LXXXVI | Something Not Mine​

Tammie’s hair

is damp,
half standing up.

She’s smiling her apologetic smile.



I almost collapse
from relief.

I hold her tighter

squeezing her hand
every now and then,

just to be sure.


A single high-pitched scream
keeps my eyes open


I’ll be more tired

than I am right now.




There are three
new patients

when I go downstairs.

I stop

on the stair landing,

the abstract eyes
on the wall.

Six nurses

in total.

I feel my heartbeat
in my throat.

I shuffle into the main hall.


I know what
Tammie will say.


Xavier’s gone.

The only one who dares to eat
during medicine time.

Siti and Zuraida too.

In their place,

an older man
with traces of grey hair (Ibrahim),

a older woman
with traces of grey hair (Queenie),

a younger woman
who keeps laughing (Pei Xuan).


Tammie’s hand
curls in my hair


pulling at my scalp.

I refuse to look at her.
I don’t want to argue

with her

first thing this morning.


It’s noisy during medicine time today—

with David constantly whispering
and Pei Xuan laughing out loud,

even though

there’s nothing
funny to laugh about.


I follow Tammie
to the studio.

She doesn’t ask me


I know
she wants to talk.

but she takes her time
about it.

Sets up all her CD players.

Changes into her leotard.

I stand
beside the door

and wonder

if I should mention
the Red Sea

I saw last night.


You need to stop this.


Her voice is harsh,
more frustrated

than I thought it would be.

It hurts.

My stomach burns.


Stop killing people
to protect me from a danger

that doesn’t exist.


‘Tammie, I–’


You think this
makes me feel better?

You can’t erase the past.

Let it go.


My vision blurs.

Through my shattered

I imagine a world

where Tammie doesn’t exist.

Where I have no friends.
Where I didn’t hurt anybody.

I’m angry.

‘It’s not my fault!

‘I’m not the one
‘killing people here!

‘Why do you think
‘everyone’s life
‘revolves around you.

‘It doesn’t!

‘I don’t!

‘I’m not asking for forgiveness—

‘I know you won’t give it!’

Her grey eyes flash.

She takes a step
towards the metal pole.

Takes the plastic knife

I bluetacked there.

Points it
at me.




Yeah, what a coincidence!
The people you talked to yesterday

just happen

to die today.


‘You don’t believe me.
‘No matter what, you won’t…

‘I didn’t kill them.

‘Why is so hard
‘to believe me?

‘If I find the murderer
‘and tie him up for you

‘will you finally believe me?’


A flick of the plastic knife.

She relaxes
her stance

but the damage is done.

She had been
hurt before.

That one instance

of fear
in her grey eyes,

a change in her voice,

a few careless words
her life.


I hurt her



If she doesn’t
hate me

that’ll already be

a miracle.


Then, explain it.
In a way I can understand.


What’s the point?

Trust isn’t made of words.

She’s gone.
She’s gone.

Tammie’s still standing there,

I smell her foul breath,
I see her in front of me,

but the world

that we see,

that we describe
with the same words,

are obviously

different ones.

‘Believe whatever you want.

‘I’ll show you the truth
‘with my own hands.’

An apologetic smile.


Get out, Fifi.
I need to practice.




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