Category Archives: Coco’s Original Short Stories

A Coco Original: Tramiti & Liana (Part 2)

Tramiti took in the scenery- lush green trees were standing tall, protecting the fragile flowers underneath in the soft grass. The Netherlands was a beautiful country once you got out of the busy city. A lone biker was enjoying the sun and beautiful surroundings and she felt homesick for the first time.

Liana stirred and rubbed the sleep out of her eyes with her tiny fist. Tramiti kissed her softly on the cheek and reached for a wet towel to freshen up her little girl. She promised to take a lot of pictures – such special occasions must be documented properly. She waited for the bus to come to a complete stop and for the other families to exit the bus, before she grabbed her bag and carefully went down the stairs.

The weather was nice- a soft breeze made her feel refreshed and the sun was warming up her face nicely. The belly of the bus seemed to have violently spit out all the different colored strollers.  Liana’s was a simple stroller with a retro print on the seat. The original lining frayed long ago, but she managed to buy an inexpensive piece of good quality fabric to sow a new lining. Her mother would have been proud. Again she felt homesick, without being able to control those irrational thoughts. Why today of all days would she feel homesick?

“Liana? Liana?”, someone was calling out her daughter’s name just as she managed to fish her stroller from underneath the stroller vomit. “Yes, over here!”, she whispered. “Liana?”, the girl calling out her daughter’s name was stunning. She had golden brown skin, searching dark eyes in beautiful almond-shaped frames. Her dark brown hair shone in the sun and was held casually in a ponytail. Her breasts fit nicely in the shirt and her jeans fitted seamlessly as if they were tailor made. They probably were, no doubt she was one of the richies, but somehow Tramiti felt drawn to her. She seemed different somehow.

Their eyes met and Tramiti walked up to her to introduce herself. “Hi, ik ben Tramiti en zij is Liana” (Hi, I’m Tramiti and this is Liana), she said in her best Dutch accent. Just the way they taught her at the refugee shelter. The girl smiled and introduced herself as Danae. Her smile was almost hypnotizing. “We wachten nog op een ander gezin en dan kunnen we naar binnen” (We’re waiting for one more family and then we can go inside), she explained. She went on calling the name of the other family that was to join.

They were paired up with (presumably) a single mother from Ghana with a boy and a girl. Nateesha was exactly what Tramiti would have expected from a woman from Ghana- broad hips, big breasts and weave in her hair that didn’t match her own hair. The little kids were overweight, even though Tramiti would imagine they didn’t have much money between the three of them. The little girl’s hair was divided in several stomps of hair and already Tramiti could see that she would grow up to be anything but a lady. “Hoe heet jij?” (What’s your name?), Danae asked the little girl while stroking her hair without any reservation. “Lakeesha, mevrouw” (Lakeesha, Miss), the girl replied. Tramiti was surprised that the girl seemed shy and was very well-mannered for a four-year old. “En jij, jongeman?” (And you, young man?). The little boy was as polite as the girl. Lahi was 12 years old and thanked Danae for the opportunity to join the group on the trip. Danae laughed and said that the pleasure was all hers- she let them all in on a secret: without having kids of her own she had no real excuse to go to the zoo, so she thanked them instead.

They made their way to the main gate. They scarcely set two steps into the zoo before Nateesha had to use the restroom, Lakeesha was hungry and Lahi was thirsty. Tramiti couldn’t help but roll her eyes, but Danae didn’t seem bothered. She asked the gate attendant where the nearest restrooms were and she seemed to have conjured up three juice boxes and snack out of nowhere. Magical. Tramiti watched with fascination the way Danae seemed to be able to connect with Lakeesha as well as she was able to connect with Lahi. She had no trouble switching to more adult conversation when Nateesha joined. And before she knew it, Tramiti was engaged in a lively discussion with Nateesha, while Danae was helping the kids take pictures with the disposable cameras she had in her handbag.

“Jouw dochter is heel lief- jij nog bij vader?” (You’re daughter is sweet- you still with father?), asked Nateesha. She wasn’t fluent in Dutch, but instead of annoying Tramiti, she found it endearing. She hesitated, but decided she liked Nateesha and she shared her life story. Nateesha smiled because of the bitter way she talked about her former lover. She knew all about African men, after all she met some before she met her husband. Her husband was a loyal husband and loving father, but she agreed that he was an exception to the rule. Tramiti smiled. Yes, she could agree- African men were intoxicating, amazing lovers and you couldn’t get a more manly partner in life. Suddenly, she missed Ken. She remembered the good times, how she felt safe in his arms. How he inspired her to be better than she ever thought she could be.

