Friday, June 14, 2013

Under Fluorescent Lighting

I shut the door behind me. Scrolled down to a song in my playlist. Stripped my shirt off. Turned the hot water on. Waited for the steam to rise. And then closed my eyes.

The music played, adding one synthesized layer over another. I swayed slowly, then with increasing urgency. The lights dimmed before exploding in color. I broke into sweat, as I pumped my fist in the air.

A knock on the door, followed by a stern warning from hubby. "Quiet down. You'll wake the whole building up."

I opened my eyes, and the lights came back on. I caught a glimpse of myself in the misted mirror, as I pulled back the runaway fist and wound down the epileptic swaying.

Under the fluorescent lighting, I saw the familiar image of my father. Reliving a distant era, as he strutted his stuff. Enduring the taunts of one who, at that time, still took his youth for granted.

Monday, June 10, 2013


Hubby was attending a family gathering, so I decided to wander around the city by myself and play the tourist. I did some shopping, sampled dishes that hubby normally wouldn't order, and people watched.

I quickly got bored without hubby by my side. I felt lonely amongst the crowd in the densely populated Chinese district and wondered - what if I hadn't met him on that fateful day years ago.

Maybe it was the suffocating heat, but the pedestrians and their incomprehensible chatter started to crowd me in. I waited to cross the road for my ride home and ran the same question in my head.

As the pedestrian light turned green, the crowd parted and revealed the answer.

On some other day like today, he'd be waiting across the road smiling.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Pink Tank Top

Hubby always tells me that I have absolutely no sense of color coordination. That's why I was quite excited to show him how I've paired my pink tank top with shorts that had tiny winged creatures of the same color stitched all over the fabric.

He commended me for the effort, then asked if I'd be wearing the same shade of lipgloss and blush to round out the look. I knew he'd be uncomfortable the entire time we'd be out, so I changed into something that would attract less attention.

He remained chatty after we stepped out on the street, a sign that he approved of the plain white henley and navy cargo shorts. We were two ordinary Chinese uncles just shooting the breeze, invisible in the afternoon crowd.

As we passed by a popular food stall, we remembered we have not eaten and bought a peanut butter waffle to tide us over. We stood by a busy intersection, as hubby gingerly peeled off the wrapper and offered me first bite.

Hubby held the shared meal, as we took turns with mouthfuls. He was so busy feeding us both while trying to keep the filling intact that he was oblivious to the number of stares that we drew, pink tank top back in the closet and all.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Pockets And Passes

I was still half asleep, when I trudged past him and his smile. I managed a belated grin only a couple of rows down the aisle. I looked back, but he was already busy helping another passenger.

I took off my coat, settled into my seat, and studied him from afar. He was tall, fit, handsome, and judging from his accent, most likely Taiwanese. He would sometimes look my way and smile.

While I waited for him to take my jacket, I slipped my boarding pass in its pocket after scribbling my number on it. Turned out he was not assigned to my aisle, so I held on to my coat when someone else came to collect it.

I decided to watch the first episode of a hit show's brand new season. On long hauls, I'd go through one episode after another. I was on a short flight and was considering watching the next episode when he approached.

He smiled and asked for my coat. I desperately wanted to hand him everything I was wearing. But I just thanked him, as I discreetly removed the boarding pass from its pocket before giving him the jacket.

He lingered a moment longer, as I glanced at my screen, the cursor hovering over episode two. I pressed cancel, not wanting to start something I could not finish, before he slowly turned and walked away.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Billboards and Fine Print

I'm at that point again, where I question whether this is what I want to do day in day out. It doesn't surprise me anymore, as I keep finding myself back at this place. What worries me is that the intervals are becoming shorter.

Maybe it's the onset of mid-life. Perhaps I've burned out. I could always move, but life changing decisions terrify me. I don't know if it's the fear of regret, of blaming myself for a wrong decision, so I tend to leave things to fate.

As I walked the rest of the way from the station to the office, my suit hugged me snugly, reassuringly. The rich fabric caressed my legs soothingly, its faint rustling whispered quietly that I was headed for the right place.

Confused on whether I should stay on, I prayed for a sign that would help me with a decision. I waited for it to rain fire and brimstone, but all that came was a soft whimper, as leather stepped on polished marble.

Saturday, February 23, 2013


He was seated on the cold marble floor. Naked, as he rocked to and fro on an unseen chair. Swaying to his own metronome, as he hummed a looped song. A faint yet familiar score to a grainy black and white movie that he played over and over in his head. Reflecting on each scene, his fingers twirling at measured intervals in the air. As he flipped each unturned stone to find meaning in the grays.

But answers are elusive. And so he endures the cold. Naked, as he rocks to and fro. Searching for balance, but never finding his center.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


I knew you would only break her heart.

I never liked you. I've always had misgivings about you. But you sweet-talked her into being friends. Showered her with attention, which you knew she'd swoon over.

Soon she couldn't stop thinking about you. Our conversations revolved around nothing else but you. And how quickly you wormed your way into everything that we do.

I knew you would only break her heart. And today you did.

Unwittingly, I did too. As I told her how you just tried to get into mine.

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