• Victoria Chwa

i think it was/jamais vu

and, i –

i think i

will go over and over

mountains, over

and over

i may go.

twelve nights ago, i think it was –

we ate with friends.

i heard you recall a lunch with Anira one afternoon after school – sushi, you said it was. i heard you talk about the times we’d pick the apples off Auntie’s favourite tree and sit by its shade until she chases us off with the same old broom. i heard you recall its colour – a dusty red wood, i think it was, but darkened with water because she never shelters it from the rain. i heard you describe the taste of the rain, too. fresh and salty, i think it was. i remember you said it tasted better than the apples.

I escaped some nights ago and, I

ran straight for your house. I think it was

quiet and the air was sufficiently damp.

when I arrived, I did not dare to knock. half-past ten, I think it was;

I was sure your lights would still be on. but they weren’t, so I ran

and I ran

then, you spoke of the times in Math you’d throw eraser shavings at me from behind. i think Mrs Lee wasn’t watching, and you copied my answers. i think i still got a higher grade for that test because you mistook ‘6’ for ‘8’. we laughed over teas that night – english breakfast, you said it was – and you flipped the photo album to the first photo we took together.

i think it was an awkward group photo taken on the third evening from the first day we met. i think it was fun. you smiled, and, i

and I arrived at the docks.

I sneaked into a crate and was carried into the ship –

a big one; been in operation for years it seemed.

they found me, though, but they did not throw me out.

since then, i sailed many waters with Cap’n and we once landed at a mysterious island.

the fire gates were blazing and I think we walked

we walked and we found a beautiful waterfall in a cave with charming flowers.

it was the land of the lotus-eaters and

I brought one home.

that night, after everyone left, i sat with you in the serenity of an empty bar. i think you asked for another shot. we had nothing much else to say but i wanted to tell you about my adventures. i knew you did not want to listen. i think you looked at me with the same wry smile as you did on our first day. i think you asked how i was, and i know i did not answer. i think you said i looked well. i think you asked if i was okay.

but i think you did not apologise for leaving me behind all those years before. i think you forgot to say goodbye when you left me by your doorstep and i think you forgot you dropped the necklace i made for you. i think you forgot the name i gave you and i think you forgot mine. i think you forgot i stopped Auntie from hitting you with the broom. i think you forgot our favourite tea was never english breakfast, it was sencha. i think you forgot i took the photo. i think you forgot we were supposed to have lunch together that afternoon.

It was a beautiful island, that one.

Everyone loved it so much, some of them never came back.

I never went back to see Cap’n for the next expedition.

We were supposed to leave twelve nights ago, i think it was.

I told him I’d meet him at our next stop.

The lady at The Home found me, though, and she tried to take me back.

Only this time, you were not there to help me fight her, so I had to run.

I placed the lotus by your side

and I ran.

originally published: 26 Feb 2017

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