Languages and Germany) intiated by Andreas Weiland in Germany. Poetry Contributor to AtunisPoetry.com in Belgium. African Contributor to DemerPress International Poetry Book Series in Netherlands. African Contributor to the World Poetry Almanac Poetry Series in Mongolia. His latest 2019 collection of experimental poetry A LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT was released by Mwanaka Media and Publishing and is both in print, on Amazon.com and at is featured at African Books Collective. Mbizo Chirasha is the Originator of the Zimbabwe We Want Poetry Campaign. Founder and Creative Director of Girl Child Talent Festival and GirlChildCreativity Project. 2003 Young Literary Arts Delegate to the Goteborg International Book Fair Sweden (SIDA AFRICAN PAVILION) .2009 Poet in Residence of the International Conference of African Culture and Development (ICACD) in Ghana. 2009 Fellow to the inaugural UNESCO- Africa Photo- Novel Publishers and Writers Training in Tanzania. 2015 Artist in Residence of the Shunguna Mutitima International Film and Arts Festival in Livingstone, Zambia. A globally certified literary arts influencer, Writer in Residence and Recipient of the EU-Horn of Africa Defend Defenders Protection Fund Grant, Recipient of the Pen Deutschland Exiled Writer Grant. He is an Arts for Peace and Human Rights Catalyst, the Literary Arts Projects Curator, Poet, Writer, publicist is published in more 200 spaces in print and online