Tramiti and Nateesha stood by the giraffes and looked on as Lahi helped Liana with the camera, while Danae was taking pictures of Lakeesha posing. By the time they moved on to the tigers, Tramiti was fully engaged in a story that Lahi was telling her. Supposedly he won a basketball game at school and everyone thought he was a good player, even though he was a bit heavy and short. At lunch, Tramiti found herself standing at the buffet and helping Lakeesha choose wisely- no fries, but greens and vegetables.

The sun was setting and they were all summoned to the bus. Danae gathered them in a nice sunny spot and asked a passer-by to take a couple of pictures with the group. Tramiti felt included and Liana seemed to have a permanent smile on her face. Back at the bus Nateesha helped Tramiti load the stroller and they sat together chatting the two hours away.

It was tough saying goodbye to Nateesha and the little ones. Tramiti was especially sad to see Danae hop back on the bus on her way to her daily life of privilege and comfort. Her tram wouldn’t get her for another 15 minutes, so she crossed the street to the internet cafe. She might as well load the pictures while she had internet access. One picture she decided to print- it was the group picture they had taken at the end of the day. Danae was holding Liana in her right arm, while her left arm was casually draped around Nateesha’s shoulder. Tramiti was hunched forward, both Lahi and Lakeesha holding her as tight as their little arms would. She knew now she could move on. She was ready. She forwarded the picture to Ken with a simple message- I get it and I forgive you.

As she was crossing the street, a dark-skinned muscular, very good looking guy smiled at her. Yes, they were not all the same- Ken was just not the one. She crossed the street and stood there shielding her eyes from the sun, waiting for the tram to roll to a halt.



A Coco Original: Chief Justice

...judges judge...

The judge was annoyed. He didn’t like the right-to-life groups protesting outside the window- no, not a bit. Sweat beads were forming on his forehead and it wasn’t even 9 o’clock in the morning. The small fan was huffing and puffing like a fat man climbing stairs, without producing any cool air. Instead of basking in the attention of his fellow civil servants, he would have to spend hours on end listening to the attorneys squabble over whether a man had a right to die. Well, he had a right not to be bothered a day before retiring with this non-sense. The man was practically a vegetable, barely breathing from a tube- he was hardly teetering on (more like gone over) the brink between life and death- why not let nature run it’s course? Besides, the law was clear and there was hardly a point in debating the matter.

“I am not a child, nor am I terminally ill, nor dying. I am a highly educated person with full mental capacity and the ability to communicate my wishes.  Your Honor, my wish is to die.” The reporter looked up from her notes, straight into the camera, pausing for added effect. “I am standing outside the courthouse where, minutes after hearing that heart-wrenching speech, the court denied the quadriplegic the right to refuse food and water, stating in its ruling that- and I quote- citizens should look after each other, rather than facilitate an escape. Any other interpretation can be a dangerous precedent. Ironically, the plaintiff died mere hours later of an upper respiratory infection, which begs the question whether in fact there is such a thing as denying a man, or woman, the right to die. The presiding judge claimed not to have had a choice in the matter, as the law was clear on this subject.  However, he did apologize to the deceased’s family for his ill-chosen words. Something he would have to live with for the rest of his life. I am Suzanne Cannan for WKX News at Eleven.”

A Coco Original: Interviews ur life...

So where did you grow up?
That’s not exciting at all, trust me. Ask me how I spent last night!

What’s the best thing that ever happened to you?
I would definitely have to say moving to the city. There’s always something to do, somewhere to go, someone to meet etc etc. I like experiencing new things and it doesn’t take much to convince me to go out and have fun! I mean, why waste away your days sitting at home?

What is your biggest fear?
Not getting invited anywhere anymore! A nightmare, right? It would be like living in Plainsworth again. That’s were I grew up by the way. Small town, everyone knows everyone and your business is everyone’s business. Nice, but not much going on.

Who do you admire most?
My cousin James. He’s very social and has more friends than anyone can count. You know what? He’s the type of guy that can honestly say that he really lived when the time comes to go. Do you know what I mean?

If you had a chance to do one thing in your life all over again, what would that be?
I suppose I wouldn’t have wasted so much of my youth, just sitting around, reading comic books etc. It’s a good thing James got me out of there when he did!

A Coco Original: Tramiti and Liana (Part 1) at the zoo...

Tramiti waited impatiently for the page to load. Her heart was pumping like crazy in her chest. She was torn. “Her Father”, referring to her daughter’s biological father, as she started calling her estranged lover, left for Angola a couple of weeks ago and she hasn’t heard from him since. Yes, she told him in the most dramatic fashion she could muster that he could shove it. Yes, she was relieved that she had one problem less to deal with on a daily basis. Yet she missed him and she was worried about him.

