Pande.Me | Lesedauer ca. 23 Min.


Sidney Bendie / Malek El-Tannir 30.06.2023

Just the tip. That was exactly what I was asked to do. But I still managed to shove the whole thing in there, to see how deep it could go. Terrible idea, terrible idea! I always feared this day will come. The day I unveil an unexpected facet of her existence I may or may not be fond of. First things first, I have not always been called this but you may call me Kimea. Some time ago, during my usual vagabondage hours, I overheard a conversation.

We were at a Mokolo market. It was a hot and busy Saturday. A group of young people were excitedly talking about any and everything, but mostly about existence, the meaning of life. The usual thing – where do we go after death? What is the meaning of life? But a strikingly beautiful creature drew my attention with her set of questions. “What if we were the spirits? Have you ever thought of those we consider spirits actually being the ones we have power over? We are conscious vessels, so technically, we could choose which spirit should be part of our lives right? We are not that weak after all.”

She seemed to be more acquainted with our existence than the average human being from what she said. But such very important questioning, well on the part of my beautiful human, could not go on for ever. It was a market and there were many people milling around.

“Next time one of these street sellers bumps into me, I will throw hands! Knuckles on the body parts deemed fit to receive them. I am so determined to melt them up!” she said.

From what left her visibly delicate lips, there was no such thing as liberty when it came to being at a marketplace. Well humans, right?

Enigma. That was the name I heard the friends of her royal majesty call her. A woman in her early 20s, ebony skin, soothing voice, pleasant figure, dark long hair in a high puff. From where I stood, I could spot her matching orange head wrap and bangles. It was a colourful combination, with the neon green dress, leather jacket and boots she was wearing. She seemed to be a bubbly being, walking almost like she was taking little jumps while talking with her friends. Not forgetting her baby-like laughter. It was pleasant to my hearing. This human had no ounce of aesthetic challenges.

“Do people need to slam into others in the market?” I heard her complain to her friends again. “It’s already hard to breathe, and I still have to deal with people touching me for no reason?”

I was mesmerized by her whole being. I firmly believed there was more attracting me to her than just an outstanding figure and supposed Mohamed Ali skills. It was the way she looked at me. Or rather, the way in which I think she looked at me. I felt her gaze on me, and a smile play on her face. It felt so real that I felt chills running down my spine. And then, there was the way in which she spat venom. In such an angelic voice.

My inquisitiveness made me follow her. I made it my duty to track her every move. At home, her office, church, the bakery, everywhere possible. I mostly enjoyed the moments in church. The prayers were… honest. She prayed about her anger issues, her struggles in her various relationships due to the lack of understanding she displayed, and she always ended her prayers with: “God, don’t you see that my fellow humans are often draining? Like, come on… it’s crazy out here, and you sure know it. So please, save us both the time and energy, and take away all the annoying ones. For peace in the world, Amen!”

I found that bold of a mere human, to talk with God in that manner. She was definitely different.

It’s Saturday, and I am already at a get-together Enigma is supposed to attend. I read it on a note she put on her bedside cupboard last night; “Meet and Drink tomorrow, 7 p.m.”. I was eager to see how drunk she can get. She arrives at 8 p.m. Trust me when I tell you this woman knows how to make mouths drop! For the occasion, she puts on a tight-fitting orange dress with a thigh-high slit on the left, a pair of black heeled sandals and a black purse. Her hair is tight in a high puff. Perfection describes her best. The get-together goes on smoothly; some people are playing cards, others are dancing to the live band, while others are discussing with their friends. Humans know how to catch fun. I am appreciating the whole thing when I see Enigma walk my way with a gorgeous smile like she can see me. She stands next to me with all the drunk people around and goes: “Do you appreciate the view?” Laughing at the fact that there is no one as close to her as I am right now, I suggest she is drunk. Wrong! “I am talking to you. See, others around here may not see you, but guess what? I do. And I know you can hear and answer so I ask again: “Do you like what you see?” How is this possible? Does it mean she has been seeing me all this while? Who else sees me? I quickly brush off the shock I believe is written all over my face, and I answer: “Mhm. Nice view” while nodding. “Cool!” she says, walking back to the dance floor.

It’s late when she leaves the premises. Almost 2 a.m. She starts her black Audi R8 V10 Performance and hits the road back home. She does not look drunk to me. The streets are silent, shining from both streetlights and the moon. I can see a few opened drugstores and bakeries as she drives by, and some homeless people either smoking or sleeping on public benches. Safe at her place, all she does is find her way to her room and crash on that bed like she was tossed in it. Some hour and a half later, I see her turn towards me opening her eyes.

“I do not get drunk. I saw the look on your face when I decided to drive back home but yeah… I do not get drunk. Alcohol keeps me away from attracting more shadows in there. It is to secure the gates.”

I had no idea what she was talking about. “Can you explain, please? I am a little confused here.” She smiles at my question. “I would have attended a teacher training college, had it been my intention to explain things all the time. Won’t it be fun to show you instead?” she asks. “Let me show you the bond I wish I never had”.

