XLVIII | Taming Who

Kumar is
worried about her,

but Ming
thinks it’s time
she grew up.

I don’t worry
about what my friends think

of Rowan.

Who knows
how long this will last?

They’ll lose interest in her.

So will I.

Tom and Jerry
will be
the most entertained.


‘She won’t change,’ Jerry said.

‘Ah, you finally called.
‘Never reply my text.’

‘You changed your number at some point)
‘and never give me!
‘I’ve been texting your old one
‘like an idiot.’

‘Sorry dude, my bad.’

‘So what’s the plan?
‘Are you just playing around
‘or do you seriously
‘like her?’

‘Now that you mentioned it,
‘I rarely liked my girlfriends horh.’

‘It’s better if you don’t like her.’

‘That’s sad.
‘I’m her first boyfriend, you know?

‘Later she becomes a nun, how?’

‘When did you grow a heart?’

‘What’s that?
‘Can it be eaten?’

Boisterous laughter.

It’s late at night
when he calls.

I tell him about Rowan coming over tomorrow.

‘Are you going all the way?’

I think
about how
to tell him.

‘No. We’re going to watch a movie.’

‘Bro, I don’t care whether
‘you watch a movie while doing it.
‘TMI, bro.’

‘I meant, we’re not going to have sex.
‘She says it’s her hard limit.’

I sigh.
Jerry sighs.

‘Why are you dating her again?’

I shrug.

‘Reinforced glass
‘doesn’t break immediately.’

There’s no sound
from him.

Did he fall asleep in that
one second interval?

‘Jerry? Oi.’

There’s a strange
wheezing sound.

Then, crackling

It’s not like

his usual

‘Ah, I can’t breathe!’

‘Oi, Jerry! What happened?’

He keeps cackling


‘Ah Clyde,
‘you’re such a joker!’

‘I don’t get it.’

The sound of a door
opening and closing.

Muffled shifting sounds.

Another person.

(Who else?)

An erotic moan.

‘Let me know how it goes,’ he says.
The line goes dead.

I scowl at my phone.




walks out of the lift,
presses the doorbell.

I’m watching her through the peephole.

There’s no

She’s not nervous.

I thought there’d be some.

After all,
she knows my reputation.

I hear someone’s

She’s fanning herself
with the top of her shirt.

It’s hers.


I open the door
so i can see the tips of her ears
turn red.

The heartbeat grows faint.

There’s a smile
on her expressionless

It looks quite natural there.
(Have I just never noticed it?)

‘I brought fruits.’

I hold the door
as she walks in

with a big FairPrice plastic bag.

‘It’s not Chinese New Year, yet,’
I point out.

‘Just say thanks.’

Arigatou gozaimasu,’
I say with an exaggerated bow.

She ignores me,
looks around.

‘Your house is big.’

‘It’s only bigger than yours.
‘you live in a shoebox.’

And also,
we don’t use many rooms
in this apartment.

The common spaces
are dusty.

I’m like a boarder
sharing a house
with a businessman and a teacher.

‘You’re the only kid?’

She seems surprised.

I nod.

‘I thought you had an older brother.’

How does she know
about Brient?

Wild guess.

I lead her to my room.

She looks at the mess:

          untidy bookshelves,
          sports memorabilia,
          scattered laundry,

          a dusty piano,

ambivalence on her face.

‘The living room is bigger.’

I smile.

‘We’re watching the movie
‘on my laptop.’

I lean close to her ear.

‘There’s space
‘on my bed.’

Her eyes narrow
as I straighten up.

I gesture around

the pigsty I live in.

Point at the spacious
queen-sized bed.


‘The living room also have.’

She turns
to back out

into the


living room.

‘Why don’t we–’

I pull her
into my room,
onto the bed.

There’s no fear in her eyes.

The tips of her ears
are red.

Awkward silence.

‘Your bed doesn’t smell
‘like you,’
she whispers.

I start up my laptop.

‘I take very good care
‘of my bed.’

She glances around the room

‘But only your bed.’

Ah, innocent girls are the cutest.

I hand her a cushion.

A red, heart-shaped pillow
Ria gave me
to celebrate our 100th day dating

or something like that.

‘A gift.
‘You can bring that home.’

Her whole face
turns red.

It’s the same colour as the cushion.

I stare into her eyes.

What is she imagining?

Does she think
I masturbate on it
or something?

Why does she look at it
with pity?

Her fingers
sink into the fluffy material,

she rubs it



It’s getting

in here.




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