#5. it’s funny how –

Photo by Leah Flavia from Pexels

People can die just like that. At a flick of a finger. A breeze of some strange influenza. A wrong bullet that ends up where it shouldn’t be. All bullets end up where they shouldn’t be.

Or at the bottom of a box full of clonazepam.

Let me put it in a more succinct, blunt way: So I died. 

Not long after I ask a friend whether he is thinking of dying recently. Far, far too long after The Lover’s death.

Long enough for me to move on. I got a better job at a distant place, where no one knows about the me and him. I rented a flat. Not too large to feel lonely by myself at night, but not too small that it failed to remind me of him. I joined a ballroom dance community, where I would hold a different lady in my arms each night, and things always stay right at that threshold.

Long enough for me to move on, and yet, no one is getting over that fucking threshold. By saying “no one,” I mean me.

I know that if he were here, he would just laugh at my pathetic face. We used to have a conversation about how pathetic and obstinate I am about letting go. I never let anything go.

Say, what if one of these days, I die? Just like that, at the flick of a finger.

What bullshitting things are on your mind again? 

Just a thought. Like any other thoughts I always have.

I don’t mind your other thoughts.

But you mind this thought?

Of course, my darling, I should have put more attention to that thought. Were you already dying then? Could I have saved you, saved me, and saved the poor people who discovered your corpse if I had said that I minded. I do mind it till now.

The Lover always says this sentence in a mockery tone, full of sarcasm and irony: You know it’s funny how – 

…fucking long it takes for you shitty head to get here.

I lift my head up at the weirdly hoarse voice. This is not the warm baritone The Lover had.

The fuck ya looking at? Never seen a fat cat before?

No, but – 

Don’t you fat shame me, bastard. Now get a move on, we have a long journey.

In front of me is the ugliest cat anyone can ever imagine. She (or he? Does it even matter?) is, as she puts it nicely, a fat cat. Her fur is perfect, and that should be enough to call her beautiful. Yet she always seems to have this old lady’s frown on her forehead, and she always looks down at me as if I am her exclusive servant.

What journey? I ask. And you do seem strangely familiar. Have we met before?

Nice try, son. But that pick-up line doesn’t work on cats. It works on him, though.

I follow her glance. Next to her is this white misty thing, which swirls around in a circle.

Can it speak, too? And again, what journey?

It can’t now, but it will be able to speak soon enough. For now, it can only speak in song. And again, a journey means a journey. Are you dumb or what?

Before I can form sharper words and a sharper tongue, the fat cat walks away. The white mist stays where it is. It seems like the mist is on a threshold. It does not know whether it should stay there with me and listen to more of my lame pick-up lines, or it should follow the cat. And right when I hold out my hand to touch it, I hear it sings a familiar song –

You know, it’s funny how –



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Author: Thanh Dinh

A writer at heart. A pessimist on the brain. I am always on the great journey of finding what it means to be living.

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