XXXVI | Nobody

Last night,

I stormed out of Rowan’s house
without seeing


After knowing
the full story,

I didn’t know how to face him.

I didn’t know how to

There was nothing
I could do,

nothing I could say.

I cursed Rowan,
blamed her,

thought she was wrong.

It’s 3pm
when I wake up

but I can’t

get out of bed.

I pick up my phone,
scroll through my messages

I don’t have any.

My friends are quiet today.

I throw my phone
across the room.

It clatters
with a satisfying sound.

I want to punch something.
I want to #*%& someone.

I want to go back to being happy.

It took me eight years
to recover

from that.




I was nine.

I had fallen asleep
in Brient’s bed

His mother was crying.

I woke up
(two hours later),

couldn’t sleep again.

My mother
didn’t get any sleep either.

I didn’t dare
come out of the room


Brient’s mother

was screaming,
throwing things.

It scared me.

My mother’s voice was desperate.

Whatever she said
wasn’t sinking in.

I’d always been a scared,
helpless kid

but now,

hearing my own mother cry,
desperately plead for her friend

to come to her senses,

I realised

—over and over through the night—

how alone
how powerless
how useless
how desperate

I was.

It was a relief
to go home

and leave the screaming behind.

It’s just a nightmare.

It won’t happen again.

Brient is gone.

But the dark followed me

like a shadow.




My mother was the one screaming.

My father was the one

They argued every night.

He’d come back late.
She’d snap at me until he did,

then they’d be


In the day,

they refuse

to speak

to each other.

I gathered that

my mother wanted to help her friend
by moving in with her
for a while.

My father didn’t agree.
Said we had our own lives.
Our own problems.

That she had to take care of me.

She said I had him,
that it’s just for a while.

And why was he objecting,
why was he back late again?

Who was the bitch?

Did he think she was dumb?
There was no way
he would actually work overtime.

Plus her friend was sick.

My father said she should have married
her friend instead of him

if she wanted to wait on her
hand and foot

instead of getting her the help she needed.

He said she had only married him,
so she’d be like her friend.

She never wanted me
to be born,

but she had a kid
and was excited by the prospect

of her son having a playmate.

I heard all of this.

They made no effort
to remember my existence,

          my feelings,
          my future,

they just wanted to hurt each other.


I asked the dark ceiling
of my bedroom.

Day after day after day.

In school,
I was suddenly alone.

Brient was gone,

I didn’t know how to be brave without him.

I was pushed around,
made fun of.

There was no one to save me.

If there was a god in this world,
did he know I was in pain?

did he care?

Even my parents
didn’t care if I lived or died,

why would God save me?

If I wanted to live,
I had to do everything


The staircase to the roof
was not locked.

At the edge,
looking down,

a colourfully painted courtyard,

stark white lines

of a basketball court.

a flat,



taunting me.




I was scared.

I took one step back.

But turning back
was scarier.

I couldn’t do anything.

I had nobody.
I had nothing.

It would be better if I disappeared.

I thought about

the nothingness after death.

Was there really no god?
Was death really the end?

I’m scared of that too.

Staring down at the ground,

I thought about how
this was something

that I had no way to ctrl-z.

It would be the first thing
I decided on my own

—and the last.

My palms were sweaty.

Were there other things I could do?



I ran back downstairs

like a coward.

Took a bus
without looking at the number.

I didn’t know where it would take me
and it didn’t matter.

Everywhere was the same.

If I didn’t have a reason to live,
and I was afraid of death,

then I was

a real coward.

I would write a suicide note.
I would die.

I’d write to Brient.

I was nine,
when I saw the real world with my own eyes.

But you know the story.

I never completed the letter.
I got off the bus,
found the nearest MRT,

went home.

It wasn’t that I realised
every life had a purpose.

It wasn’t that I became convinced
of a higher power.

I just decided
that I would do anything.


I’d do whatever I wanted.

I’d find happiness for myself.

As long as I wasn’t dead,
didn’t I have a choice?

I wasn’t searching for anything.


I didn’t care about any of that.

I’d make
the real world
a better place
just for me.




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