Liana seemed content enough with her juice box, tapping her right foot on the side of the stroller and watching the customers coming in and out of the internet cafe. Tramiti fixed her daughter’s beret, while musing over the future of her toddler. Being half Vietnamese and half Angolan didn’t exactly give her two-year old daughter the brightest future. Although Tramiti had to escape her country over 8 years ago, she always had a strong sense of home. Where would her daughter call home? Vietnam- a place she never set foot in? Angola- a place she would only set foot in over Tramiti’s dead body? Or the Netherlands where both Tramiti and Her Father sought refuge from their own people? The Netherlands where Liana would only be able to attend the so-called black schools? Yes, the Dutchies are very open to all cultures and people, but god forbid their kids would mix and mingle with colored people at school.

Tramiti typed in her user name and password and waited ages for the page to reload. In the mean time she checked the promotional flyer. The bus would leave at 9.30 am from the parking lot across the refugee shelter. An all expenses paid trip to the zoo in Rhenen. One entire day to get far away from her troubles. And to forget him.

She glanced across the street and saw a mother with her two children waiting for the bus to arrive. They were clearly African and Tramiti shivered. As long as she wasn’t paired with such folk this would be a great day. A fat Indian woman, head covered with a bright green shawl, came waddling towards the African woman. Her two sons and daughter followed closely. She scarcely acknowledged the African woman and tried to keep the two boys from killing each other. Tramiti checked her watch and was relieved to see that she was an hour early.

The page finally finished loading and she was able to check her email. Her sister, currently living in Canada and happily married to a nice Vietnamese boy, sent her a message on Facebook asking her to check out the new pics she posted of her newborn. She also received a couple of interesting deals from Groupon- 50% off a professional photo shoot (wouldn’t she regret not having proper pictures taken of Liana now that she was still innocent?), a pedi and mani for just EUR 29,95 and an elaborate feast at some fancy restaurant for only EUR 99,-. Her daily horoscope warned her not to focus too much on one specific problem, while missing out on the good stuff in life. Apparently today was a good day for leisure.

But no email from him. Assuming that all Africans are like him, there was little hope for Liana. She pitied the little girl. “Ugh”, she sighed. The way Liana could sometimes throw a tantrum- so loud! No decent Vietnamese girl would make such a scene. And the way she sometimes sways her hips to the music coming from the African family living down the corridor from them was worrisome. Africans dance so provocative and sexual! No proper Vietnamese girl should be able to move like that. Especially when they are so little!

She closed off the window and logged off. As she made her way across the street, the parking lot where the bus would pick up the refugees was crowded with African families. Chances of her not being paired up with an African family were decreasing steadily.

There were only a few males escorting the children. Of course none were African, because African men are dogs and not to be trusted. She was sure Her Father was too busy banging some broad to even remember he had a daughter a million miles away, let alone to remember the love of his life he abandoned somewhere in a god forsaken country!

It hurt to remember how he professed his love one winter morning. She was just a girl herself, barely 20. She remembered it snowed heavily the night before and he was making a snow man with a couple of other refugee kids. His dark skin shone brightly against the white of the snow. It was love at first sight. It wasn’t her fault really. She was just a kid back then. It could happy to the best of us, decent Vietnamese girls, she assured herself.

The bus pulled up and the doors opened with a hiss. A horde of volunteers spilled from the bus, wearing the same t-shirt and cap, paired with jeans and sneakers. They looked professional. Their fake smiles plastered on their face was supposed to reassure the poor refugees that today was special and that these nice sophisticated rich people gave up their free Saturday of undoubtedly posh events to spend a day with the refugees at the zoo. All expenses paid, just because they could afford it.

Someone helped her get the stroller in the belly of the bus and she carried Liana to the upper deck. “Mooi”, Liana said, pointing at something Tramiti couldn’t quite figure out. Tramiti couldn’t help but smile. Liana was only two, but a quick study. Already she could say so much in Dutch.

The ride to the zoo promised to take a while. Soon enough Liana was lulled into a deep sleep. Tramiti took in the scenery. She liked what she saw. The sun was out, the lush green trees and the birds in the sky screamed of spring. It was a long time coming- winter was long and cold and stressful with him and all. The fights they had, the unemployment…no, she promised herself she would leave all her troubles behind. Even if it were just for one day and to make the fake smiley faces feel good about themselves.

(visit my blog again for Another Coco’s Original: Tramiti & Liana (Part 2))