Ep. 3: I will never lie again

This is a piece of autobiographical fiction. Space and time have been rearranged to suit the convenience of the book, and with the exception of public figures, any resemblance to persons living or dead is coincidental. The opinions expressed are those of the characters and should not be confused with the author’s.

This story is written as an example to anyone who wants to believe that we are more than the patriarchy deems us to be, more than our limitations, and more than our fears.

” pregnant”

The word rings loudly and echoes in my mind. Fuck I shouldn’t have drunk so much gin, I can’t concentrate now.

“Omg” was all I could utter.

We walk outside and I see my parents sitting across Gideon, him on the sofa and them on our 2 stools – the stools we bought so our friends could sit on when they come over for game nights. I’m glad my parents’ backs were facing the photographs above the television. This conversation was already going to hurt them enough.

” So what are you saying son?” My mother asks. Marianne and I have obviously interrupted an ongoing conversation. She takes a seat besides Gideon, while I sit on the floor next to my parents, in between all of them. My husband and his mistress on my left, Daddy and Mummy on my right.

“I’m saying that Jane left me with alot of financial responsibilities when she quit her job. I had to suffer and pay for many things in the house for the last 2 years. It’s been very taxing on me. Also, I never wanted to date anyone else, Jane was the one who suggested we take a break from the marriage and see other people”

I couldn’t look up at my mother. What was this emotion I was feeling? Embarrassment? Shame? Guilt? Anger? Maybe all rolled up in one like a bowl of fried rice?

“I didn’t know…..I didn’t know you were having so many difficulties. I’m sorry. I should have never quit my job. I thought that you were supportive of me. I didn’t know you were suffering. I’m so sorry.” I said, my voice breaking up.

“Why did you suggest to date other people, Jane? You can’t do this in a marriage.” My mother asks me.

“I…..I….I was desperate mum. I didn’t know what else to do. We… we were,” I can’t tell her the truth yet, I’m still too embarrassed to talk about, especially not when Marianne is in the room.

“Son, you know that with family around, everything can be solved, any argument, any fight can be resolved. Are you sure you want to leave Jane for this woman?” My Dad looks at Gideon right in eyes.

For this, I look up from my hands. I’d been digging my nails into my fingertips but for this, I look up at my husband. I want to see it. I want to see him say the words.

“Yes Dad. I’m leaving your daughter for Marianne.” His eyes don’t blink, and his shoulders are relaxed. His composure is so……………eerily calm, so unfamiliar. He doesn’t show a single strand of remorse at all.

I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who felt this because I see only shock on my parents’ faces, my mum’s lips tightly shut while my dad’s mouth gaping slightly ajar. No one can process the amount of shock in this room.

I can’t take my eyes off Gideon, who doesn’t dare look at me. Instead, his firm gaze locked onto my dad’s is broken when we all hear a soft sob, someone crying.

It’s not me crying but Marianne. “I’m so sorry everyone…Gideon, are you sure about this? You have to reconsider. Marriage is sacred, it’s not a game. Are you sure you want me?”

“Yes, I’m very very sure. ” He replied.

“You told me that you would tell her, you told me that you would leave her. But yet I find out that you never told her about me. Are you going to keep lying to me?”

“No, I will never lie to you again, I’m sorry I didn’t tell her sooner, I will never lie to you again.”

I turn to my parents and I said, “I’m sorry daddy and mummy, I’m so sorry. But Gideon and I cannot stay together anymore, Marianne might be pregnant”

I hate that I dropped them another bombshell, but I couldn’t stand listening to their declarations of love to each other in my marital house, sitting on the sofa we bought together, sitting in the house we built together, breathing the same air as my parents who have only ever considered him as their son, never someone who would hurt their daughter this much.

“Just promise me, before you two decide on anything else, sleep on it. Don’t make anymore rash decisions. Okay?” my mother said, as she stood up, a clear sign of ‘Fuck this, i’ve had enough tonight, I’m going home to sleep.’

My parents leave and I realize I’ll be left alone with Gideon and Marianne so I tell him to take her home. He looks at me with pitiful eyes and before he can even say anything, I said, “It’s okay. Just go”

I pour myself another big girl glass of gin, tilt my head backwards and let all of the alcohol wash the pain down my throat. I let the gin swirl around with my pain, and feel it sit in my stomach. There, 18 months later, my pain still sits – like an unwanted guest that came in the middle of the night, robbing away all that I had in my life.

Ep2: You didn’t know? I might be pregnant

This is a piece of autobiographical fiction. Space and time have been rearranged to suit the convenience of the book, and with the exception of public figures, any resemblance to persons living or dead is coincidental. The opinions expressed are those of the characters and should not be confused with the author’s.

This story is written as an example to anyone who wants to believe that we are more than the patriarchy deems us to be, more than our limitations, and more than our fears.

Marianne arrives and Gideon goes down to meet her. I polish off the glass of scotch, by now already diluted with the ice that has melted.

