Tag Archives: short story

Been A While

She arrived at the gate as she always did; pressing the doorbell, she waited.

The sky was a deep blue and the stars were just beginning to illuminate the vast stretch. It had just rained. She always loved the smell of after rain.

With a creak, the gates opened and as she stepped in, she caught sight of him.

He was standing at the doorway, waiting for her, as he always did.

“Hey, it’s been a while,” she smiled at him as she approached him and he grinned. He always looked better when he smiled.

As she walked through the doorway, he stepped a little away, then closed the door behind her before following close by. Sitting down, she lowered her haversack onto the chair beside her.

“Do you want anything to drink?”

He was standing at the entrance to the kitchen, an enquiring look on his face.

“Vodka on the rocks?”

She laughed at his look of puzzlement before he realised almost immediately afterwards.

“Sorry, don’t have that.”

Those familiar laughing eyes.

“I’m good; you just get what you want.”

She smiled as he disappeared into the kitchen. He soon reappeared with a glass of his favourite drink – not whisky, for the evening was still young.

Settling down beside her, he tipped some of the contents of his glass into his mouth, then set the glass back on the table, examining it thoughtfully for a while.

“Shall we start?”

She was a little surprised at his forthrightness but acceded. After all, it was what they were there for.

“Sure… maybe a little warm-up first, before we go any further.”

He was staring at her with those eyes, from a face that would have appeared cold and aloof, if he did not have that slight smile at the corners of his mouth.

As they eased in, he fumbled a little with its nuances. He’s unsure about it, she remembered thinking. Gently, she guided him deftly while keeping the ambience relaxed. He was in a good mood and she made him laugh more than usual, as he did her. Taking turns, they delved deeper and deeper, one after another, sometimes together, pleasurable moments in which she discovered more what he was capable of each time. She loved the depths he could reach, that none of the others has ever match yet. No one, but him.

In one of their reprieves, she found him in deep thought. Grinning to herself, she quietly took out her phone and pointed its camera at him as he stared out, lost in his thoughts. Suddenly, he realised what she was doing. As his mouth upturned into a smile, he reached out to snatch her phone away, only to have her laughing again.

When everything was said and done, he waited till she was ready to leave and then walked her to the door. And in all the moments they shared that evening, it was that serendipitous laugh captured in all his boyish charm that remained etched in her mind.

He was on point for the discursive essay they discussed that night.

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If Ever

Promise me
That if ever I am lost
Stay with me until
I am found.

(Inspired by the short film En ik van jou on Alzheimer’s, and of course, love.)

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Oudegracht 109

“Where is the place he took that picture at?”

She was in the middle of a bustling sidewalk with two of his best friends. It was a cool summer evening and they were along the canal at one of the busiest parts of the city.

“Well… it’s kinda difficult to know exactly where, they all look the same. And I don’t have that picture with me right now,” one of them pondered.

“I don’t have it either,” she sighed.

It had been an entirely busy time before she made the trip to where he lived, and she wanted to be at that very place he had taken the photograph and sent her two years ago. One of the few photographs he had sent her, before he left them. It was too sudden, that accident was too much of a tragedy, and she had too few places she could treasure the memory of him.

She was exasperated that she had forgotten to save that photograph in her phone before the flight, but then again, time was always a troublemaker. And now, she could not do anything about it. All she could do was stand there, feeling defeated.

Trying to make light of the situation, the other friend started telling a joke about the names of the shops and she soon forgot that sense of defeat.


A year later, she was reminded of that photograph again. Taking a closer scrutiny this time, she discovered that she could vaguely make out the name of the restaurant in the picture. She quickly searched that name and located its details on a map. Then, using the street view function, she finally located the spot that provided the view closest to his perspective.

“Pearle Opticians… Unit 109!” she exclaimed. But what she noticed next made her gasp.

Right across from 109 was the very place she had conceded defeat a year ago.


He gazed out at the city he was to live in, with its lively canal ambience, then he took out his phone. Raising it to his eye, he made a picture. Then, he lowered his phone and scrutinised the photograph he had made. He smiled at it, then looked back up across the canal, still that smile on his face.

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Why Don’t We Stay

I know it’s late
I know you’re weary
The stars were above us
As you lay with me

Your arm against mine
The grass pricked our skin
We’re longing for shelter
From all that we see

That’s Orion’s Belt
You pointed faraway
You told me its history
We’ll never forget that day

We’ve got tonight
Who needs tomorrow
We’ve got tonight babe
Why don’t we stay.

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Not Counting

“There’s a cafe here but I don’t see a name.”

“Oh… I’ll come down now.”

She stood at the lift lobby and waited as people went about their activities around her. It’s been so long since they met – she wondered if it would still feel the same as back when.

After what felt longer than a mere few minutes, one of the lift doors slid open and a familiar figure stepped out. And as she recognised him, he too caught sight of her and broke into a smile.

“It’s so good to see you again! Been more than ten years!” She felt his comforting warmth in their hug, and then they separated from each other.

“Nah.. it’s only been five.”

A hint of amusement passed over his face before he shrugged.

“Well… I’m not counting.”

“Neither am I.”

And as they walked into the cafe, she knew nothing much really has changed.

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Glass

I hadn’t written in a while so I asked for a muse and got ‘glass’. Glass it is.

He lifted the glass to his lips and took a drink. Soft ambience music and quiet voices of other customers around him threatened to mingle with his thoughts.

