Wednesday, 14 February 2018

We're finally free.

I can see it. I can hear it. I can feel it.

The winds that susurrate through these streets.

And the birds that fly above these buildings.

The sound of water lapping gently toward the sand. 

The magnificent blood orange torch of a setting sun, beaming across the horizon.

A light so intense you can feel it glow on your skin.

The ability to love and be loved.

The small smile on his face. His human smile.

So fragile and full of emotion, yet a heart so strong and withstanding of the greatest obstacles.

We let our fingertips touch as we stare into his world, and leave mine behind forever.

Sunday, 21 January 2018

To him

I woke up crying from this dream I just had. It was very vivid, and there was one scene where I was standing on a bridge in the city, and the bridge had a transparent criss cross facade on one side, like the ceiling above H&M at Chadstone. It was sunrise. As I was walking down ever so slowly, not even sure why I was on this bridge, I could feel so strongly the sunlight and shadows, as filtered through the facade, dance across my skin. I could feel the soft touch of the morning breeze, and closed my eyes to the first trickle of Chinese tourists that were oohing and aahing in the background, admiring what must be a beautiful cityscape behind me. I stood there facing the facade, and closed my eyes, breathing in very slowly - my body enveloped by this warm glow of light.

A voice had whispered to me 'karma will come, don't do to others what you wouldn't want them to do to you'. And for some reason, in this dream, I had apparently cut off all ties with my friends. I had lashed out, insulted them, hurt them, turned them away. And when I opened my eyes again, and saw them materialise before me, I could see from each of their faces that I was alone, and nobody would ever speak to me again. I called out to them, but they walked away, some of them hurling abuse, giving me what I had given them.

From that scene, I dreamt that I had woken up in bed next to my high school friend (whom I caught up with in real life yesterday). I was sobbing uncontrollably and reaching for a glass of water while she groggily sat up and patted me on the back, saying 'it's alright, it's just a dream, I still love you'. And she went back to bed.

Through my sobs, I got out of bed and walked to the balcony. I heard his voice. He walked onto the balcony from a different entryway, carrying some sort of clipboard, checking off things with two guys who looked like renovators. I could tell he was happy, and when he saw me, his eyes lit up so bright and an impossibly goofy smile unravelled on his face. He greeted me cheerfully, but I continued to sob like a devastated child, telling him about my dream and that everybody hates me.

He laughed in a comforting way, and then said "What! Don't be silly Cindy, of course we love you, you doofus! I love you." And then he hugged me.

Then I really woke up. And I woke up with real tears in my eyes. And I thought about all the little things and big things that he did for me while we were together. Every single time he picked me up, bought me food, told me I was beautiful, and tried to be a better person for me. Every time he smiled at me, called me stupid names with that goofy but unadulterated look of love on his face. Of a joy so pristine and peaceful. And yet I felt like I had thrown it away, or that he felt that way. Of course, I'm still certain that breaking up with him was the right decision, as we were two people at two different places in our lives, with mismatched values and personalities that didn't mesh well long term. Me unable to treat him as well as he treated me was a major reason why I had to do it for both of our sakes.

But I will always, always remember that smile. And no matter what I do in my life, and where I am, I will still love him. I feel bad that I had hurt him so deeply, or caused him to feel so much resentment. But with him, I had some of the happiest and most peaceful moments in my life. And I know there will never be another person like him.

Thursday, 18 January 2018


We watched as the car burned and melted. 

"Do you think maybe, we shouldn't have had that much to drink?" he asked. 

I couldn't take my eyes off the wreckage. 

"Yeah, probably," I mumbled.

The flames seared the bonnet of the totalled car and the smell of metal and gasoline became overwhelming. I remember reading somewhere, that space smelled like burnt metal.

"We should probably get away from it for now," he suggested. I immediately agreed, but then asked him what we should do if the surrounding forest caught fire. I said I'd feel bad if that happened.

"Well, I don't think it will. But even if it did...would it really matter after tonight?"

I didn't answer, but merely shook my head to signify no - it didn't matter if people found out. Nothing would matter anymore. 

Hand in hand, we left what used to be his mother's car combusting on the side of the dirt path and walked toward the forest, deeper and deeper into an abyss. 

