XVII | Lost

I can’t concentrate
on what the teacher is saying.

There’s hieroglyphics on my worksheets
and mud in my brain.

The bell rings
(I think).

I follow my friends to the back gate
(I think).

Rowan watches me

from underneath
the rowan tree.

Her eyes follow me

even though I’m sure
she doesn’t know it’s the same Ria.

But it doesn’t matter,
the whole school’s

talking about it.


‘It’s not your fault.
‘All you did was break up with her,’
Kumar says.

‘I know.’

I’m not relieved.


Why is this happening?


We’re at the traffic-light,
waiting for it to turn green.

Red LED light
and a glowing sunset.

Then, I hear someone

call my name.

 A faint silhouette
of wings against the cityscape.

It’s golden hour.

The grey concrete pavements
are a warm orange colour.
The tall grey buildings
cast shadows that look like stairs.

People are vague grey shapes,

unnoticed in the excitement
of the day’s ending.

Red light turns green.

The vague grey shapes
slowly move
across the road.

I wrestle out of
Kumar’s “comforting” sidehug.

‘Go ahead first.’

I run towards the conspicuous donkey
standing at the exit of the petrol kiosk
just beside the school.

No one else finds it out of place.


Ming’s voice.

Ming’s hand

waving furiously
from across the road.

‘Go first!’
I yell again.




‘What’s up, Eeyore?’

The donkey watches me approach with tired eyes.
‘My name is Nya-Nya.’

I stick my hands inside my pockets.
‘Quick. I want to go play soccer.’ faster.

One of Eeyore’s ears twitch.

‘I also have the stupid feather with me.
‘So there’s no reason for you to bother me.’


A car’s headlights
blind me
for a moment.

When I open my eyes,

the stupid donkey
is watching the kid in the backseat.

This kid is the first one

to notice the donkey
and turn to stare.

The kid presses his/her hand on the window,

fogs it up
with his/her breath.


With a finger

he/she writes three letters: RIA.

The car doors open,
a couple steps out.

The woman/man helps the kid out.

They disappear into the convenience store.

The man/woman fills up the gas
and puffs a cigarette.


I clench my fists.

‘What did you do to Ria?’

Even though my voice sounds like that,
I’m not angry.

My hands are only shaking
because I’m hungry.

‘Where is she?’
I ask the donkey again.
‘What have you done to her?’

‘She’s missing in your world, isn’t she?’

I have no retort to this.
I should have.

I can blame God

for giving Ria
this kind of crappy fate.

The donkey’s tail swings leisurely.
Waiting for me to explode.

Another car blocks our view
of the man/woman and his cigarette.

‘God didn’t do anything.

‘Ria didn’t disappear into thin air.’


Getting angry with a #*%& donkey
doesn’t solve anything.

‘You said she’s missing.’

I know
what happened to her.
I know
she’s happier

wherever she is now.

Quietly: ‘That’s a lie.’

Before I can reply,
the door of the convenience store opens.

The woman/man comes out
holding the kid.

And they disappear
along with their car.


‘How do I bring her back?’

‘You were tired of her.’

An engine starts.
‘Just tell me how do I bring her back.’

‘You wanted her gone.’

I look down at my shoes.

I’ve had them for two years
but they’re still pure white.

‘Yeah. I did.
‘But I didn’t want her to



The donkey turns away.

What the heck
did it come here for anyway?

To rub salt in my wound?

It unfurls its wings.
Turns to look at me.

‘Do you really want to bring her back?’

‘Is it possible?’

A pause.

‘Forget it,’ I say
and turn away.


Eeyore spreads its wings
and disappears into the sky.


I walk back 
to the traffic light.


why do I have to think about Ria?

My mood is crappy now.


Suddenly I realise
someone’s staring at me.

I look.

It’s the kid from before.

tugs one of my bag straps.

‘How come you have a flying donkey?’

I stare at the kid.
Didn’t this fellow


just now?

‘I want a lion.’

The kid puts a lollipop into his/her mouth.

The candy is shaped like a thumb.
Maybe it’s really his/her thumb.

He/she says again,
‘I want a lion.’

‘where will you get a lion?’

Now I’m really pissed.

‘Go to the zoo and get one yourself!’




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