Cheek to

Shuffling papers, pencil atop my ear. Sweat-decolored shirt that reeks of countless nicotine butts dying outside. I should probably head home. Probably now. Through my periphery, him. Six years my junior. He looks like my ex. Six years my junior. He looks like my ex. SIX YEARS my junior. But he fucking looks like my ex!

I don’t mind. I don’t mind at all. I don’t mind that he calls me sir. I don’t mind that he thinks I’m worthy of being called sir — or am I — or is this of my age — or of my rank — or because of unresolved daddy issues? I don’t mind that we shared cigarettes together, exchanging spit. I don’t mind at all — or perhaps I do — fuck! He really looks like my ex.

Is it the smile? The dimples? The way he has a girlfriend (just like how my ex used to have one himself)? Or that sly way he looks at me — as if calculating digits, summing me up and finally dividing me. One, two, three. Isa, dalawa, tatlo. Maglundag-lundag tayo. His black socks slide smoothly from his shoes. His socked feet are staring darkness. I stare at darkness. I stare at dark walls through the roaring tides of noise.


That is my way of signalling contemplation. Blank. A wall. Mauve with horizontal etches and a dark brown base. His smile appears — what a cheshire — or another form of cat, was it? Shaking hands with everyone. My eyes are fixed on the wall but my eyes are on him. Fatal attractions kill when you know you’re dead from the beginning. Shaking hand with pretty girl beside me. *PAUSE*

Twelve inches away from me, he extends his hand and I reach out with mine and I look at his ears, the best way to pretend to look someone in the eye, and I see his smile and our hands touch and he grips mine, a grip of goodbye and as I was ready to release my hand from his when suddenly —









My right hand on my cheek — unshaven, oily. Fatal attractions are deadly when you know they are doomed from the start. Fatal attractions can kill you. On my cheek. My cheek, my cheek. He looks like my ex. Six years my junior. Black socks sliding from his shoes. Oily, sweaty day. Fatal attractions. Countless papers. Dark walls covered in mauve. Six years my junior. His smile, my ex’s smile. Daddy issues. Sly look. Six years. Cigarette bullets. A kiss. A kiss. Fatal attraction. A kiss.

A sigh.