Without thinking, I call my parents. “Mum, Dad, you have to come. Gideon has a mistress and she’s over at our house.” “We’re coming”

I sit on the sofa and my eyes dart up instinctively to the photographs above our television. Our pre-wedding photos. We had flown to Melbourne to take them, and in them we looked beautiful. The photographer definitely did a good job, because even looking at them now, I remember asking myself why I didn’t feel more happy than I thought I would be. I remember wondering, is this it? Is this what real love feels like?

When you have never seen a whale for yourself, it’s hard for anyone else to describe to you.

Now that I have, I know that what Gideon and I had was never love. It was two people full of hollow pits, wanting for someone else to fill them up with something, anything.

Reality interrupts my thoughts when I hear them speaking downstairs. We only live on the third floor and I go to our balcony where I see them smoking downstairs. They’re not touching each other, just sitting side by side, but I see her for the first time. She’s wearing an oversized white shirt and denim shorts, and she has a big tattoo on her thigh. She has long black hair and a rather big bust. She’s not as I imagined her to be. But then again, he never really had a type in terms of appearance.

Later on, I would realize that he did indeed have a type – the empath, the people pleaser, the type with insecurities that he would find out and later use to manipulate them.

He looks up in my direction and I quickly duck away.

Moments later, they enter the door and I greet her with an awkward hug. I was on autopilot. I didn’t know how else to greet my husband’s other woman. “Let’s have a drink shall we?” I suggested. After all, we did have a bar in the house, and boy did I need a drink or three.

He walks towards the bar and begins pouring the both of them scotch, the very same one that I just drank. Turning towards me, he asks, “And what would you like to drink?”

I couldn’t hold my words back. “Seriously? I’ve been with you for 3 years. You met her barely a month ago and you’re asking ME what I want to drink?”

“How would I know? You always change what you want to drink.”

I roll my eyes so hard I could feel them hit the roof of their sockets. “Gin please.” I said. Ain’t no way in hell am I drinking what they’re drinking.


My parents arrive, and they’re clearly confused with the situation.

Suddenly, I regret having called them. Instead of having a 5-way conversation, I take Marianne’s hand and lead her to the master bedroom, leaving Gideon with my parents.

In my master bedroom, we sit on the floor and I can already feel tipsy – must have downed that glass of gin too fast. We talk about things I don’t remember now, but I ask, “Have you two slept together?”

“Oh…..didn’t you know? Didn’t he tell you? I might be pregnant”

Ep. 2: Give the phone to Gideon now

This is a piece of autobiographical fiction. Space and time have been rearranged to suit the convenience of the book, and with the exception of public figures, any resemblance to persons living or dead is coincidental. The opinions expressed are those of the characters and should not be confused with the author’s.

This story is written as an example to anyone who wants to believe that we are more than the patriarchy deems us to be, more than our limitations, and more than our fears.

26th December 2019

Gideon is asleep. I’ve always wondered how he could escape everything so easily. How does his mind let him sleep? Mine doesn’t at least.

I’m sitting on the sofa, nursing a glass of scotch with two ice cubes. Netflix is playing a show, but I’m not paying attention, it’s just noise in the background. I think about what Gideon said, and I check the date on my phone again. It’s the 26th of December, a little less than a week before we fly to the US.

The suspense is killing me. Just days ago, my husband told me he’s in love with another woman. But instead of making the decision and setting me free, he’s letting us hang in the air, as he has done so many times before.

It’s no different than the other times when we meet with problems. He informs me of his problems and waits for me to provide him a solution. It was like this when we were planning our wedding and he said he wanted a Bali wedding.  it was like this when he came home with credit card bills that had not been paid for a year. It is like this now when he’s torn between two women and can’t decide.

I couldn’t wait any longer, so I went into the room, unlocked his phone, and opened up Whatsapp.

There it was. The very first conversation. I open it up and I scroll all the way to the beginning. I start reading and reading and the initial flirting as strangers became evidence of them having slept together, it became painful to see him tell her “I love you”.

I feel my heart pounding and for a second glance at him to see if my heartbeat woke him up. They were deafening in my ears, and my entire face become hot. Yet, Gideon is sleeping soundly with his mouth open.

It’s past midnight but I don’t care. I dial the call button. With every ring, my anxiety intensifies. Finally, she picks up the call and I register noise in the background, she’s not asleep yet, that’s good.

“Hi Marianne, I’m Jane. Gideon’s wife.” Immediately, she says “Let me speak with Gideon.” “I just wanted to talk with you, do you have a minute?” I ask. “Yes, but give the phone to Gideon now.”

I space out at the sound of her voice. She speaks to me in a way an older sister would speak to her younger sister. It’s familiar….in a way that annoys you but makes you feel safe at the same time. I only register this feeling but I don’t have time to process it and so I let it go. I realize I’m back to reality when she repeats, “Hello? Can you pass the phone to Gideon now please?”