He flicked open the heavy duty torch and shone the path before us. 

The foliage wasn't too dense. The trees grew more sparsely in this area, allowing plenty of moonlight to seep through.

Soon enough, we reached the lake. 

It was beautiful. There was a full moon tonight. Its reflection a perfect mirror on the still water. 

We stood there and admired the scene before us for what seemed like an eternity. Breathed it all in.

He wrapped his fingers around my hand even more tightly. I looked at him, then he looked at me. Our eyes interlocking into a fiery trance.

"Let's do it," I exhaled. 


From the back of his trousers, tucked into his belt, he brings out the gun - his father's vintage revolver. The barrel was polished so shiny and black. The light hit it just right so that it seemed to glimmer like a jewel. I didn't know if that was just my mind playing tricks on me. 

With my heart pumping desperately, I watched him raise the barrel to his chin, angling it right. 

He waited a minute of silence between us, his eyes watering up as he returned my nervous stare. 

"I love you," he finally whispered. 

Then he pulled the trigger. And I felt his blood splatter across my face.  

Tears fell uncontrollably. My entire body heaved with ugly sobs and gasps. My knees weak, I knelt down next to his body, lying there so peacefully in the grass. I slowly unclasped the revolver from his hand. Then I brought it to my temple, my index finger caressing the trigger.

I looked up and admired, for the final time, the cluster of stars that lit up this part of the night sky.

I want to go out and not have to bring a purse.
I want to wear baggy jeans, an old oversized sweatshirt, and take a long drag of my cigarette while I lean on a balcony and the wind billows through my hair in the night.
I want to breathe in, and feel like things are moving in slow motion.
I want to feel curious, and enamoured by everyone and everything.
I know my heart will beat fast, but my mind will be slow.
And that nothing really matters but right here and now. 
I will feel the balmy summer breeze on my cheeks and neck. 
Watch an old street lamp flicker like a flame.
Then close my eyes. Tilt my head back slightly.
And feel an overwhelming calmness. 
Like I'm standing in front of an ocean. 
Watching the sun set across an iridescent horizon.
Glimmering tantalisingly. Red, orange, and blue.
So peaceful. 
So free of noise and bullshit. 
And when I open my eyes, I'll see the white moon in the black night sky above me. 
I'll wonder about the universe, and aliens, and other planets.
A vast space unexplored.

I'll rest my cigarette, and take another sip of whiskey. 
80s synthwave playing in the background. 

Friday, 12 January 2018


Two nights ago at the dinner table, I accidentally made my family sit through (at least) ten seconds of Andrew McCarthy pretending to perform cunnilingus on actress Jami Gertz in the 1987 film Less Than Zero. 

I should have known better than to watch a film adapted from a Bret Easton Ellis novel (he also wrote American Psycho) with my parents... I actually didn't even know what was happening at first, because the scene was so dark and the angle so weird. All I heard and saw were some mushy kissing noises, heavy breathing, some flesh, and random bits of cloth.

Then I realised that that was the back of Andrew McCarthy's head gyrating between Gertz's legs, underneath her skirt. Wow. And there we all were, me and my super conservative quinquagenarian Chinese parents eating fried prawns and chewing on pork trotters while watching a young woman scream in pleasure.

I eventually awkward laughed and changed the channel, having only waited an excruciating ten seconds because I thought okay, this is an eighties film, surely there would be nothing so explicit and this would be over in like 0.5 seconds. I was wrong. Ahh the liberalism of western pop culture.

But the whole time I figured - hey, my conservative Chinese parents need to accept that I often watch movies with a bit (and sometimes a lot) of sex in it. Plus, seeing young people have brazen extemporaneous sex would be one way of getting them to realise that sexual desire should not be something to feel ashamed about, and sex before marriage is a common thing, at least in the country where we live. Most importantly, that it doesn't make a woman some sort of dirty, grotesque demimonde. My morally anachronistic mother likes to describe these women as, 'an unwrapped, used, regifted present that no man in their right mind would accept'.


I'm glad I'm not fucked up like she is about this stuff

but honestly, it's surprising how I still know people my age that subscribe to such bullshit moral standards

Thursday, 1 June 2017


And when he smiles, I smile.
When he laughs, I laugh.
I feel his fingers around my waist.
His eyes on my face.
And I know this won't last.
But I relish all of it.
Every gaze.
Every touch.
That endures a second too long.
I love it. Love it. Love it.

