There's something the matter with my phone, thought ER one Saturday night, around 01:00: He could get SMSs but couldn’t send any out.
He thinks W very cruel; W said he would do that for E, get the phone checked at the Teleshop on Friday, but didn’t.
"Isn't that what a boy friend is for?" ER said to SK (his unlucky friend) over the phone. SK rolled his eyes; ER didn’t see that.
ER scrolled angrily through all W’s messages in the phone — yes, the scrolling still works.
"u bluff me" 23:59
"nitey nitey nite :)" 00:32
"not sleepy yet at tab" 01:02
It’s frustrating not to be able to ask the satisfying questions, and ER had many of those on his mind. Not that W would give satisfying answers. W wasn’t that simple (nor sober or indeed lucid, not at this hour when he was out in the bar) — and W's answers were often cryptic riddles.
So ER didn’t call W, even though he wanted to.
ER took a sleeping pill instead, and before he fell into a dreamless sleep, slathered his face with a fortune of expensive creams, and pulled the duvet right up to his chin. ER’s last thoughts (before he blacked out) were of W (smiling), with the harbour in the background, the Merlion spouting on the left and Clifford Pier on the right and in between, the dark sea rippling and glancing with the city's dazzling lights.
ER woke up at 9am the next day, Sunday, and started to water the 19 potted bamboos in the heavy terracotta planters. ER surfed the net, and went to look at W's Facebook, to see if there were incriminating pictures of his night out. It’s frustrating that W would be sleeping pass lunch.
And what time did W get home this morning?
And how would you know what time he gets up if you can’t leave an SMS in his phone so W sees it the moment he opens his eyes?
ER made coffee, and changed his mind, and made tea.
He felt warped with evil that W was not at his apartment fixing up the Ikea shelves, bought during the sale, and which were still boxed up in their immaculate plastic bags in the storeroom. W must still be asleep — but where? At whose? Why are there so many birthday parties? These young people are a mystery to ER.
ER started scrolling through his messages again, trying to find a clue in cryptic SMSs, the smileys, the muackz, the hugs. He had studied W's messages so many times he could (almost) remember them by heart.
ER looked downstairs to the empty pool. Only three months ago, right at the beginning of their affair, ER had looked down at the pool one Sunday morning and saw W grinning up at him from the horrible plastic deck chair. But today, there were only mynahs.
No one ever uses the pool, only sometimes one stupid dragonfly would get stuck in there.
W refuses to swim here.
Well, it’s really horrible to be awake, the only one in the world. He tried to SMS again. Failed.
ER looked at his mobile phone very hard and threw it at a great velocity, at the aloe vera that wasn't doing very well at the corner of his balcony.
Photo: Actor Mario Maurer