She neither looks sleepy, nor drunk nor anything like she may be unconscious. But rather wears a smirk on a relatively straight face. Not knowing what the right answer could be, I go for a yes. If there’s something even I as a spirit have learned, it is to avoid going against a woman’s desires. They are highly favoured beings before God.

“Come over here. Look deep into my eyes, don’t forget to relax, please.”

That I did, not forgetting that I was already quite confused. The little trip to her mind or whatever it was called was calm and quick. I was fetched out of the overwhelming nature of the situation by a strange voice speaking. “Welcome! We have been expecting you.” I hear, but it does not sound like Enigma. Whoever it is has a smoky voice. As I turn around to see who owns that voice, I see Enigma. Actually, she is everywhere around here in different clothing and facial expressions. Almost like she has been cloned. What in the name of the universe did I get into?!? “Enigma!” I shout in an attempt to find her. But I get no answer. They have different voice tones, different postures, and I have all these eyes on me. “Once again, welcome.” The smoky voice says. “I am Limyè, light in Haitian kreyol. Next to me, you have Imani, which stands for faith in Kiswahili. I am the guardian of the shadows Enigma entertains deep down in her soul, the untold and unwitnessed aspects of her existence she faces every single second of spent alive. D’evils. This is a meeting we hold at whatever time we feel appropriate ever since she turned 10. Long story short, you have been invited to join in. “She believes your presence here is a purposeful one... hasn’t mentioned what purpose you will serve though.”

I’m speechless and my entire being is left confused. It appears to me that I’m in a room full of dysfunctional shadows bearing the face of Enigma. As I walk past the shadows, I hear them whisper “Kimea”. Then I’m told by Limyè that the word means peace in Lingala. Apparently, I am here because I demonstrated great admiration towards a not-so-perfect being, Enigma.

I’m taken into a hall in which are all her records. These records help me know how she came across the shadows in here, but not in a normal way. In this hall is a lake.

“Step the tip of your toes in there and get to know who Enigma is.”

I start doing just that but my inquisitive nature, remember? The same energy which made me stalk her. I’m insanely intrigued by the dark clarity of this lake of hers. Her soul is beautifully presented to me. I dive in like a shark after its prey.

From all indications, she adopted Limyè and Imani at the age of 7 when she went through abuse. She was raped by her uncle back then so Limyè and Imani had her back almost each time things went rough. They helped her keep her hands to herself when she almost choked her classmate to death. She was however able to make a hole in another classmate’s thigh, using a pen. At some point in time, she tried dissecting her veins and body. These were the two who convinced her not to lie in her own blood when she started the process. She really tried to join our world...

I went through devastating happenings in there. Enough to have nightmares for centuries. However, saving her meant taking in an evil. That required going through most of her emotions. Some are worse than others. Deep down in the depths of the water I saw Enigma. She seemed unbothered, deep there into the abyss. “I do not want to end up dead because I tried to rescue someone from my head. So, stay where you are, please. At least now you have some idea as to why my parents named me Enigma” she said with a broad fake smile. “I nurture darkness, and…” her look getting deeper as she went on, “d’evils” she, said.


“Where am I, please? What am I doing here?” I asked.

I used to wonder what it was like to ask these exact questions when hearing them in the movies. Unfortunately, this was nothing like a movie. The doctor smiled at me, out of relief, I guess.

“Intensive care unit. Five months ago, you were involved in a car accident. It is said you were driving drunk after some party” he answered.

The Meet and Drink where I met Kimea I thought to myself… I remember.

“Can you remember your name please?” I hear the doctor ask while the nurses carry out some tests.

“E- I am Enigma,” I say.

“Good. You need to rest now.”

My father told me my name came from the fact that my mum became strange when she carried me. She suffered serious mood swings which was unusual for her, and he never could tell what was on her mind. “She was enigmatic” he would say. I guess I took up from all of that. That must be one of the reasons why I am the way I am. I suffer from DID. Dissociative identity disorder. It makes me see and say things, but most especially, do things. Doctors said it was because of the sexual abuse I was victim of. Let’s call it my coping mechanism. I am very much aware of my shortcomings, all the evil I could think of doing. To make sure no one gets hurt, I made it my duty to pray for more of the good spirits to manifest in me. As such, I always know how to cope with every situation I’m faced with.

My parents did well to name me the way they did. I own my various personalities; they are part of me. Some may call me crazy, others, bold. But me, I call it living. I won’t shy away from my past nor from my present condition. I own it all; the good, the bad, the ugly, the worst. I went through a lot, and it’s not over yet. So, I keep moving towards the unknown. Whatever that may be. Life itself is a giant puzzle.

This short story is a result from the digital writing and illustrating workshop Pande.Me. It was written by Sidney Bendie, a translator and writer from Cameroon, passionate about languages, culture and technology. It was illustrated by Malek El-Tannir, a Berlin-born and based student in Digital Media and Technology, passionate about creating art that is not only visually stunning but also thought-provoking and innovative.