IT’S EMPTY TODAY.
The stage is empty, the lights are all on and streaming white fluorescent, and the floor is polished.
He’s small and skinny when I first meet him. There’s not an ounce of heart in his eyes and no sign of a flush colouring the pale, unblemished skin that coats his bones, but I’m no judger of appearances. How can I be, with hair the colour of mint ice-cream so pleasurable on a hot day it’d be a sin, a sun-baked tan body and three piercings, all in questionable places?
But he’s small and skinny when I first meet him, and when I last see him, lying in a coffin with hands clasped to the front, prosthetic leg covered neatly by a charcoal-gray pant leg, he’s thick—thickened with muscle. I can tell that his eyes are more alive than they ever were, holding more heart than they ever had since the time I first met him. ‘Cause he fell with his eyes open and that’s the way he was buried.
Taking a first look at him back when he was small and skinny, you’d suspect he was just one of those kids who lived down the block and who had no girlfriend and no siblings to speak of, just a plain young boy living in scruffy sneakers and jeans edged with scruff and too-long hair that acted as dandruff curtains sweeping his eyes. Not a good look for a boy, but he wasn’t any kind of boy.
He wasn’t just that kind of guy. He was actually a huge surprise.
He was a surprise when he was born; ‘first slid out of his mother’s womb. He wasn’t a planned child and hence, even after his birth, remained an unplanned burden of his biological mother’s. She gave him up. That was in the plan as soon as she saw his face and his little body—instead of thinking about the times they’d share together, she thought about the expenses saved if they were lived apart, as soon as the umbilical cord was spliced and his connection to his mother was gone forever.
He was small and skinny the second time I met him. We met in a shed, at a party—our mutual friend Davis thought that holding parties in the shed was all things Great and Rad and Cool and Hip. I went because I’d wanted to treat myself. A week of tests was over, and I wanted to get drunk. I wanted illegal drink to burn down my throat and the feel of others’ lips on me burn through my skin.
I spotted him huddled in the quietest corner of the shed. Shed-parties were squeezy and too warm, and he was wearing a sweater. It reached til his jean-clad thighs and I threw away my cup of drink before sauntering over, chuckling, bubbly laughter flowing out of all my holes—
“Why’re you wearing this? Are you dumb?”
He just stared at me with those owlish, enlarged eyes, and didn’t speak. My eyes trailed from his face to his lips and they quirked in a smirk, as if proud that he hadn’t answered my question.
Idiot. His lips were pink and his flesh was so pale it seemed tinged pink, too.
I turned away from the small, skinny boy. I was looking for someone else, someone with hungrier lips and hungrier eyes and a hungrier heart. The drink wasn’t enough to fully consume me; I needed a stronger intoxication. That scared me.
It was then when he spoke. “Don’t you think it looks good on me?”
Well, I only saw him for a total of three times, and in fact, I didn’t know his name until the third time I saw him—he was in his coffin and no longer a small, skinny boy. It had been fifteen years since he asked me that question, and I could finally answer.
I glared down at this boy, once small, skinny, now lying pressed in a suit with hands clasped over and flower petals paler than his complexion. I hadn’t known his name but apparently he’d known mine, because I got invited to his funeral.
“Yes, you idiot. I do think that you look nice in that big sweater of yours.”
I fully intended to leave the venue, but I took one last look at him and muttered his name in the darkest tone I could muster. I turned to leave and knowing that despite attending the funeral, his name would be lost in my mind, somewhere far, far away—and he sat up.
He sat up. In his bloody coffin. And without a word, stepped out of it, my mouth still agape, and smirked. “I look good in my skin, don’t I?” He peeled it off and there stood the smallest, skinniest boy I’d ever seen.
Another day, another battle.
She sits on the couch, one leg spread out, the other bent at an angle comfortable enough—balanced atop her knee is a bowl, and in the bowl lie six cubes of papaya, orange and vibrant. The fruit must not fall off! She rotates her ankle slightly, adjusting position so the bowl is resting firmly on her knee.
The sight of papaya, its shimmering sheen making it look like an exorbitant jewel in the light of the sun’s rays, elicits a strange heat from her belly. It starts from the pit of her abdomen and blooms up; the heat consumes her front and before long, arches over the straps of her bra and criss-crosses, like a decorative lattice, into the curve of her spine.
I want to eat it. There is music playing on the T.V in front of her. The television is on, like it was when she first sprawled on the couch a month ago, ready to eat her weight in fruit and drink her sorrows away with some form of tasteful drink. Never water, never green tea, never anything that would be deemed ‘nutritious’ on a health broadcast.
I eat healthily, she thinks, shoving slice after slice of pineapple into her mouth. I eat healthily, she sighs, as watermelon juice, red and sometimes sticky, trails down her arms, down her chin, straight into the hollow of her neck, and across her thighs (eating fruit without pants was a great decision, one of the greatest decisions she’d ever made) in the reddest organic glory. I eat healthily, she murmurs softly to herself, eyes downcast and away from the screen of her T.V—her gaze is fixated on the paleness of her banana, freshly-peeled and curving gently into a smile, one that could rival that of the Nepalese.
It is a rainy afternoon. She decides that it is an afternoon for bananas, and separates one of the fruit from its yellow bunch. As the waxy skin comes apart in her hands, she thinks of how it had felt when she was with a group of people, thick as thieves…tight as a bunch of bananas.
How it had felt when someone tore her away from the familiar greenishyellowgreenishyellowgreenyellow colour that she had grown up with. Her nail pierces through the skin of the banana/
How it had felt when someone unravelled her with their own hands. Her finger slides from the top of the banana, now pale and looking extremely…vulnerable (she thinks that vulnerable sits wrong, yet right, when being used to describe a fruit without its skin) in her palms. Her finger traces the tip and then dips into the curve, and smoothens back up against the moist texture of the banana.
