I start to walk, then…
I keep walking...
Sitting for hours, still alone...
I arrive in a bar…
I wait until someone comes in…
There is music playing on the radio…
It smells like time doesn’t exist here…
My coffee is cold in front of me…
I can’t see the watermelon fields from here. Would I catch a slight glimpse of a lie?
….wondering what my reflection would say about me… I listen to what they say...
then I understand what I need to do…
like in a dream... I place myself in front of me... So I decided to play a game of truth or false with myself.
I wait until I start to move to play… I am not sure where my attention is these days.
From the pier to the port, all over the coast… She has been fucked at least once by everyone. Her body belongs to the vagabonds, to the lost souls, to the immigrants… Her body is for those who have nothing.
It’s been like that since she was a little girl. In the garage, in the canteen, behind the tank, in the bush. She was the queen of inmates, the insane, the sick and the boys from the boarding school. And too often she fucked the old blokes who were on their way out.
She is a well of goodness, which is why the city keeps on repeating on the streets: Throw rocks at Geni. She was meant to be beaten. She’s only good to be spat at. She fucks anyone. Repugnant Geni.
One day it appeared, brilliant among the floating clouds. A huge zeppelin. It hovered over the buildings. It blew up two thousand of them. The terrified city was paralysed. Ready to turn into jam. But from inside the giant zeppelin, the commander came down, saying: ‘I changed my mind... When I first saw this city I saw so much horror and injustice. So I decided to blow everything up. But I can avoid the drama if tonight, that beautiful lady serves me.’
That lady was Geni. But it cannot be Geni. She was meant to be beaten. She’s only good to be spat at. She fucks anyone. Repugnant Geni.
But in fact, she, so poor, so simple, she had captivated the stranger. The showy warrior. So feared and powerful. He was a prisoner of hers. And as it turns out, Geni had her own secret. She also had her whims… To lie with such a nobleman, smelling of shine and copper? She would rather fuck the pigs.
Upon hearing such heresy, the whole city took a pilgrimage to kiss her hand. The mayor on his knees. The bankers. The Archbishop of Canterbury... ‘Fuck him, fuck him Geni. You can save us! You will redeem us. You fuck anybody! Blessed Geni!’
There were so many requests, so sincere, so heartfelt, that she overcame her repugnance. On that excruciating night, she gave herself to that lover, as if she were fucking an executioner. He caused so much mess. He smeared himself all night until he was satiated.
When it was almost day, he left within a grey cloud with his silver zeppelin. With a relieved sigh she turned on her side and tried to smile.
But soon the sun was up. The city, singing in one voice, would not let her sleep. Throw rocks at Geni. She was meant to be beaten. She’s only good to be spat at. She fucks anyone. Repugnant Geni.
I should stand here
I’d better listen… At this point I am not convinced that I know me.
That person in front of me is now someone else trying to tell me stories.
Do the facts match up with the stories? I don’t know.
When I hear stories spoken out loud,
I am not totally convinced they actually happened.
Then suddenly they start to repeat the same action... and another story....
The people you see in the media are usually one type of trans person. They’re usually binary [identify as either female or male], they usually pass [as someone of that gender], they’re usually white and they usually have this narrative that they’ve always known they’re the ‘wrong gender’. It makes other trans people scared to tell their stories.
Non-binary people are people who don’t identify as male or female all the time. There are lots of subsections – you might be agender, gender fluid, bi-gender, a demi-girl or a demi-boy. You might not understand the nuances of the differences, but everyone is always making up new identities to match their experiences and that can only be a good thing. While it can be confusing, it’s better than saying you can only be this thing and we won’t talk about anything else.
I just identify as non-binary and don’t put myself into any sub identity. Some days I like to be a woman and I’m also OK with identifying as being a guy. I’m pretty much nothing at the moment.
I came out as a trans guy and transitioned. I took testosterone, I’ve had top surgery [chest reduction] and then a hysterectomy in 2015. The hormones and surgery is about aligning my body to what it should have been at birth. Being born with the correct parts would have made things easier, but at the same time I don’t want to be told that my body is wrong.
It’s very difficult to get treatment as a non-binary person. They were dismissive about the fact that I was feminine. Non-binary people are used to it, you are warned when you go in [to the gender clinics], if you want treatment you will have to present as male or female and stick to that story.
I don’t want to be part of any mainstream [pro-trans] movement if it doesn’t include non-binary people. In terms of celebrity, there needs to be a lot more diversity. It’s a circle: people don’t come out if they don’t see anyone like them.
I’m mixed-race: my mum is Spanish and Nigerian. I am still finding out how I connect with an identity apart from a western LGBT identity. That’s something I’m still working on. Within the religion indigenous to the Yoruba people [an ethnic group in Nigeria] there’s a lot of gender fluid deities; as a trans person trying to find my roots, that’s one part of my heritage that I feel positive about.
I should stand here
WAS THIS STORY OUT OF CONTEXT?!
I was expelled from school, rejected by my family and sacked from my job.
I was first reported to my school because I was seen cuddling a boy. When I got home, my family beat me up.
About two weeks later, I was woken by bright lights and taken away by six men who hit me and crushed my throat with a crowbar. The men, one of whom was a community leader, slapped me and interrogated me.
They rubbed something on my lips, something that burned and hurt and caused a scar I still have.
I was 15.
I was kept in a house for two weeks with other boys – some I recognised from my neighbourhood or football team – who were in the same kind of trouble. Some of them had been tortured…
Some of the boys there had no fingernails. They had been pulled off. One time my friend Ruby was called. They brought him back dead.
I managed to get away and lived on the streets of Kampala. Eventually, a woman took me in.
I was expected to cook and clean and shop for the woman in her one-room rental home. I hated myself. I even bought myself some poison and I kept it in my pocket, to either ignore or obey my internal voice telling me to drink it.
Gay sex can be punishable by death in northern Nigeria, Sudan, Somalia and Mauritania.
Same-sex liaisons are illegal in Uganda. People convicted of homosexuality can be sent to jail for the rest of their lives.
However, Angola, Mozambique and Seychelles have all scrapped anti-homosexuality laws in recent years.
After my friend was murdered, I managed to get to Kenya, and from there I was smuggled to England.
Nine years later I applied for political asylum here in the UK.
I was interviewed and asked about my relationships. I told them that I had never been in a serious one.
I was refused.
I was told it was because I was not in a same-sex relationship, and my nature was quiet rather than flamboyant.
Basically they were saying I was not outgoing or camp enough. That I could go back and behave discreetly.
Every day here now I ask myself that same question, could I?
I should stand here
I think sometimes there is a gap in between what people say and what they actually experience
Things can get a bit trippy in Watermelon Sugar. Sometimes I think it can be a bit dreamy... we never know what is real and what is imagination... if this happened in the past or in the present, or future... or if it actually is a matter of truth or lies...
If the stories of the person next to me are different... Then I look out the window and I see a phrase written on the wall:
How do you know we are not in Kansas anymore?
What's the ending?
You have a few minutes to add your suggestions for how to end story in Watermelon Sugar ended
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Also In Watermelon Sugar
Conception & Choreography Vinicius Salles
Light design by
Fictional and non-fictional fragments by:
Vinicius SallesRichard BrautiganMonique Augrau
Some texts were collected by Vinicius Salles from people he worked with are found in the news. They are real stories by real people.
Translation by Vinicius Salles and Charlotte Price
Produced by Err(ə)nt
Design Milk Films Cafe