Forgotten




Michelle Louange


 
© Copyright 2021 by Michelle Louange 




Photo of Michelle.


Kate, Kate… wake up, you need to be ready in 10 minutes, your uncle is coming to pick you up with your sister so that you could both go to Kivu beach to have fun and get along with your cousins” My Mom woke me up after shutting my alarm two hours ago. Yes, she managed to wake me up because she knows that at the mention of any touristic place, I can sacrifice anything, just to be there. Shaking my thoughts away, I climbed out of the bed to get myself ready. My head keeps reminding me that I’ve got a lot planned today, but I can’t figure out what those plans are. All I know is that I am going to visit Kivu and I will be taking photos with videos, swimming, and laying in the sand… We eat the breakfast Mom made us after packing our beach bags

In just a few seconds that seemed like a month to me, my uncle and my male cousins arrived, so, we got into the car. We started talking, laughing, eating along with stories of endless laughter. My head keeps saying that there’s something I forgot but can't find out what it is.

We're going to first visit Aunt Linda, then we'll get to Kivu and after we'll visit Uncle Mike” My Uncle, Steve said,

Sounds great!” We all cheered up in the car.

It was fine with me that we are going to visit my favorite family members, but I have gut feelings that there is something wrong but I do not know what it is. We stopped by Nyirangarama to get something edible.

Normally, I do not eat inside the moving car because I might cause some problems, but I can’t help it, I'm starving, and I can’t say that I got issues since my cousins make fun of people and I don’t want that. So, I start eating the food which is delicious, oh my God. In no time, my plate became empty, and I don’t know how I finished it. I looked in the whole car to see if no one had stolen the food on my plate, but it seems like no one had because everyone is busy eating.

Hey Kate...” my uncle called over to me. I saw him raising the envelope which was being passed over to me in the backseat. My eyes widen with a grin on my face as I open the envelope. The smell of the food makes its way to my nose, nostrils, pharynx, trachea, lungs, and to the rest of my body. I didn’t even bother to eat without even putting them on the plate.

After finishing them, I realized that I didn’t even say thank you to my uncle. Okay, honestly there is nothing big about this, but when someone cares for you as my uncle does, it’s a big deal and I must show him that, I’m forever thankful.

Thanks, Uncle, I can’t describe how delicious it was!”

You are welcome, dear. Do you want more? It seems like the last time you ate was like 200 years ago” he said and there were chuckles in the whole car.

I’ve been struggling to ask you that question” Kelvin, one of my crazy favorite cousins said before the whole car burst into laughter. I found myself laughing too. Finally, I remembered that I must answer,

No, Uncle, I’m fine now, thanks” I replied in between the laughter.

Aww, come on Kate, let’s be honest, if I give you food right now, are you going to say that you don’t want it?” Clark, my other cousin, asked me. Of course I can take it since food is my loyal best friend.

Talking about my love for food, I eat a lot, but I never become fat or thin. My size stays the same and most of my family members know that. This allows me to eat no matter what and this is one of the reasons that food is my royal best friend.

Hey Kate…” Clark brings me back from my thoughts as I almost jump from my seat.

Are-you-having nightmares during the day?” he chuckles.

I chuckle along with him.

I think I will wake up if you splash me in Kivu Lake Clark” I continue to laugh along with him

Anything for you sweetheart,” Clark says.

Stories and Jokes continued, laughing became our habit at that moment. After some minutes, I stopped talking together with laughing. I’m feeling weird. I have nausea, and all things are spinning in front of me. My vision is blurry. I need to sleep, fix my head in one position and breathe a lot of oxygen. But I can’t, we are moving in mountainous regions with a lot of turns, and on top of that, I’m sitting at the back of the car where there are no windows to be opened to supply enough wind. I think I’m seeing my sister who is sitting in the middle, glancing over to me and mouthing "are you ok?". I shook my head no and I saw her realizing something. Yeah, she knows that I’m not used to road turns since when I’m there, I might even vomit. My stomach is growling, and something is rising through my throat. I close my eyes with my mouth hardly. I can’t handle this. I opened the envelope that came with food as I threw my head there and did whatever was to be done.

Uncle may you please stop the car? Kate is vomiting” my sister says. Oh No.

You know the feeling you have when people are looking at you, but you can’t look back to them. That’s what I’m feeling. I’m feeling several pairs of eyes looking at me except my uncles who are looking for somewhere to park the car. I’m vomiting.

The car came to a stop. We got out. They bought me water to clean myself and a Coca-Cola bottle to ease everything in my stomach. I’m avoiding my cousins’ gaze because I know that if I look at them, they will make me feel embarrassed and I don’t want that.

