LVII | Someone Like You

It’s noon.

I know
because the sun

is frying my back
to a crisp.

I draw the curtain

and drag my easel
into the cooler interior
of the hall.

Li Wen

is holding Raymond’s fries
out of his reach,

trying to feed him

one fry at a time

from her mouth.

He’s leaning in
to bite

the fry

sticking out
of her mouth

when I put my box of paints
on the dining table.

He slumps

in his chair,

ears turning bright red.

Li Wen glares at me.

I ignore her
and make my peanut butter sandwich.

She tries again,

but because
I’m still there,

he avoids her gaze

and examines the blank fridge door
with quivering eyes.

I’ve learnt,
if that’s possible,

that Li Wen

is a fearsome person.

Since the first day
she told me

Raymond was hers,

I’ve avoided

anything to do with her.

It’s not that hard.


have any interest

in anyone

other than Raymond.

I wonder
if they were admitted

into the asylum



They weren’t.


The smell of peanut butter
runs away

as Tammie

sits in the chair
beside me.

(I put the lid
over the tub,

just in case.)

She follows me back
into the main hall,

away from Li Wen’s scalding gaze.

I sit on half my stool,
Tammie on the other side,


at my sun-stained canvas.


Raymond was here first.
Li Wen came later.

They’re not siblings.


I peek at them
over my sandwich.

has his fries back

and Li Wen

is draped across
the back of his chair,


into his ear.

          not siblings.


Li Wen dropped her towel
outside her cubicle

during bath time.

Raymond picked it up
for her.


She bathed in the guys toilet?
I point out.

Tammie giggles.


That’s her habit.


It’s not hard

to guess
the rest of the story.

She opened the door
to see who

hung her towel back
for her

and saw Raymond.

Raymond’s ears
probably turned

bright red

when Li Wen smiled at him.

And he probably found
the clothes rack

opposite the cubicles

very interesting.

‘Poor Raymond,’ I comment.


The main
door of the asylum opens.

(It never opens

it’s medicine time.)


a new patient comes.


There’s two of them.


It’s hard to see
since the boy

is hiding behind the girl

and there are
three nurses

(the pretty one, the plain one and one male)

following them.

The girl’s eyes
are sharp,

she looks around her


hands forming fists.


one of her hands
is wrapped around his.

She meets my gaze

with a challenge.

I smile quickly
and hide behind
my sandwich.

Like a bodyguard
who’s ensured the surroundings are clear,

she pulls the boy forward.

He’s not a boy.

He’s a man.
With a faint beard
and deep-set


That’s about the only difference
there is

between the two of them.

Both have the same
intense eyes,
          same height,
same shoulder-length

same face,
same physique.

Without his beard,

he would be
the exact replica

of his sister.

‘Twins,’ I tell Tammie.

‘They’re adult twins.’

Tammie laughs
at my choice of words.


All twins grow into adults, Fifi.


But that’s

not the reason

I said that.

The brother,
eyes darting around the hall,

inches closer

to his sister
and holds onto her arm.

It’s a strange sight.

…Like clowns
performing a mime,

I explain
to Tammie.




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