5:26am, 21 September 2017
It was in a bar we knew. The one that was an old house with wooden floors and dusty artworks hanging everywhere. The tops of the tables were dark wood and the legs of the chairs were loops of old steel. Cold and hard. I look at the details and dread the feeling on my skin. The lights were dim and air was still. I knew there were other people there, not because I could hear them talk but because I could feel their eyes study me from the shadows. They didn’t move but they blinked and let their cigarettes burn. It was a scene we knew – the scene before Zhang Ziyi and Tony Leung had their duel in the movie we watched on our first day as lovers. This time we star in this dream. Our own duel is about to begin. I walked to the table at the center of the room knowing in my heart that is exactly where I will meet you. But there was no you there. Suddenly, all the surrounding tables, round with four chairs, fixed themselves symmetrically around me. And like the hands of a clock, I moved my eyes from one table to the next looking for you. But there was nobody. I could feel the shadows breathe pity on me. And my chest heaved. I looked again without moving. Suddenly all these things: on one table lay one folded blue shirt, on the next one a black cap, on another a plate of chicken wings, a pack of cigarettes beside a bottle of wine on another, and on the last one a bouquet of dead flowers. Dead blue flowers. My heart sank. All signs of you and yet still no sign of you. I walked to the table with the blue shirt and as I neared, piles and piles of plain colored shirts rose from the floor to my heels. And I began to breathe in the scent of you. And suddenly I could feel the emptiness of the room, the aching longing of my skin. I fell there and wept. And wept and wept and wept. And the dream went on with me there weeping on a pile of empty shirts, in the dim light of an old bar, under the eyes of shadows who couldn’t touch me. I wept. And wept and wept. And I woke up weeping, under the dim light of dawn, holding the only thing I have to remember you, a black shirt now wet with the quiet sobs that called only your name.