Friday, 26 May 2017

Sweet dreams

Oooh. Ooooh.
She moans.
Body writhing.
Back arching.
A beautiful bridge.
Of flesh and ribs.
I kiss her chest. 
Admire her lips.
But as I stare.
Look upon her delicate frame.
My tears unravel.
A history of pain.
It's been so long.
She says.
Reads my mind.
Too long.
I whisper back. 
Fingers caressing.
Her eyelids.
Her nose and cheeks.
Where have you been.
I ask. Voice wavering.
A waterfall of tears.
An ocean of grief.
A small smile she gives.
A bittersweet marker.
Of the life she lives.
Having fun.
She laughs. Nonchalantly.
I watch her calmness.
Collarbone heaving.
Translucent white skin.
Her arms are reaching.
Around my body.
Pulling me towards her.
A grip so tight. I suffocate.
Never let me go.
I think.
I won't.
She says.
I close my eyes. 
Enclose her with my embrace.
Please. Please.
Let me sink into her.
Let me be with her.
Let her stay.
This one time. 

I open my eyes.
Daylight seeping through the blinds.
It hits the spot on the bed.
Where she used to be.
It is empty.
It has been empty for years.
And I can do nothing.

But stare.
In silence.
Because last night.
Was just a dream.

Section 8.

Drunk. So drunk. 
I knew I was. 
Lights glittering.
Table glimmering.
With alcohol.
Smell of cigarettes.
On the balcony.
Vibrations beneath my feet.
Doof. Doof. Doof.
Feels so good.
Feels so light.
Everybody looks better at night.
Laughs. Giggles.
Flirty gazes.
Inappropriate exchanges.
Of touches.
Ever so soft.
Across my cheek. 
Around my neck.
On his lips.
In my hair.
He whispers. 
Close your eyes.
Deep breaths.
Hot and wet.
I can taste it.
With my skin.
Don't let it stop.
Don't let this night end.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Dear Friend

Every few weeks or so, we'll have the same talk.

You'll complain about feeling empty inside. About being depressed. About not understanding why you're feeling this way, and not being able to even describe your pain. We know that something happened last year which was the catalyst for this. But even so, the situation has evolved so far beyond what transpired that surely, what you're experiencing now is a matter concerning something else entirely.

I try to understand you. But more importantly, I try to just be there for you. Emptiness and loneliness are killers. I've known its miasmic grasps, felt its tendrils clutch me and pull me towards a fucked up emotional black hole when nobody, not even I, expected it. So this is why I'm trying so hard to keep you from feeling the same way. It's difficult. I'm probably already too late, which is what makes me sad.

Because even though you can be damn frustrating, quite unscrupulous, and have hurt others gratuitously, you are also to me, irreplaceable. You are incredible. You have directly and indirectly brought me so much joy in my day to day life. And you don't even know.

When you complain about feeling empty, I think about all the accumulated hours we spent laughing together, bonding over our elitist yet puerile sense of dark humour.
When you say you have no-one who understands you, I think about our almost exact same tastes in movies, books, authors, prose, and even moral-philosophical leanings. The time I finished your sentence when you were quoting Oscar Wilde at my favourite bar. And all the other times we've agreed on the same things, sometimes to others' chagrin.
When you joke that you have nothing to live for, I joke that you're not allowed to kill yourself until I return from my work overseas, but truthfully, I worry about how ironic (or unironic) you're being.

And I think about me, and all the other people who still consider themselves your friends, who keep wanting to hang out with you despite your flaws. I think about your family. Your cats. Your sister.

I think about your excellent Chinese skills, your extensive general knowledge about the world, your insatiable hunger for good books, and proactive extracurricular life. Not to brag, but you're basically me, and I'm pretty amazing. Except there's the fact that your soul is being corroded by a deep-seated, inexplicable depression, which makes you lash out or act against your better interests.

I feel kind of helpless. I don't know what to do to make you feel better about yourself and the way life is for you right now. I want to help, but it's hard to help somebody who doesn't seem to want help in the first place. Who isn't willing to commit to their own future and wellbeing. When you isolate yourself, it hurts. And I didn't even knew it would hurt until you did it.

