A veil of darkness covered us all around. Just an inch from each other, we sat breathing in and out, then in, and out. A silent breathing. The world was quiet, and there were only the two of us. So close, yet not touching, but I didn’t need your touch to feel such intimacy. I could almost hear your thoughts already.
Then, your lighter clicked. For a second, your face glowed a bright and warm mix of peace, serenity and tranquility. The contours of your face not sharp and edged but delicate and yielding. Soft light on your skin, all I saw was love gleaming from your vulnerable heart, even though your gaze was averted. The light went out.
And we sat in veiled darkness again.
I was always there when he smoked. That was when he disclosed his personal experiences. He was exactly the kind of person Ma wouldn’t want as my friend, because he was a smoker, and I could see why. I eventually learnt to smoke. Perhaps it happens when your best friend smokes, but this habit carried the bitter sting of self-reproach. For weeks, I questioned myself. What if Colin saw me? Ma would be so ashamed. How could I do this to Ma, to Colin? I confided in Xen, and he told me I shouldn’t have to condemn myself for wanting to live the way I wanted.
“No point feeling sorry for yourself,” he said.
“What are your thoughts about the environment described by the author?”
My eyes avoided the teacher, half-heartedly scrolling through the pages of the story on my Apple Macbook, pretending to be busy analysing the fiction piece that was distributed earlier.
“There are window grills in the house,” my ears picked up subconsciously as a student replied. Drifting into hungry thought, I couldn’t help but hear a distant sizzling echo coming from my own imagination.
“Yes, window grills are quite common in HDB flats”, said the teacher in response. Immediately, the sizzling made sense, and I uttered under my own breath, “grilled cheese.” It was almost as if I could taste it.
The intimate theatre falls into the shadows; darkness lending attention to the musicians on centre stage. A silence. Then, slowly, gradually, as the conductor swished his baton in a fluid wave to beckon the music, a sweet melody rolled into joy and spiraled into a tune tinged with melancholy.
As the piece flowed, its reverberations ran deep under my skin, as though the atoms of my bones were quivering along, my heart pulsing in unison with the song. A tingling sensation ripples across my skin, arousing every fiber within. It conjures ambiguous tears behind blurry eyes, perhaps this is why magic mystifies.
A tender caress; those fingers that kiss my skin, ever so gently, ever so lightly, ever so playfully. Your fingertips dance across my body, from my shoulder, to my waist, my hips, and back up again, and again, and again. It tickles, makes my skin tingle, and I feel my muscles tense under your touch. Are your fingers speaking to me, tapping secret Morse code messages on my skin, confessing perhaps a love we’re both too afraid to let our ears hear?
Her vision blurred rapidly, and the weight on her lower lid increased as a pool of salt emerged from behind her eyes. A clear, crystal-like tear spilled over the edge of her lower lid, made a crooked way down her crumpled face, and cut through the still air, staining her maroon pants a darker shade of red.
It seemed impossible that the sun could still shine ever so radiantly, that the trees could still sway to the breeze so casually, that the birds could still sing as if to celebrate the birth of today. All this seemed impossible, especially when a broken and lifeless form lay curled in an insignificant corner with thoughts darker then charcoal.
A lighter clicks. It was only then that I realised the day was turning to dusk. In the quickly dimming light, we were all seated in a comfortable circle. Smoke, white against the darkening light, escaped lips casually, ghosts rising through the air. Conversations carried through the evening, and I could not help smiling out of happiness. It was the kind of happiness that radiated from my heart outwards, lifting my self in its freeing bliss. Everything was so foreign, yet vaguely familiar and comfortable. A strange but fine balance of old and new, and there was a sort of longing inside, as if my swelling heart reawakened at this great fervour it almost forgot existed.