#9. what we talk about when we talk about you
This forest is really dark. Are all forests like this or just this one?
Again, I would really appreciate it if you could just shut your trap and silently follow us.
Why do you always have an issue with me? I ask the cat. She ignores the question.
I guess if she could do more to let me know how much her contempt and disdain towards me are, she would do it in an instant. But no, she’s just a cat. Thinking of it like that, I think I have some certain advantages over her. Despite being a corpse – a soul of some sort – the desire to win within me is still too strong to protect anything and too weak to go against her brow to brow.
You always want to win. No matter the consequences, your desire to win is always too strong to protect anything.
Well then, why don’t you show me a simpler way to conduct our argument? If my desire to win is too strong to protect you, then your fucking desire to lose leads us both down an abyss.
See? Why don’t you keep silence for a while? I don’t want to hear words from you. The insidious ones. The cruel ones. The indifference ones. I don’t want any of them. Keep silence.
I have a life, my darling. And in that life, taking care of you should never take up more time than taking care of me.
He looks at me, shocked and dumbstruck. I know I say far too much again. I always hate to see my desire to win caving in. But what I hate more is to see that look on his face. The look that tells me exactly what I did wrong. The look that haunts me in those sleepless nights when he starts convulsing on our share bed. The look that kills me inside by chipping away my heart one millimeter at a time as his breath grows fainter when he sleeps and I sit up, filled with worries, by his side.
The look that says, I love you, my darling, I love you but your love is tormenting me.
The cat by his feet lets out a big yawn. She stretches out her front paws, gathers up her fat, round bottom part, and blinks at me in a slow motion. As slow as all things on this Earth can get. It’s as if The Lover’s contempt and disdain has been transmitted to the cat’s eyes through thin air.
What does it say? What does it think of me?
She’s not an it. She’s Becky. Plain old Becky who is always there when you are not.
I turn to look at The Lover. There are so many things I want to say. To argue. To win. Yet this simple melancholy from his eyes makes them all disappeared.
Like thin air.
What are you looking at? Quicken your steps before the spirits wake up.
The spirit? What are you on about? I look at the cat. It seems for a short moment, I gain a flimsy glimpse at a memory I want to forget. And it also seems that during the same short moment, I only have eyes on the White Misty Thingy, Is this thing a spirit, too?
No, the cat glances at me with his bright yellow eyes. There’s a hint of green – of meanness – within that bright yellow, he has too many regrets to pass on as a spirit.
Really? What’s his biggest regret?
He underestimates the living and overestimates the dying.
I stare at the Misty Thingy for a while. A longing from somewhere far away kindles up my spine. Like an old flame that has yet to be extinguished, I try to find the same set of eyes in those short, flimsy moment of my lost memories.
Say, are you The Lover?
Of course, the Misty Thingy could not answer it unless it’s in verses. So I pull the cat’s tale, bearing the burning pain from her teeth, and say to him:
I will sit down here, and I will sit here for however long it takes. You don’t need to be afraid of when I will disappear. And the cat’s here, too. So, darling, tell me your side of the story.
The Misty Thingy stands still, then curls itself around the cat, and gathers me in his arms (supposedly), trying to mimic a physical embrace. But he can’t. It’s funny how love can’t heal anything, and death has forever and always been a man’s friend.
Don’t worry, darling, I say, looking through the transparent mist and finding the familiar pair of eyes that used to love me, I will be here. I will always be here.
And this I never say, my darling. You know the torment of those sleepless nights, with the overdose of pills that were supposed to save (but couldn’t) and the cold layer of blanket without human warmth? I will pay it back to you.
So don’t leave me, my darling, don’t leave me. I still want to see you on the other side of the war.
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