You are already embarrassed, Kate.

I feel someone tapping my back. It’s Kent, my Kind cousin. “Sorry Kate, everything will be fine,” he continues to tap my back while saying soothing words.

My vision blurs again, and I see nothing other than a drop of tears falling to the ground. Oh my gosh, Kate are you crying? now?

I don’t know what’s happening to me right now, I don’t even know why I’m crying but those words touch my heart.

Kate are you crying?” Kent asked me. He hugged me and I did the same.

Hey, everything will be fine, shhh, don’t cry Okay” He comforted. We pulled apart and I rubbed my eyes.

Ready?” Kent asked and I nodded my head. We got into the car, which roared to life.

Kate, if you feel bad again, tell us, okay?” my uncle said.

My cousins started talking again, I didn’t know that they could talk to me after what happened.

There is something I like about my cousins when they see that you feel embarrassed, they cheer you up and show you that it’s normal and everything is okay. But it doesn’t remove the fact that I’ve vomited and embarrassed myself.

***********

We reached Auntie Linda in no time. I love Auntie Linda. In fact, I love all my aunties just because of their moods. I can’t say that this one is special because of a certain reason. What I know is that I love them all.

We hugged each other and her kids. As we entered the house, I felt the smell of my loyal best friend, Food. I made my way to the restroom to prepare myself to talk with my loyal best friend. As I lower down my knickers, it’s all red. OH MY GOD. My head is now claiming. It has reminded me that I’m in my period, but I kept rejecting it.

Kate, why are you such an abnormal creature?

What am I going to do now? What am I going to tell Clark since we promised each other that he will throw me in the water, aren’t I going to swim? Oh my God, this is not going to happen.

Kate” my sister calls me

Coming” I answered back. I don’t even have at least one sanitary pad. Dear Lord.

Luckily, I’m wearing black pants. Let me hope that no one will notice.

I washed my face to remove any evidence of panic and headed back to the living room.

They were all sitting in the dining room, eating already. I pulled the chair at the edge, and I sat there.

Why can’t you join us here?” Clark asked. If I’m being honest, I don’t want to sit near everyone because they might smell it and it’s weird.

I want to see you all eating. How you chew, swallow, and how you take your forks so that I can observe how you behave on the table enabling me to decide if I can invite you to dinner or not.” I lied-joked. Thank God that my uncle is not aware of this, since he is busy eating and talking with my aunt, otherwise, he may make me sit near these crazy cousins.

After we’re done eating, we cleared the table and went to sit with my uncle and Aunt. while my aunt is talking to her nieces, I was praying that if I stand up, there will be no stains of red in the place of the chair I’m sitting on since its color is not dark enough to hide red stains.

Kate are you okay? You look like someone who has a bunch of problems right now” Aunt Linda asked. I nearly jumped from my seat as if something scared me. Before I can even say something, here comes Clark,

She’s having nightmares Aunt--chuckles-- during the day”

Oh My God, Dear are you okay? Did you get some sleep? Can I get you a glass of water?” My Aunt panics as she stands up and gets closer to me as she starts to touch my forehead.

Aunt don’t worry, I’m fine,” I say in between the laughter of my family members.

She’s fine Aunt, she will wake up soon, until I throw her in Kivu water” They all laugh, and I stopped breathing at the thought of throwing me in water during my period. How about asking my aunt for at least one sanitary pad? it’ll be immediately wet by the water.

I want to punch myself. Why did I even come here? How come I forgot that I’ve got my period?

But I don't think I'm going to swim, so yeah, I must ask for it

I think we should go; you all know that time is not our friend” my uncle stands up and we Join him. I made sure to rub my hands on the chair to remove an imaginable stain and I made it look like I did it accidentally.

"Something is remaining," I say as I pull my aunt towards her room.

"Auntie, I need a sanitary pad," I say as I closed the door of her room.

"Oh, I see" she reached in the last drawer of her wardrobe and removed one pad. Handing it to me, I ran to her bathroom to put it on.

"Thanks, Auntie" I hugged her as she smiled. We got out of the room and we hugged our aunt as bidding goodbyes. We headed back to the Car. I can’t wait to see Kivu; it’s been a long time.

*********

My Uncle parked the car on the roadside. There are people on the beach, laughing, others swimming and splashing water on each other. On the other side of the beach, people are burying themselves in the sand, taking pictures. Looks like fun.

I threw my beach bag on my shoulder as I headed to the changing room with my sister.

"Hey Kate, be quick so that I can save you from your nightmares" Clark calls over as I ignore him.

"Sis, I forgot that I'm in my period," I said as we got into the room.