Alone in a foreign city, he was a traveller between worlds, a dreamer lost in his conquests.

“Your glass looks lonely.”

He looked up as a female voice said quietly. It was matter-of-fact yet bore a hint of conspiracy, almost a whisper in his ear.

He hadn’t noticed her before, but there she was, gazing at him with a smile, sitting a few stools away, her drink held between her fingers with casual poise.

“Well then, it would be a pleasure if your glass could keep it company.”

“Don’t mind if it does.”

She walked over, placing her glass carefully beside his.

“It seems to be almost empty.”

“Yeah, it’s been here for a while. Hadn’t done much except to give me a taste of the city thus far.”

“And do you like what you have tasted?”

She looked at him as she tilted the contents in her glass between the parting of her lips.

“Mostly.”

“But there is more to the city than what your glass has to offer.”

“I’m sure there is.”

“Maybe I can show you… around.”

“That would be most delightful. And I’m sure my glass no longer needs my company now that it has yours for that.”

She laughed a little, a wink of amusement in her eyes, then both of them stepped out of the bar into the night, while his glass and hers remained, out of sight.

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The Shower

He lay on his side in the bed, upper torso almost naked, wrapped in the sheets, scrolling on his phone. Straightening herself from unpacking, she walked over to where he was.

“I’ll go take a shower first.”

In response, he reached out and pulled her into bed and his arms. She gasped as she landed in his encircling warmth.

“I haven’t showered in a day… that’s unacceptable… I need to take a shower.”

“Okay… go shower.”

He loosened his embrace and for a moment she was uncaged. She remained where she was, gazing into his face, and his lips, corners curled in a slight smile.

Then, she leaned over and kissed him on his mouth, feeling the soft bristles above his upper lip as his tongue met hers and his lower lip, full against hers.

His arms came around her again as he smiled at her surprised gasp.

“You’ve had your chance.”

And then they were inseparable.

His arms were around her, maybe hers around him then… were his lips on hers or did they rove down her neck? She might have trailed her moist tongue down his chest, breathing warmth as she went…

Like each time in the past, she could not remember.

All she remembered that afternoon was the window was all along open, behind the facade of white curtains. And she blushed when he teased her about how everyone would have heard.

She could not remember.
But she would not forget.

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On Math, Variables And Constants

He sidled up from behind and peered over my shoulder as I busily scribbled at my desk.

“You are doing Math?”

“You gave me a fright. Yes, I am. Why?”

His grin quickly changed into a look of seriousness when I turned around with a scrutiny of evaluation. He let out a cough at my gaze of suspicion before continuing.

“Well. ‘Y’ is indeed the question.”

“Ehm.. why?”

It was starting to feel like we were pulling neverending puns on each other.

“You know how there are variables in Math equations, represented by letters like ‘y’ and ‘x’ and et cetera?”

“Uh… yeah…?”

“And how usually the value of ‘y’ changes with the value of ‘x’ or vice versa?”

“Umm, yea?”

Was it going to be a revision of calculus? He let out a chortle, as if reading my thoughts at that moment.

“Now, you would say these variables are affected by each other, won’t you? In whatever way they are related.“

“Yes, that’s correct.”

“Now, consider the constant in a relation, sometimes abbreviated endearingly as ‘c’. It is an important part of it, but yet it remains unchanged, regardless what happens to either or both variables.”

“Yes, that’s right.”

I was getting more and more perplexed. He must have noticed, and thus let out a reassuring grin before continuing.

“So, assuming both the variable and the constant in a relationship could take on positive values only. The variable could still result in a negative result, but the constant always positively amplifies the outcome. That right?”

He continued, looking at me, still smiling.

“My Math question for you today is: assuming you are a positive value. Would you choose to be a variable, subjected to the fluctuations of other variables, or would you choose to be an unwavering constant?”

He gave me a bright grin, then sauntered away, whistling.

I think I know my answer.

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Serendipity for Christmas

The train doors slid open with a mechanical sweep and she stepped in amongst the other passengers.

Always, she is plugged into her earphones and always, she prefers to lean against the glass panel at the doorway.

The doors remained gaping as the last human trickles filtered in, as he did, through the very doorway she had entered.

Like her, he chose to lean against the glass panel at the doorway, right across from her.

Instinctively, she looked up in the same instance that he did.

Their eyes met.
And they held each other for a few moments.

And in those few moments, her mind was darting through her memories to recognise his face, as he too seemed to be doing.

A sense of wonderment surged through and made her hold up a hand to her mouth in delighted astonishment; across from her, amazement shone from his eyes as a smile crept onto his face, and he came towards her.

To quote him, a serendipitous encounter as such is a magnificent Christmas gift.

And it is. 🙂

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Chivalry Never Grows Old

A rainy evening it was as I made my way towards the exit of the establishment with my lady friend. Within stranger’s proximity, he too was walking in the same direction with his companions.

Our separate quiet chatters seemed to entwine in the cool evening air as we convened towards the door, and with passer-by’s intuition we slowed down to allow his group to pass.

While they did, he stopped a distance behind them, doing the same thing we did.

“Thank you.”

I glanced in his direction and gave him a smile.

He gave a nod as a grin upturned his wrinkled mouth and his eyes caught mine and twinkled in his aged face.

”You’re welcome, madam.”

Chivalry never grows old.

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