How it had felt when she lay there, smooth and unblemished, slipping out of her mother’s womb gently, a smile on her face as nurses wiped away gel and other messy fluids.
You had been born smiling, her mother says. Your dimples showed before your eyes could crinkle, full of tears.
A thought comes to her mind. No, the smiles of Nepalese people are brighter than that of bananas. She takes a fork and slices the banana. A coin-sized shape of the fruit lays nestled in her palm, the paleness of the banana slice contrasting her dark skin.
She pops it into her mouth, and repeats the same process for the rest of the sliced fruit. Hold slice, look at slice, admire the contrast…eat slice.
When the banana is fully eaten, she cleans up her couch-space. The banana peel is deposited into the trash bin, and her table is cleaned of seeds from various fruits. She washes the bowls stacked up in her sink; the translucent juices of fruits: red yellow green orange red yellow green brown remind her of how healthy she’d been eating this past month.
The T.V is still on when she arrives back to where she started—the couch—and she turns it off. The silence is unsettling, almost disapproving, like the static air around her is settling into a frown.
So, she smiles.
We’re kind of like parallel lines; never meant to intersect, and never will. But we’re a different pair of parallel lines; terrible, terrible lines.
We started off as two. Yin and Yang, we fit together, melding together, fusing together as if we were two miscible liquids seeking to form a homogeneous mixture that some kid would later try to separate (using fractional distillation). We dissolved into each other. I flowed into the nook behind your ear, you swam into the crook of my elbow. We swilled like aged wine in the crevices of each other’s hearts.
We are now…Parallel.
We can’t meet, and we won’t. It is written in the stars and etched into constellations of the sky, far before telescopes were invented and astronomy became a ‘legit’ subject in the shit-hole of a school that we both attended; where sparks first flew between the two poker sticks: us. Charred and insides black and ruined, like us–both donning poker faces to everyone around us, but beaming emotional egos in front of each other.
There are five senses.
Sight, touch, taste, hear, smell. The sixth is often referred to as the ability to hold perceptions, visions of the un-Earthen, un-seen World that exists–spiritual experience.
On May 6th, 2016, I discover another sense. It had been a sort of sense that grated under your fingernails and nestled within cavities of your teeth for a long time; I just couldn’t see it, and neither could you. We could both feel it–hence why we flew apart like magnets of the same pole, when we were once undivided.
Like parallel lines, we will never meet. The seventh sense proclaims that we will never see our start, where we sprung from, two fresh tadpole lovers, two rainbow fish in the sea, two happy human beings–the seventh sense ensures that we never return to where we want to go; it repels my own interests and mis-aligns with my hopes and wishes; it plucks copper strings on the guitar of dislike I hold in my chest, it casts nets in front of me to breathe through. The seventh sense is the disability to return.
the saddest part is that there is no hospital for people like me. Or you. If you even remember the times we had together; every seventh hour.
The 7th Sense is a song that was released around this time last month(give or take a few days), as the performance video for a freshly-debuted group under SM Entertainment, NCT U. (You can read more about the NCT concept here)
I was not able to catch the drift of the song when I heard it the first three times, and because the saying goes three’s the charm I decided that this was one of the songs that I would not be adding to my playlists. After a few weeks, I heard it again and suddenly felt inspired to write…
“NCT W” — NCT WRITE, A NEW CONCEPT BY FSSTHERO
(Just joking, guys). Hope you enjoyed reading this piece inspired by both my Math homework and The 7th sense by NCT U!
thank you to those who followed and liked my previous post. it really means a lot. (perhaps: the 8th sense–the feeling of escasty that one gets when one’s creative-expressionism is appreciated)
She sits down. Her room is like always: desk-table with brown legs and brown table-top and translucent varnishing on the surfaces; grey fan whirring behind her like a napping monster satisfied with merely making strands of hair on her scalp move,no violent activity involved; trophies in the white bookshelf next to her, the first row, her country’s flag sitting on the second shelf and actual books on Stocks and Markets and Hedge Funds crammed into the third shelf; water bottle made of plastic that sunshine likes to batter occasionally when the window-curtains are strewn open; herself:
The epitome of drowsing, drunken confusion, a whisked mess of carbohydrates, proteins and languidly-flowing blood, apple-cheeks and blackened hair, pudginess around hip-bones and the heart of a lion within white-boned rib-cage.
She has plans. Big plans, although, in all honesty, she knows that she will not stick to them exactly–she’ll definitely start on Phase 1 and halfway through Phase 2 within two weeks but begin to un-stick from the glamorous idea of Having A Plan from Phase 2.5 onwards.
It’s always like that. She wants to change, but Life won’t give her a chance.
The introduction of the complex and unpredictable character leaves her breathless with anxiety and anticipation; fear and frenzy; salt and sugary-sweet slivers of hope. Life winds through her DNA and embeds herself in her chromosomes and diffuses in and out of lacteals and microvilli in her body. Life is also a ribbon that holds her soul together, but restricts its movement and catches her in a heavy-handed grasp around the waist, sometimes around the neck–
These are the times where she can’t breathe.
Sigh. Life has a way of ruining her plans, but that’s okay. It catches her off-guard and strikes whenever she has orange juice; she swills it around in a stemmed glass, pretending that it’s wine–whatever, both orange juice and the slightly alcoholic substance lower her inhibitions, lower the gates of herself long enough to create a beautiful disaster.
It’s okay. She’s Organized Chaos, after all. She thrives on making plans that only exist to be demolished by others’ hands.
(sometimes, her own)