"What?" She questions not believing what I just said, and I nod my head.

"Then what are you going to tell Clark? He's over-excited to throw you in water"

"I don't know"

"We can't tell anyone about this" I added

"But why can't we tell them that you've got a problem, maybe you have a headache, and you can't swim or something?" My sister suggests. I digest what she said, nodding my head slowly.

"Sounds great" I agreed

I hugged my sister and she hugged me back.

"I love you, sis," I said through the hug.

" Love you too," she said, as we pulled apart

"Everything will be alright, Kate" She assures me.

My phone beeps with a message coming from Clark which reads "I'm waiting for you"

I replied "be there in 2"

We got out of the room with our bikinis and cover-ups on. The boys are in their swim shorts. They seem like they are ready to swim.

"I'm out of my nightmares Clark, thank you for your service," I inform Clark as I quickly move away from him before he can say anything. He shrugs. Thank God that he finally gave up. I sigh.

I take the Camera and start picturing them all in the water.

"Hey Kate, why can't you join us?" Kent asks and I pretend like I didn't hear what Dave said because I know what it will lead me into.

"Smile guys" I shout over to them and as I get their attention; I kneel to take a happy photo of them.

"Kate, come and join us" it's my uncle now. Save me Lord.

"Uncle, I want to take your pictures since there is no photographer here." There are a lot of photographers here.

"We can call one" Oh no

"And the money?" I ask

"Of course, we will pay him"

"No Uncle, we can't waste that money, I can do it and the money will be saved to do another thing worth it" I beg.

"Kate isn't going to give up." my sister adds. Thanks, sis "Ok," my uncle gives up, and a sigh leaves my mouth.

They keep swimming and playing in the water as I continue picturing them. I hardly want to join them, but I can't. Why do girls have to go through this? Anger fills me and I want to cry right now.

"Let's get to the sand to dry ourselves," Kent says.

I film them as they come back from the water and get to sit on the sand, but someone is missing. Clark. At the thought of where Clark is, I hear someone lifting me and throwing me in the water. I rub off the water on my face as I try to get balance. I lift my head to see Clark smirking at me.

"I had to make sure you got out of your nightmares sweetheart" he smiles.

"But I told you I was already out," I say

"I couldn't believe you" he chuckles

"Clark you're an…" I lost what to say

"Have fun Kate" he says before leaving me in confusion. My eyes follow him until he sits on sand and starts to bury himself. I sigh.

As I start to have fun in the water, as he said, I hear someone whom I guess is Kent.

"Kate come and take this amazing picture"

I turn my head to answer

"I'm coming!"

I move from the lake to do the job I have claimed for.

As I walk, something slips from my nickers to the ground.

Aw Aw

I forgot that I'm wearing a sanitary pad. I freeze in my steps. Kate? In front of the boys?

All eyes on the beach turned their attention to me as they heard something falling. I look on the ground to see it. It looks like a small white polythene bag with cotton inside it, which has submerged in water mixed with blood. No.

I raise my head to see my cousins staring at me, I turn my head to see other people on the beach staring too. The World is spinning around me, I'm not spinning around it.

I bend to the ground to take the pad and I head to the changing room. As I start to leave, I see my sister coming from the room with a blanket. She throws it over me, and she leads me to the changing room embracing me.

I let out a prolonged breath as soon as we got into the room.

I felt someone hugging me. I start to cry. I hate being embarrassed yet embarrassed is my definition.

"I'm sorry sis," she says

"Why did I even come here?... I'm such a stup-" before I finish,

"No, you're not, you're such an amazi-" I cut her off

"Then how does a normal person forget that she is in her period?"

"It's not your fault Sis, we were in a hurry. Plus, coming here was not expected, so whatever happened, it's normal, it can happen to anyone" she explains.

My sobs start to become louder. My sister's phone beeps. She reaches over to it and glances at it for a moment.

"Time to eat," she says

"You can go but I'm not coming," I say

" I get you sis, and I promise, everything will be alright"

I remained in the changing room, trying my best to make myself clean, packing all our stuff. I waited for them to finish eating for about an hour. The door swoons open, my sister gets in and she closes the door behind her. She’s holding a takeaway in her hands which is handed to me. She brought me three slices of pizza and a soda bottle. Yes, she knows that I love food.

Thank you,” I say

Anytime.”

I eat the pizza and finish the bottle of soda as she gets herself ready to leave. I put on a black jumper I brought as we headed to my uncle's car.

I avoided anyone’s eyes in the backseat. I pulled my phone with headsets from the pocket of my jumper to start my playlist. Songs, books, food and movies bring back my good vibes unintentionally.

