XC | Played

Tossing and turning,

I can’t sleep
because my room smells of ash.


I play back
what just happened.


I can almost hear
her saying that.

I bury my head
in my pillow
and groan loudly.

The clothes in her bag,

her house that turned out to be
a friend’s place.

So sly! That 狐狸精!

If I was who I used to be,
I’d want revenge.

Playing me for a fool
like that…

Rowan comes to mind
and I’m paralysed.

Is this how it’s going to be

from now on?

Continuously used by other people,
feeling like crap because

I can’t get back at them?

#*%& lah.

I listen to the air-con unit
making noise in the dark.

Then I remember

something else

that happened.

I don’t think I’ll be able
to sleep at all tonight.




As soon as I get to class,
I call Ming out.

He pauses, mid-laugh
to glance at me.

I think he’s thinking of
ignoring me.

Maybe there’s something on my face
that changes his mind.

because he
gets up,

follows me to the end of the corridor

where I face him
and speak angrily.

‘You accused me of using you.
‘You said I betrayed you

‘but you were the one
‘using me the whole time.’

He looks speechless.

Like he didn’t expect me
to say this.

‘So I’m right.’

I laugh sarcastically.
‘And here I was

‘trying to wreck my brains
‘to think of how I’d betrayed you.’

I push him in the chest.
He stumbles backwards.

His eyes

don’t meet


‘It’s not just you, is it?
‘Shuhui, Nora, Jerry…

‘All of you are just having fun.
‘Using me!

‘And you #*%&ing  said I betrayed you–’

my vision’s gone

So lame…

‘–you’re all just the same!’

I’m breathing hard.
It’s the only way to

          not fall apart.




looks at me.

He doesn’t deny it.
He doesn’t say anything in return.

Almost as if,
he didn’t hear

a word I said.

He’s fidgeting with his wrist,
waiting for something.

There’s no feeling
in his eyes.

Has he always looked like that?

A cold chill
runs down my back.

He tilts his head,
lips parting
in a sneer.

‘If you have nothing else to say,
‘I’m going back.’

He doesn’t even wait.

He bumps into my shoulder
and disappears.

I’m left


at a blank wall.

I run a hand through my hair.

What’s this?
What’s happening?

Is this real?

Why is this happening?

I stand there
until the bell rings.

The bell is a just above me
so I think I lose my hearing.

But does it matter?

I also

can’t see





I pon the first class
to think.

I need to think
about what

I’m going to do
from now on.

I haven’t gone to the school library
since I came to JC.
(I don’t read.)

It’s kind of quiet.

There’s no one here because it’s first period.

The librarian
has headphones on,

a book open
in front of him.

I wander among the shelves,
sit at a random desk.

People who have free periods

tend to do homework or study here,

but since I brought
nothing with me

I just stare at book shelves.

have I been imagining everything?

I’m doing all this
before talking to Rowan,

before asking her
for another chance.

What if she says no?

How can I be so sure
she’ll relent?

Because I know what she really feels?

Mr. Ahmad
is not an ally.

It never was
and it never will be.

I will always
to understand what it says.

So why do I
believe so strongly
that I can
fix things with Rowan?

But there’s no way back,
is there?

My definition of friendship
has already changed.

One book
doesn’t match the rest
on the shelf.

Reference books on economics.

Sandwiched between
two fat textbooks
          are these words:





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