by Vernon Daim
I live in a new city now; it is closer to the sea.
To escape the monsoon tantrums
I sometimes return to this old city, reminiscing
Long afternoons spent in cheap hotels.
Those afternoons washed off easily
Before we went back to our white-collar routines.
I remember some afternoons that stretched on forever –
Acres upon acres of questions and suspicion.
Then you showed up, an unfamiliar scent still lingering.
Once, I went back to our favourite room.
Did you know they have raised the rate?
The faded carpet and dented nightstand are now gone,
Changing interior trends erased our brief history.
CCTVs still watch the corridors with nonchalance,
Notices in capital letters repeat themselves in each room –
EMERGENCY EXIT IS ONLY FOR FIRE, not heartbreaks.
It made me smile knowing there are more people now,
They are what we were once, only less discreet.
My result came back the same after several tests.
I have lost some weight besides many other things.
I meet people occasionally – some remind me of you,
But none of whom interest me deeply anymore.
For many times I had been tempted to call
Random numbers promising possibilities
Just like how you used to do. But I stopped,
Remembering I am now older. I live in a different city;
It is closer to the sea. Hope can just drown easily.
Editor’s Note on Meeting by Chance:
Meeting by Chance is not Vernon Daim’s first work to appear in Eastlit. His previous published pieces are:
- Letters & Melaka appeared in Eastlit August 2015.