Emily Peng
12 October 2022


I write this with no way to reach you, so I cannot put down a name. Though your syllables still stick to my tongue, I cannot taste them. Our memories pane in pure cinematography: never fluid in my mind, yet always running across my vision like a beautiful fever dream. There is a dark blue pool surrounded by a lush green forest. I run to the edge, knowing that you are somewhere underneath the surface, submerged in water saturated with shadows and darkness. In this film, I always dive in, only to feel my legs yanked under by some unknown lake creature. It is ugly and filled with melancholy and malice. I see myself in its gaze and that is the last of what I can see. My visions flicker out here. Sometimes, I like to imagine you kneeling over my lifeless body, which is damp and flaccid like a sad lump of dough. You cry, shake a fist at the horizons, and dive in to challenge the oblivion yourself. Most times, I sit back with the acknowledgement that in our endless pursuits, I am always to die. All of the time, I cannot bring myself to say your name. I must’ve lost it somewhere amidst the shower suds, watching as you scrubbed your skin, seeing not your body but the rain: a symphony of liquid violin strings. Perhaps your name has been erased now, replaced by the sound of water falling and a damp smell. Perhaps, it’s for the better.

I hate the scrutiny with which you looked at me, eyes twitching at every corner, skin against skin full of friction. You broke every mirror, filling its reflection with cracks and fissions; all spikes and no softness. And each night, I knelt at your feet, hungry. Satiated by tossed aside bread crumbs and empty chocolate bar wrappers, I begged you for something enough. Life without you exists in a constant collateral beauty. My mirrors are plastered with polaroids and photos and most days, I can stare through them with a reflection that remains intact. I have never let myself go hungry, satiating myself with a deep and aching fullness. There will be no more nights of falling asleep, swollen eyes, in a corner. Yet, whenever I think of you, the mirror is once more broken. My fullness swells and overcomes me into a deep melancholy. I miss you then. I miss you in the way that I want you to be missed. I want to cast a reason on my life and a purpose in my sadness.

I cannot remember your face, but I find you in knitted blankets and plates of cut fruit. On a cold winter’s night, the warm crease between two blankets is the muted scent of your body. Each time I feel safe, I am with you once more. You have always been my home. A stuffy, sticky, sickly, suffocating home. I miss your scratchy sofa, and your spiked bed, and the dusty little corners where I’d fall asleep. I miss the quiet comforts of falling asleep with you in a deep sadness, sinking into each agony until it overcame me. I reminisce about the taste of tears and sliced fruits, all my sulkiness laid out in the leftover juices on a platter once filled with oranges and apples, and pears. I stare at the orange-ish residue, sticky and swollen, and find myself at the dark blue pond once more. You’d take the dish to the kitchen, then. Wash it up quietly and lock the door so I could cry. No one’s done that for me since; no one’s given me the space to cry.

Which is to say: I write this now with no way to reach you so I cannot put down your name. But the cracks on my forearms and fissions down my waist tell me that you are still here, somewhere. And I write this to reach you…