That's when I realised how much I love you as a friend. We don't need to have deep discussions about life or know every little thing about each other's childhoods and families. I just feel happy when I talk to you. I enjoy every minute we spend together, whether in person or online. And I'm so extremely grateful for all these little experiences, not to mention the incredible people you've introduced me to as well.

I guess in writing this, I just want to let you know in the strongest and clearest way possible, what you mean to me. I really care about you, and it would break me to observe you receding from the world, feeling unhappy, and depriving the rest of us of the wonderful person that you are. You're still floating above it all, but please don't get worse.

Anyway. Unless you really want to push me away, I will always be here for you. No matter where I am, what I'm doing, and how many years have passed, I'm still your friend. So try not to nihilistically torture yourself. Give yourself a bit of hope, because I have so much hope for you.

Friday, 28 April 2017


It's the dead of the night and the outskirts of the city have fallen into a trance. Old wooden street lamps with peeling skins of red and blue paint illuminate the hushed narrow laneways. Rusted metal bikes, plastic crates, and bits and pieces of gnarly wet cardboard are stacked high into hills of junk against the walls of people's homes.

In this part of town, the folks lived in old, low rise tenements; sleeping, eating, and shitting in flats so small they could barely be called 'rooms'. Cockroach infestations. Piss stains. And walls so thin you could hear a neighbour's cough from the left, and the screams of a woman being beaten by her abusive husband from two doors right.

Many of these flats were inhabited by depressed housewives looking after young children while the absentee fathers slaved at some chemicals factory fifty miles away. Sometimes, there is also a moribund grandparent deteriorating in front of the television, blind to the colourful images flashing on the screen, their eyes having already succumbed to the milky blue sheen of late stage glaucoma. If men lived here, they were drunks and losers whose bodies or minds no longer enabled them to work. All these people stuffed like sardines into weathered, dented, cold war era cans... rotting away their souls in a frothing stew of hopelessness and boredom, spiced only with what was available - wanton crime and adultery.

These tenements were essentially prisons. They were grey, and boring, and the windows adorned by a facade of steel bars. To keep burglars out? No. There was nothing of value to steal here. The more appropriate answer was to keep little kids in - from falling and splattering their brains on the asphalt, or to stop mothers from jumping to their deaths, fed up with husbands who never returned, and who were themselves dying from the lethal amounts of ammonia they inhaled daily at the nearby factory for unlivable wages. It was a woebegone backwash of a town.

And I needed to be free from it.

It was freezing, and I could see wisps of my breath dance in front of my eyes. It probably wasn't a good idea to take a stroll in this weather, time, or location, especially not as a lone woman.
 I had no phone on me, nor items that could be jerry-rigged as a weapon at any given moment. Assaults on women were notoriously common here, what with the lack of husbands around. Men drunk off baijiu would often roam the streets in the evening, scouring for prey. But it didn't matter to me. Not tonight.

I weaved through several more laneways and trudged past mounds of inexplicable textiles, a syringe, an old broken scooter whose parts have yet to be taken by an entrepreneurial passerby, and finally arrived at my destination.

I inhaled.

I had never been this far and was surprised that the river that stretched before me had not yet transformed into black still ooze strewn with Coca Cola cans and plastic bottles. Surely, despite its somewhat salubrious appearance, the chems from the factory two kilometres ahead would have poisoned it already. I wasn't complaining though. It would at least help make the end more pleasant.

I walked over to the shoddy steel bridge and looked over the water. I knew it was deep. A few children have drowned here over the last decade. With the parents away or occupied, toddlers were always falling out of balconies, running in front of trucks, getting stuck in drains, or wandering into rivers. Always dying gruesomely. Would there be any bodies left in here?

I climbed up onto the railing, and it shuddered beneath me. My hands gripped the pole, but my fingers were trembling. For the fifth time in the last thirty seconds, I inhaled deeply, sucking in the air until I could no more. But this time, I held it. I had played this over and over again in my mind - dreamt about it - desired it. And I knew I was more than ready.


I leaped away from the railing, arms wide open, eyes closed, and suspended in the air for those brief milliseconds - I embraced my newfound freedom.