LX | Captured

When I reach my house,

I hear
the usual shouting
from inside

and make a decision.

I’m not gonna do anything about it.

Throw my socks in a corner.
Shoes on the rack.
School bag beside bedroom door.

Slam the door shut.

I lie flat
on my bed.

The room

is engulfed in darkness.

Darkness will muffle the noise.
Light will only make it clearer.

‘By doing nothing,’
I say to myself,
‘I don’t have to break up with her.’

She’ll just leave on her own.

I don’t mind
breaking up with her,

it’s just gonna be
a pain.

I remember what Jerry told me.

He guessed right
after all,

that I’ll regret this.

I do.

What was I trying to do?

Seduce her?
Change her?
Get revenge?

It’s not my fault.
I haven’t even done anything.

She’s the one,

who decided everything on her own.

The bossy bitch.

It’s not my fault.

There’s a break
in the screaming.

are slammed

table surfaces.

Water trickles down
the water pipes.

The neighbour is singing
in the shower.

There are no stars
in the sky.

The orange streaks of sunlight are gone.

I close my eyes.



My phone vibrates.

A message from Shuhui.

Dread fills me
from my head to my toes.

I remember
the pleasure,

the cafe at the basement
in the middle of nowhere.

Cigarette smoke
—a ladder to heaven.

The empty freedom.

I compare it
to the shining coal-fire

in Rowan’s eyes.

What an idiot.

My mother is crying.
My father is swearing.

They’re fighting over
pointless childish things

that were never
an issue before.

Stop being an ass.
#*%& off!

More yelling.
More wailing.

I imagine
they’re two werewolves,

fighting next door.


I’ll go for a walk

until they take a commercial break.




Why am i here?

For some reason,
          I‘m standing in front

of the nameless chicken rice shop.

There are no more buses

It’s past one am.

This is stupid.

The lights are all off.

I’m sure
her whole family is asleep right now.

The black glass doors
are completely opaque.

The closed sign stares at me.

I wander behind,

into the alleyway
to the rowan tree.

It sits,
rising out of the concrete.

Like the one at school,
this one’s bald and withered.

It’s too dark to tell,

but I think it’s dying.

The door opens.
Aspen is standing there,

t-shirt and shorts.

Tired eyes.

The torch of his phone switched on.


‘Is Rowan asleep?’ I ask.

He stares at me.

For a moment,
I think he doesn’t hear me.

Then he slips his feet
into slippers
and shuffles to stand beside me.

He squints at me.

Eyes widen.
Phone drops.

A dull clatter.

I’m blinded by the torchlight.

His hand is on my collar,
twisting my shirt in his fists.

‘Where is she?
‘Why are you two together until so late?’

His voice is

like orange streaks
across the grey sky.

‘I didn’t see her at all today,’
I say.

The pieces click
in my brain.

‘She’s not here either.’

Aspen lets go of my shirt.

Me: She stopped texting me around noon.

He: She has church duty tomorrow.


She kept our relationship
a secret

so it would have been
strange for her

to tell Aspen that we were alone together.


Aspen’s eyes
now remind me

of what Rowan’s
used to remind me.



‘I wasn’t going to come over,’
I say.

I click my phone on
so he can see
the absurd time of the day it was now.

No response to that.

We stare
at each other
in silence.

Over here,
the silence is deafening.

No crickets.
No werewolves.
No fighting.



‘She told me she’d be with you.’





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