by Jern Siong
He stood at the very edge of the precipice, staring down at the waves crashing against the rocky cliff wall. The
salty breeze ran its fingers through his hair, giving him tousled and windswept appearance. Drops of sea spray
trickled down his bare chest, which heaved as he took a deep breath. Above, the cloudless sky filled with the
calls of seagulls, an incessant cawing, a cacophony of chorusing birds. Slowly, he spread his arms wide, and
allowed himself to succumb to the pull of gravity.
An image slowly formed in his mind. An indistinct face, devoid of features, blurred by the dark clouds of his
memories. He strained himself, forcing his brain to once again conjure up the image of the one he loved.
Slowly, a pair of eyes began to form, bright cerulean irises that once shimmered beneath the moonlight of
Paris. A nose, which had once inhaled the fragrance of companionship. And lastly, those lips, the ones that
always lingered for a moment too long whenever they parted. He could still feel the warmth of them upon his
own, and gently his fingers caressed them, as if trying to relieve those instants.
A sudden pang of loss hit him, and he collapsed to his knees, beads of moisture running down his cheeks. He
felt as if his heart had been torn out, ripped from his very flesh, and the raw agony of it spread like liquid fire
through his veins. He raised the well-worn shirt to his face, breathing in the scent of a long lost love. It hurt so
badly. His heart ached with an increasing ferocity, and for the first time since the incident, he wished he was
dead. Anything to stem the waves of pain crashing down upon his weakened shoulders, the weight too heavy
for him to bear.
The pale moonlight streamed through the windows, bathing him in its dull glow. He raised his eyes towards
the heavens and uttered a single word. “Why?”
It was late when he first heard the news. He had prepared a special dinner, to celebrate his beloved’s birthday.
As he laid the tables, arranging the forks and spoons side by side, laying down the plates and finally lowering
the casserole on the table. Beside it stood a vase of flowers, which he had carefully picked from the garden
they both tended with such loving care. A silver candelabra occupied the centre of the mahogany table, and as he slowly placed candles into each holder, the phone rang.
He laid the candles down, wiped his hands on a piece of cloth, and headed for the living room. Humming a
slight tune, he tapped his feet in time with the song. Endless Love. A true classic they had listened to when
they first fell in love. The tender vocals awash as they shared their first kiss, upon a moonlit beach, basking in
the comfort of finally realizing they were meant for each other.
Still tapping his feet, his right hand reached out and grabbed the receiver, holding it up to his ear. The first
couple of words stunned him, and his face turned pale as a statue. Slowly, he knelt to the ground, the receiver
slipping from between his weakened fingers. As the first tear rolled down his cheek, all he could think of was
that moment, when they realized what their feelings really meant.
It was a group of neighborhood kids, he was told. They were drunk, and out looking for trouble. Few of the
words registered in his mind, as only a single thought occupied his mind; the fact that his one and only love
was no longer there. He was alone, alone in a crowded world, which refused to accept him for who he truly is,
and for some, even despised him.
Meeting his beloved was the one time he felt he belonged somewhere, that he wasn’t a lost soul in the middle of a sea of people. It was then that he had finally found meaning in his life, instead of just being a joke, one who was constantly bullied and abused just for being born.
For how long he had resisted the taunts and accusations raining down upon him like hailstones from those
around him, and when he met the one he loved, he had thought that it was all worth it. The feeling of never
blending in, of being an outcast; it was all finally worth it, because he had found true happiness. With it, he
realized that nothing could hurt him, for there was an invisible shield of love that protected him from the
malevolence in his life.
But now, it was all gone, lost forever because of a group of teenagers who had been raised to think that
people like him were monsters. That they didn’t deserve to live on this Earth with the rest of them. That they
are scum, and should be treated so. He didn’t really blame them; he blamed society at large, for distorting the truth in the minds of the young, teaching them to hate instead of love, to deny instead of to accept. But most of all, he blamed himself, for thinking that it would all work out, for thinking that people could change and
accept them for who they were. It was all his fault. He had tried to defy gravity, and in the process, had come
crashing to the ground.
As he fell through the sky, a single thought filled his mind.
Then he crashed through the waves, and he saw the darkness close above him, swallowing him into its gaping maw.
The first thing he realized was that his whole body ached. There was a warm taste in his mouth, and he
realized that it was blood. His blood.
Am I dead?
He was lying on a rough surface, which rubbed against his raw skin as he struggled to get up. Slowly, painfully,
he opened his eyes.
When he finally managed to drag himself into a sitting position, he realized that he had been washed ashore,
dumped on the beach like the bits of driftwood around him.
The sun was setting, filling the waters with a scarlet brilliance, too beautiful to comprehend. For a moment his raging heart was calmed, like the waves lapping at his feet. With all the darkness surrounding it, there was still beauty in the world.
Then it hit him. He was alive. He had defied gravity, and lived. Maybe he did belong, after all.