Introducing Reyansh

CHAPTER 15

Stretches of weeks at a time would go by where Eddie’s phone was either without service or in-between carriers; his absence, however, coincided with my running into Reyansh Signh one day, while out delivering to one of the tech hubs downtown where he worked. Nico had introduced the two of us during my first few weeks upon The Plains; but, since then, Reyansh and I hadn’t crossed paths. Yet, in seeing me that day, he exuded a genuine interest in becoming friends. 

Reyansh was a handsome programmer whose disdain for a rigid, Middle-Eastern upbringing had sent him to the deep American-south for its comparable climate and friendly tax-laws. He was supposed to have gone back home with a degree, but was quickly compelled to keep with the Western ways and find somewhere to settle down. Something about The Plains had enticed Reyansh as a college graduate, so he made a brave, but calculated move to assimilate himself into the city without ever having stepped foot on its soil.

When we met that day, and seemingly every day after that, his search for a life-partner was as effusive as it was ongoing. Though, even after minor victories, I saw in his eyes an insoluble thirst that seemed to always keep them moving. Those eyes of his were dark and imploring, but his chestnut-brown complexion helped paint his innocuous smile as boyish and charming. This particular feature made a difference when the light was dim and most forgiving, which happened to be in the sort of places Reyansh frequented the most. Each weekend it was a new club or venue that he had heard about or wanted to try, and it didn’t take long for Reyansh to express his desire to take me under his wing, to show me the art of his approach, and perhaps bestow a useful tool for when the time came for me to navigate alone. There was much to learn, he insisted, about us and how we navigate, the differences between his people and mine, but also, what women really wanted.

Pesky Roaches

For Eddie, it seemed to have been brewing since the day we arrived, whereas I put off the matter as long as I could, hoping to keep peace amongst the three of us. In his most earnest efforts, Eddie adroitly enlisted household items, even converting discarded pieces of recyclable material into contraptions to counter their cunning ways. If to trap one in a glass, designate said glass specifically for catching them, and don’t you dare mix them up, he demanded one day. The idea was to capture these cockroaches we came to find – scurrying around various spaces, at all hours of the day – well enough to make your way out to the balcony, and then launch them back into nature.

Cockroaches are, moreover, rather elusive – some even resourceful enough to take flight at the sight of danger – and they are almost always a single step ahead once the lights go on. As such, trapping them humanely became something of a game. But the game ended one afternoon when, while working on a story at my desk, my feeble attempt at scooping one of the buggers onto a plank of cardboard was thwarted by its sudden scramble. As a result, the shiny critter plopped into my cup of steaming coffee, and I watched, disgusted and disappointed as he scurried around in a sea of black soot, unable to crawl out. 

Later that week, a ‘courtesy spray’ was conducted at the apartment. No stranger to the siege of chemicals and ensuing quarantine, Nico cleared his schedule for the day, and advised Eddie and I do the same. Throughout the process of having them addressed, however, I sensed in Nico an unspoken amusement toward our collective loathe toward one of Mother Nature’s most pesky critters. He seemed desensitized to the sight of them, as if they had long since become a fixture to the territory, and their coexistence was a mere trade-off for the city’s many endearing attributes.