Ryan has not had anything for a few hours, as he makes the universal noise of displeasure “ghunnnn lap lap lap” which is drowned out by the playful sound of the entrance. He was always intrigued by this sound, not only because it sounded nice and always caught his attention with its high pitch, but also because it had a power over his house and everyone he almost ever knew would start running towards the entrance of the house as soon as the sound materialises. But he was particularly irked this time as he turned to see his mother, who was going towards the kitchen possibly to fix him some food, turned around and ran towards the entrance as she heard the sound. The house was chirpier than usual today, but he recognises her mother’s friend’s voice as she greeted her, who kissed her back and welcomed them inside. There she is, stumbling inside his house besides her mother, his best friend and the bane of his existence. He has known her since the beginning of time and she has stolen his red dog, a blue car, and countless other plush toys, and it is still not considered a crime, so he lets out his loudest noise of annoyance, letting everyone know that he is also present. Her mother looks at Ryan followed by an “awwww” and pleasuring pain in her eyes, as she utters the most heinous words “ohhh, he missed her” and his screams reach new terrestrial highs. Then she asks her “Sani, go meet your friend”, giving her a gentle push towards Ryan and Sani looks at him, with her big predator eyes. Ryan’s screams come to an abrupt halt, not with fear but with absolute terror, as he moves his right hand towards his left, puts it on the carpet and raises his behind, wobbles, but manages to stand on his own two feet. Her mother shouts with utter joy “ohh my God, when did this happen?”, to which his mother replied with equal elation, “oh my God, oh my God, this is the first time” and shouts at Ryan’s elder brother to bring their old Canon to capture this incredible moment.
Sani, slowly, but with new confidence in her feet, as she recently learnt to walk, takes steps towards Ryan, who can barely stand. Ryan stands there, red faced, fresh out of his latest brouhaha, understands his mother when she says “Look who’s here Ryan”, but ignores her as he can’t take his eyes of the monster trudging towards himself. Sani, the big blue eyed girl, wearing a white, frilled frock, has now reached her predetermined destination, close enough that she could slap or spit at Ryan if she wants to, when she wants to. Ryan quickly takes half a step back hiding his plush dark grey Elephant behind himself in a single subtle and swift movement. If it were anyone else then they wouldn’t have noticed, but it was Sani, the world conqueror, the World of Ryan and Conqueror of toys basket, and no toy of even remote attractiveness stays hidden from her prying curiosity.
No hugs, no kisses, no usual cooing have been offered, Ryan’s sight is fixated at her big head, bloated with the arrogance of being born six months before himself, for a total and now his own personal new record of sight fixation of 1.5 seconds at any particular thing, and then moved to her puffy right arm, vile with the plunders of past, as he clutches the trunk of his grey Elephant with an unusually large tail, anticipating a move, any moment now, that, in one brisk action of sedate and soupy swagger could deprive his childhood of his latest acquisition.
No scratch, no spitting, no slaps of unfriendly vexation have been handed down, Sani, unperturbed by a new car with the flashing lights at its top, a multi-coloured plush cube and a red ball, a few dolls and some plastic chew toys spread around him, is intrigued by the mess the colours are making on the shirt and shorts Ryan has on himself. As she scans him, a long string with black hair at its end catches her gaze and becomes the centre of her universe, and she wonders whether its coming out of his clothes or he has grown a thread himself, in his body, and whether every human grows a thread, and more importantly whether she has grown it behind herself. She hasn’t seen her mommy or dada having a tail, but just to be absolutely sure, she swiftly moves her tiny and curious palms behind her, as if cleaning her frock and with a few rubs doesn’t find anything or has taken care of the tail if there was any, and all this while without removing her eyes from the tail coming from behind Ryan.
The house is still very much devoid of any aimless adult chatter, as if around a cage of an exotic animal at a night zoo where everyone has been asked to keep their silence so as not to disturb the animal or it may die of shock. Everyone is staring at Sani and Ryan because the last few times this congress has ended in Ryan covered in snot and tears surrounded by sharp protective dome of screams, which only his mother and Sani could enter or leave, as, if anyone else tried to enter the Scream Dome, it would autonomously become stronger and push them out. Knowing Sani’s mischievous and troubling character well, her mother asks “Sani, shay hello to Ryan”, as hello is one of the seven words she has recently added to her armoury of missiles she uses to breach the trust of its recipients only to leave destruction in her wake. Others are ‘hub ya’ for ‘Love you’, ‘iss’ for ‘this’, ‘mum mum’ for ‘water’, ‘mama’ for ‘mom’, ‘No’ for ‘a strong emotion of denial’ and lastly ‘an expressive shrill chuckle’ for ‘You better fucking laugh out loud because I am having a riveting time’. Hearing her mother Sani looks at her briefly, while Ryan is momentarily relieved seeing the eyes of the devil attracted to something else more important, takes a short-deep breath, as Sani returns her full focus and killer gaze back at Ryan, who, having recently learned to take three steps forward holding a bed, does not know that he can go back any further in a standing position, falls down on his bums, followed by his head, backwards, and unleashes the Scream Dome.
Sani, surprised to see that it was an ugly grey animal that had the tail, that now lay beside Ryan, realises the humour in the mystery of the long tail, lets out a chuckle, and turns back to her mum mum to say ‘hub ya’.