‘Sorry,’ I say.

Rowan’s expressionless expression
returns to her face.

‘For what?’

Her voice is a whisper.
She looks away,
at the stars in the sky.

‘I let Shuhui sleep at my house.’

She doesn’t respond.

I don’t dare
to look at her.

I keep going.

‘She got kicked out of her house,
‘so I let her stay over.
‘But there’s nowhere else for her to sleep
‘except in my bed.’

The crickets stop singing.

‘I’m sorry, Rowan.
‘I’ll tell her to leave tomorrow.’

I look down at her,

‘I tried to justify it
‘with good intentions.

‘But you deserve better.
‘I’m going to put in more effort.

‘I’m serious about you,

She sighs,
stands up,

brushing leaves from her skirt.

‘Let’s break up,’ she says.




I must have stopped breathing

from the shock
of her words

My chest is

so much.

‘What?’ I ask dumbly.

She picks up the trash
and stuffs it into a nearby bin.

‘Did you sleep with her?’

By sleep do you mean sex?

I wisely stop myself
from saying that.

‘Yes,’ is what comes out instead.

She nods
and starts to make space in her bag
for the soccer ball.

‘I’m breaking up with you,’
she repeats.

My hands are curled
into fists without realising.

‘Because I let her in
‘when she had nowhere to go?’

Rowan’s coal-black eyes
burn into mine.

I flinch at the fire.

‘She has a house.
‘Why didn’t you send her home?’

‘Her mother locked her out!’
My voice is louder

than necessary.

She swings her bag
over her shoulder.

‘If you ring the doorbell,
‘her mother will open it.’

‘You don’t understand!’
I grab her hand.

I don’t understand
why she can’t see that

‘Isn’t this exactly the same as
‘Kumar’s situation!
‘I didn’t do anything you didn’t.’

She tries to break away
from my grip.

I tighten it.

‘You slept with her.’

‘You let Kumar sleep in your bed too.’

‘It’s also my brother’s room.
‘I slept with my parents.’

I let go of her.

She rubs the red mark
on her wrist,
eyes glassy with an extra layer of light.

‘Sorry,’ I hiss,
‘I forgot you’re a condescending
‘judgemental bitch
‘with double standards
‘and sees the rest of us
‘as crap.’

My voice continues to rise.

‘I’m trying, you know that?
‘Do you know how hard it is to change?

‘Do you #*%&ing know
‘that now
‘I can’t fit in with my friends,

‘I don’t #*%&ing understand
‘what they’re thinking.
‘or how to #*%& convince them
‘I’m still the same Clyde.

‘All they see is that I’ve become
‘a #*%&ing stranger!

‘All I did was give you and your #*%&ing donkey
‘the benefit of the doubt.’

The layer of light
in her eyes

and drips down her face.

‘I listened to you,
‘and I thought about all the hard truths
‘you threw at me

‘and I confronted
‘every horrible thing
‘that happened.

‘You #*%&ing said I’d be free.
‘You #*%&ing said I’ll never be alone.
‘you #*%&ing said that

‘I’ll become a new person

‘but that’s all a #*%&ing lies!’

I’m panting

as hard as

she’s crying.

The night is silent.
The crickets have fled.

The rowan tree
isn’t whispering anymore.

Pin-drop silence.

I can only hear the blood
rushing in my ears.
My own rapid breathing.

I find my bag
in the darkness,
grab it
and leave.

I don’t know
which way is home

but if I walk far enough

I’ll find
an MRT station
I recognise.




error: Content is protected!!