*******

I don’t know how I've fallen asleep in the car. I was woken up by my sister who was the only one in the car. The boys were already out. I climbed out of the car and headed to Uncle Mike's.

We knocked on the door and we were welcomed by laughing Uncle Mike. I love Uncle Mike. He's been there through all my childhood. We played, we ran throughout the entire house together playing hide and seek. On top of that, he stayed strong for his kids since his wife’s death. He said that he'll never marry another woman as he hates stepmothers. Uncle Mike and his wife wanted a girl, but they never had one. They kept on trying after giving birth to six (now giant) boys. Their mother passed away together with the baby girl she was carrying in a car accident on the way to the doctor’s appointment. I feel sorry for him.

I came back from my daydreaming as I felt someone bear-hugging me.

Hello, my sweet little girls, how have you been? I've missed you” Uncle Mike asks me and my sister together.

We've been doing well Uncle Mike” we answered Uncle Mike at the same time. We chuckled and he pinched our cheeks “Come in,” he welcomed us.

The boys are upstairs… Boys come down quickly” he called them, and they were down in a second. How fast!

Here are our beautiful cousins with the ugly ones” they said in unison, referring to us girls, and the other boys, respectively. I wonder if their good mood ever changes.

Language” their father, Uncle Mike, warns and they all chuckle.

Want to play some video games?” Cousin Louis pushes himself between my sister and me while asking. We all nod our heads yes as he guides us upstairs with the other boys behind us. We take seats next to Cousin Louis and we start playing while other boys occupy themselves with TVs and games.

I won the 1st game which made me scream celebrating my success. The whole room turned its attention to me. I put on the hood of my jumper to avoid gazes. We continued to play until we were all tired and we decided to go to bed. I stand up from my seat, followed by Cousin Louis.

C**p, what’s this?” he asks

I turn back to see him staring at his hand with something red. All eyes in the room are alert. I touch the back of my pants. It’s wet and when I look at the palm of my hand, it’s all red. I curse something under my breath.

I’m sorry Louis,” I opened my mouth to explain more but nothing came out. Should I tell them all that I am in my period or shut off my mouth? My mouth closes and my feet head to our room. Yes, we have a room here since we usually visit Uncle Mike hence leaving some of our stuff here.

I must go to the bathroom before everything gets worse. I took a long shower and thankfully, there are few sanitary pads we left here. Glory be to God. I put on one as I threw myself in bed, leaving a space for my sister. I don’t want to see any male in this house.

*******

I woke up in the morning unwillingly because we must go home, and I think I miss home.

Morning sis,” my sister says in a sleepy voice, which makes me smile.

Morning” I reply. My mind travels to what happened last night.

How did it end?” I ask her and I bet she knows what I’m talking about.

It ended well, nothing big, I cleaned the couch, and the boys didn’t comment about it, but after you left, no one talked. They all went out to their rooms leaving me in the room” she explains “I’m sorry,” I say after a moment of silence.

I told you that it’s fine, chill sis, everything is fine” she soothes.

It’s not,” I say

If you think that it’s fine, then it's fine but if you think it’s not, then it’s not forever and I don’t think it’s going to be the best for the rest of your life. I get you, sis, I know how you’re feeling but let it go... Give it some thought” she leaves the bed and heads to the bathroom.

She’s right, I must let it go.

*******

After preparing ourselves and packing some of our items We headed downstairs for breakfast.

Everyone is staring at me except Uncle Mike who knows nothing, and I ignored them all.

You must let it go, Kate. I told myself. We ate breakfast in awkward silence. “Why aren’t you all talking? What's happening?” Uncle Mike asked. Am I the problem here? Oh No.

Thank you, Uncle Mike, the breakfast was delicious. Excuse me.” I say as I stand up from my seat.

I head to our bedroom as I approach the bed and burst into sobs. I don’t know why I'm crying. After 5 minutes of crying, my phone beeps. I pull it out of my jacket.

We are leaving in 5,” my sister wrote

I’m coming” I reply

I washed my face to reapply my makeup. I take our bags downstairs. The boys are talking and laughing out loud. My sister is sitting on the couch on her phone. I head out and put our bags in the car. I hugged Uncle Mike as I nearly cried. We said goodbye to Uncle Mike's Family and headed to the car. I plugged my earphones into my phone to start my playlist. I can't wait to see home and get out of this embarrassment.

My name is Michelle Louange, I am 17 years old studying at Gashora Girls Academy of Science and Technology majoring in Mathematics, Chemistry and Biology. We currently live in Rwanda in Kigali City, I have both parents and four siblings and I am the last born.


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