LXX | Friendship

‘What’s up?’ Ming asks.

We’re alone now,

sitting on a park bench
under a street lamp.

It’s almost


The rest have gone home.

We should too,
before the last bus.

Insects dance
before the yellow light,
in no particular direction—
like they’re drunk.

‘My parents are getting divorced,’
I say.

Ming doesn’t look

I’m not surprised
he’s not surprised.

We’re neighbours after all,
so i’m sure he’s heard
the loud fights that happen.

‘That’s rough.’

I shrug.
Just like with Brient.
We both think it,
but we don’t say it out.

I knew it was going to happen someday.

The chameleon cat

the first sound of affection
I’ve heard from it.

‘That’s not all that happened though,’
it says.

I don’t know
how to tell him.

So, shut up.
Go catch rats or something.

It narrows bright green eyes
and slinks into a bush.

‘I miss the good old days,’
I say.

‘Secondary school
‘was pretty good,’ Ming says.

I make a noncommittal sound.

Secondary school
was messy.

We went to the

secondary school together,

We were in same class
for four years.

Even though
no one
can ever replace Brient,

Ming was
my best buddy.

We have good memories.

We didn’t fight
or cause trouble

like Brient and I did.

Ming was a
good kid
whose parents made him attend

lots of tuition.

So I tagged along
when I was bored.

After tuition,
we’d play soccer
with the neighbourhood boys.

We spent a lot of time

but I don’t think
we talked

When it was
the three of us (including Brient),

Brient and I
were always the ones


Ming has always been
more reserved.

The observant kind.

He knew
which girl
liked me

and which one
just wanted
to become more popular.

He was
the levelheaded one.

Looking back now,

I must have relied
on him

for so many things.




Ming gives me a funny look.

‘What?’ I ask.

‘Why are you looking at me?’

I shrug.

‘Just thinking about
‘the old days.’

He smirks.

‘We’re like uncles
‘staring at the moon,
‘contemplating life.’

He takes a swig of Red Bull.

‘Good thing
‘there’s no school tomorrow.’

I agree.

‘Did we ever stay up this late
‘in secondary school?’ I ask.

Ming nods.

‘We have.’


He nods again. Sighs.

‘We stayed up studying.’
‘No, we used to be good kids!’

He laughs
and punches me
on the shoulder.

‘What do you mean?
‘We had to stay up because we
‘played soccer all day.’

Ah, that’s right.
I remember.

I laugh too.

‘There was that day we ponned class
‘to eat early recess.’

‘Oh yeah! That was the day
‘my shoe had a hole

‘so we went out to buy new ones
‘so we can play after school.’

He grins at me.

‘You were good at soccer back then.’

‘What you mean? I’m still good now!’

A snort.
‘You’ve grown old, Clyde.’


It’s nice to pretend
is the same

for just

a little while.

Ming and I
sit in silence,

listening to the crickets sing.

‘Thanks ah, Ming.’

He looks at me.
Dark brown eyes,

‘Why suddenly?’

‘After what happened
‘the stuff Rowan said finally made sense
‘and suddenly the world…

‘isn’t so hopeless?

‘So thank you, Ming,
‘for being a my friend these few years.’

His eyes darken.

‘That’s not enough for you now,
‘is it?’


Why is he suddenly

Ming crushes his can of Red Bull
into a fist.

He: Where are you going?
Me: I’m not going anywhere.
He: It’s that bitch, isn’t it?
Me: What’s this got to do with Rowan?

He doesn’t reply.

‘Oi, bro!
‘what you talking about?’

He stands up,
his face shadowy with anger.

‘What’s the meaning of this?
‘You have her now

‘so you don’t need us anymore?’

I stand up too

because he’s waving
the crushed can of Red Bull

and the remnants of the drink
are splashing everywhere.

‘I don’t get it.’

I wrench the sticky ball of tin
from him.

‘What the hell are you
‘talking about suddenly?’

His hands,
now empty,
make fists.

His eyes,
          on fire,
are desperate.

‘Why does everyone always leave?’

His voice
          is crazy loud,
filled with fear.




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