LXXXIX | Resolution

Shuhui is by my bedroom window
smoking a cigarette,

wearing only my shirt
—nothing else underneath.

She turns
when I walk in,

a smile
obscured by smoke.

‘How’s the date?’

My determination wavers.

It’s more difficult
than I thought it would be.

drops her cigarette
out the window

and gives me a hug.

I’m enveloped in ash.

Push her away
and regret it immediately.

That familiar pain
in her eyes.

I close my eyes,
take a deep breath;

the cat’s tail
pokes my ankle.

‘You can’t stay here anymore.’

She tilts her head.

‘Did something happen?
‘How did she find out? I was very careful.’

‘I told her.
‘So I can’t do this anymore.’


Her smile is playful.

‘Don’t. Won’t.
‘I’ll help you talk to your mother,
‘let’s go.’

Shuhui sits
on the edge of my bed,

smoothing her hair
back into a good girl bob.

‘Are you serious?
‘You think that’ll change anything?
‘It’s none of your business.’

A snigger/laugh.

‘When did you become so lame?’

I throw a pair of pants at her
and open my door.
‘Faster. Before the last bus.’

She stares at me defiantly.

‘Don’t liddat leh,’
I say teasingly.

‘If not I’ll become even more lame
‘and tell my mother.’

She laughs.

‘You’re the one
‘who’ll get into trouble
‘if you do that.’

She moves,
tossing my pants


She removes my shirt.
Puts on Pretti’s school uniform.

I stuff her belongings
into her bag.

My hands freeze
while zipping her pencil case.

There’s a set of clothes inside.

More makeup than a girl can wear in one day.

She grabs the bag,
brushes past me.

I google the address she gives me
at the bus stop,
and we sit next to each other
on the taxi

in total silence

all the way

When we arrive,
she says I don’t have to follow her.

I do.

Because I really do
consider her

my friend.

Even if she doesn’t understand
why I’m like this.

I don’t want her
to get raped
sleeping out in the open.

My mind is racing,

Because I’m actually

about what to do.

The words
are on the tip of my tongue,
Let’s go back to my house.
We can talk to your mother

But I think of
Rowan’s dramatic crying

as if
the world is going to end.

So drama.

I wouldn’t believe
it means anything

if she’s Ria.

No one has ever worried about

what’ll happen to me
after death.

It’s always about now.


For something in return
in the near future.

At the door,
Shuhui turns to me again.

A smile.

Hooded eyes.

‘Here’s far enough.
‘Go back.’

I ring the doorbell.

She swears under her breath.
Side glare.

I glare back.

The door opens.

A sleepy woman in a nightdress

‘Shuhui! Nice to see you.
‘It’s been a while.

‘What are you doing here so late at night?’

This is…not your house
is it?

She laughs,
eyes fixed on me.


‘Sorry for disturbing.
‘I forgot my house key

‘and my parents are asleep already.’

The woman begins
to unlock the gate.

‘My goodness,
‘Come in, come in!

‘Of course you can sleep here!
‘You are practically Shaoling’s sister
‘so treat our house like your own home!’

‘Thank you so much, auntie.
‘you saved my life!’

The emphasis on the last few words
doesn’t escape me.

The woman thanks me for
accompanying Shuhui here.

‘See you in school tomorrow, Clyde,’
Shuhui says sweetly

as the woman disappears
into the house with her bag,

calling for her daughter.

‘You’ve just
‘shot yourself in the foot,’
she whispers.

The door slams shut in my face.




error: Content is protected!!