2005, Kanaalstraat, Amsterdam

On our first night together, you tried to tell me of your oddities. I couldn’t understand them. So we had a walk at the park and you called me by some other woman’s name. On our second night, we still couldn’t consumate our union. But you were alright, you were very very happy, you got the Asian prize. On our third night, you were kind enough to let my friend stay for a while, maybe we needed the distraction. You spent many hours arguing with him while I wondered where I was. On our fourth night, I had more friends coming and yes, I wanted them to get to know you. In your happiness of being with me, you were brash and insulted everyone. Yet we all had a little picnic in the afternoon at the park. And when my friends said goodbye, that was the beginning of my isolation. On our fifth night, I felt our union was really a fine intellectual partnership, not an intimate love, so I decided to continue some work. You became excited and threw criticisms at everything I was trying to do. It was impossible, just impossible to do my work that way. On our sixth night, it was also the sixth day of tears. I was living in a dark hovel, eating a bit, feeling cold, with nothing left to do but help you help yourself. Then on our seventh night, I finally felt my body slipping away. The pains started and never left as I lay on the cold floor while you tried to fuck me. I lay there with my eyes looking through the windows, to glimpse the light. The twelve weeks after that, I continued to believe that there must be something good between us because in everything you did you always meant well. I also remember the best of those weeks, like when we took out the laundry, ate biryani, looked outside the museums, strolled the De Wallen, and when that Indian fellow at the shop whispered aloud to you, twice, ‘you have a beautiful wife!’ And if it were not for your good friend, who wondered why I was very quiet, I never would’ve been on a canal boat. Nearly ten years later, I guess I had gotten used to being lonely and unloved, all inadvertently, in a reasonably good life I helped to build with you, for you and your life’s struggles. You, now a very very happy man. Until one day, for some reason, I started writing poetry, and wondered where I have been.

Fatima Lasay, Quezon City
Sunday, April 20, 2014

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