CVIII | Something Similar

My head is spinning,
My breath comes in gasps,

I’m reaching out
for Tammie

but she’s not here.

So the fake Tammie
is the one

who embraces me.

And I let her.

Clutching her shirt.
Burying my mouth

in her shoulder.

Muffling my screams.

The plain nurse
steps forward

to intervene.

But the fake Tammie

says something
to make her retreat

back to the door.

She smells different too.

Not of vomit
or stomach acid.

A musky, wooden smell.

A warm
comforting scent.


For a moment
I wonder if it’s really a bad thing

if I believe in this lie

that they’re putting in
so much effort

to confuse me.

This lie is better.

I like you, I tell the fake Tammie.

I look deep
into her dark eyes.

I like you like this.

Her breath is warm.
There’s no foul smell.


You don’t like me, Fifi.
Not in that way.

You’re sick.
You’re not yourself yet.

But it’s not your fault.

I’m sorry.
I’m sorry I couldn’t keep up.

But I’ve always been your friend.

I was tired then, Fifi.
You made me very tired.


I breathe in deeply.

There’s a hint of sweat
and the tangy taste

of rowan berries.

I think about
the two rowan trees
in the greenhouse

of the asylum.

Trees that don’t grow in Singapore.

But they’re growing here.
They’re intertwined.

They hide secrets
where their roots meet.

Tammie’s favourite place
in the asylum.

After my bedroom
of course.

They can, I say,

pulling away
from the fake Tammie.

Rowan trees can grow in Singapore.

She sits

on the couch
beside me.

She removes her hands

so her warmth
doesn’t touch me


I want her touch.

I like this Tammie’s

She’s warmer.
She’s kinder.

A lump rises
in my throat.

The real Tammie waiting for me
won’t like this.

She’ll say I betrayed her.
She’ll ignore me again.

Maybe they’ll kill her
and replace her with this one.

I can only have
one Tammie.

Will you stay with me?

I ask this Tammie.

You can pole dance.
You can do whatever
you want.

Just…let’s be together when we get out of here.

She smiles

her dark eyes lighting up
with panic.

They search for
the plain nurse.

She shakes her head.


I’m sorry, Fifi.
I’m going overseas.

I have a job,
I’m taking care of my family.

Don’t think about me

Focus on your own recovery.

It’s good to see you again.


Her arms tighten
around me.

It’s a good-bye hug.

Even though
I thought

she’s the lie they created
to replace the real Tammie.

I wrap my arms
around her,

and hurt

allowing me
to hang on tight.

This is how Tammie used to make me feel.

Tears trickle down my face
but I don’t cry.

She’s the real one.

She keeps talking.


You have no idea
how hard it is

to convince them to let me

see you.

I don’t know if we’ll ever
see each other again…


I sink my teeth
into her neck.

Blood spurts everywhere.

It’s warm.

The real Tammie is also
warm inside.

I hear the plain nurse scream

(or maybe it’s Tammie).

Tammie’s wet and warm
in my mouth.

I tear at her flesh

as she thrashes
against me.

I hear her make gurgling sounds.

When she doesn’t say
anything more,

I hold her tighter

so she knows
I’m still listening.

I’m still listening, Tammie.


I’m just searching
for your heart.

I want you to
leave it with me

when you go.

I can’t let you
leave me again.


Tammie’s head lolls,

her body becomes heavy.

I’m being pulled

There’s a lot of blood.
There’s a loud wailing.

Tammie falls
with a splash

into a sea of her own blood.

I struggle
with the ghosts

pulling at me.

I want to save Tammie.

I want to take her
with me.


She promised
that after last night,

she’ll stay with me.

She promised…




error: Content is protected!!