LXVII | Some Consideration

Watching Tammie
ignore me

is an excruciating


It’s more familiar
than I’d like it to be.

in my repressed memories,

I’ve done something


to make her
abandon me that way.


it’s happening again.


What happened?

I think about

peeking in while she’s pole dancing

to see if it’ll come to me

but when I see her

in that ill-fitting
leotard, wrapped

around the metal pole,

my mind goes blank

and my heart aches.


So I hide
in her favourite place,

staring at the rowan

and punish myself by remembering.




Asher finds me

in the greenhouse

He sits on the bench

next to me,

without a word.

We haven’t spoken
for as long as Tammie has ignored me.

If only

he could be Tammie.

Then it doesn’t matter
if she never

talks to me again.

I’ll do anything

to have her be close by

Zuraida said
rowan trees can’t grow in Singapore.

Asher doesn’t react

so I don’t realise
the one speaking

is me.

After a pause,

he replies
without moving

(as if that will scare me away),


She’s right.


I stiffen.

I don’t like
the sound of that.

I don’t want
it to be true.

But it does.

Why is my voice

With technology,
with a man-made environment,
with advanced engineering…

I sound

so desperate.

Asher finally

to me.

His eyes are fuller

than I remember.

There’s sympathy there,
          remorse, hope, sadness.


It’s okay

it can’t.


I don’t understand what he’s saying.

The emotions
in his eyes.

The sentence
I understand fully.

It is because of the sentence
that I start to talk—

so fast I don’t know what I’m saying—

but Asher knows

because the emotions in his eyes
become more intense

and he cries

on my behalf.

I tell him how Tammie and I met
while I was recovering

in secondary school.

She was the only one
who made an effort

to befriend me
who couldn’t communicate normally.

She accepted my illness,

lived with it,
loved me for it.


I tell him
that my favourite thing in the world

was holding her hand.


Because of her,
I got to have

a normal life.

Shopping for clothes with a friend,
eating BBQ at the beach,

I can’t remember


but it comes back to me
in flashes.


I tell him

that she was honest with me

and it didn’t hurt,
it was a good thing

because I was so dense
and confused about

what’s real.

When we were together,
I always knew

what’s real.

I was lonely,


labelled a lunatic
before I could even understand my own thoughts.

I was accustomed

to being surrounded
by strangers who were also

a danger to everyone else—

and we would be



Like the two of us are

right now.

We can’t understand each other

—how can we?

We’re both selfish
devils who can’t care about
anyone else.


was a different kind of person.

She sat close to me.
She told me how she felt.

We hugged.
We kissed.
We cuddled.

I learnt



She appears in
all my sane memories.

So all my memories of her

are precious.

Seeing her here,

You think I don’t hope
she’s really a hallucination?

My voice sounds
calm to my own ears

but Asher

is crying.

I want. I’d rather be delusional,
I tell him,

than believe I destroyed
her life this much.

I close my eyes
and try to think back

to what I did.

What happened then.

But I only see her
with bright grey eyes


still too skinny,

still dancing around the pole.

Her laugh,
her smell

fills me up

and I don’t want

to open my eyes


But Asher’s voice

drowns out Tammie’s.


I’ll be your friend.
I can’t take her place.
Because you and I…

are the same.


His eyes are pleading

when I open mine.




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