I don’t know why I obey, but I wake Gideon up and say “Marianne is asking for you” and hands him the phone. The look on his face changed. For a second, I saw his mask fall away. For just a second, I saw a tinge of who he really is. Of course, I didn’t recognize this back then. But just for a moment, I thought to myself, “Who is this man I’ve married?”

Pilot episode of Gideon & Jane: I’ll always love you

This is a piece of autobiographical fiction. Space and time have been rearranged to suit the convenience of the book, and with the exception of public figures, any resemblance to persons living or dead is coincidental. The opinions expressed are those of the characters and should not be confused with the author’s.

This story is written as an example to anyone who wants to believe that we are more than the patriarchy deems us to be, more than our limitations, and more than our fears.

23rd of December, 2019

I remember it like it was yesterday.

Gideon and I were walking along the same path that we always take in Pasir Ris Park.

We come to a bench and sit down and I feel what he’s not saying. There is a huge suspense of silence between us. And then I ask, “What’s wrong?”

“So…I met someone online. And I think I’m in love with her. I love you a lot a well, but I don’t think we are good for each other.”

“Is that your final decision?”

“I don’t know. I really don’t know. My mind is telling me one thing, and my heart another.”

“You know that no matter what happens, I’ll always be okay. So you don’t have to worry about me”

“I’ll always love you,” Gideon told me. “I know, me too.”

A work of fiction: Sleep Angie, sleep

It’s 7.48am and Angie is walking home from the hospital, where she works as a nurse. Today is the 8th day in a row that she’s been assigned the graveyard shift but she doesn’t mind it. It’s quieter and she likes watching her patients sleep and find rest, while she watches over them to take care of their every need.

As she walks, she holds her bag close to her and although it’s summer, she’s wearing a thick jacket and stockings. Inside, she wears a long sleeved black top underneath her tight-fitting uniform. Never again would she wear anything without sleeves. Never again would she allow her neckline to be exposed. She never knew this part of her body would be the thing that attracted him the very most.

Her palms are sweaty but she keeps her right hand in her sling bag, her fingers clutching tightly around the pocket knife. She can never be too careful. He might appear anytime, anywhere.

Walking along the street from the hospital to her home would take an hour, but she welcomes the exercise. It fact, the only time she’s able to find peace is when she’s walking.

Angie walks everywhere. She never takes the bus, the car, the plane, not even a bicycle.

If she cannot walk to where she’s going, she will not go.

As she’s about to cross the bridge where he first raped her, she mentally prepares for the nausea that always hits hard.

“Ready?” She asks Anni, one of her imaginary friends that Angie’s mind created in order to protect her. To no one else but her, Anni has been walking alongside Angie since the first incident.

They arrive at the start of the bridge, a bridge that Angie has taken countless of times since she was a child. It’s the bridge that separates town from her neighborhood. She crosses it everyday when she goes to work.

“Can we count backwards this time?” Anni says in her cheerful voice.

They count backwards from 318 as they walk across the bridge. Angie can feel her heart pounding. From her chest to her back, a sharp pain increases in intensity as she inches closer to the exact spot where he first defiled her. Where he first decided to ruin her life forever.

’56, 55, 54…….53′

At step 53, Angie looks at Anni, takes a quick breath and slowly lets it go as they pass 52, 51, 50, all the way to 1.

They made it again. And no one will ever know what a feat they’ve accomplished, just by being able to cross a site of trauma without going into complete panic.

No one will ever know what Angie carries with her. She can never tell anyone. She can never name her perpetrator. Because who would believe her?

He’s a respectable business man in town who owns 2 hotels, 3 restaurants and is the supplier for all of the medicine to the hospital she works in. Everyone in Berat (Albania) knows who he is. From the burek stall owner to the mayor, Miro is the local town hero.

She tried to make a police report against him, after he had raped her a second time – this time in the supply closet on the top floor. The police dismissed her and said that she was “the 5th girl who’s claimed to be raped” by him. “It’s just not possible, look at his hot wife, why would he want to even touch someone like you?”

The second time it happened, he had found out about her work schedule and attacked her while she was doing her rounds. With his strong hand clasping her mouth shut, she couldn’t scream. She couldn’t fight him. She was helpless against him – in all ways.


After Angie got home, her mother, Gloria, heard her opening the door softly, the hinges creaking because of the rust.

As Angie brought a cup of water to her mother’s bedside, Gloria grabbed her wrist and sat her down on the bed, next to her. Gloria is blind and her blindness heightens all her other senses. She could feel that something wasn’t right. She could feel her daughter’s agony, even though Angie hasn’t spoken a word.

“What happened, my love?” Gloria asks.

“Nothing mama, I’m just tired.” Angie’s been avoiding Gloria’s questions for a while now, 7 months and 2 days to be exact.

In silence they sit, Gloria holding Angie’s hands and putting them on her lap.

Gloria knew of course, that something had happened. Something had changed in Angie. This was her child. She would always know if something is wrong but she knew better than to push Angie to talk.

“Okay then, turn around sweetie. Let me brush your hair.”

Angie turned around, her back facing her mama, and let her close as she felt the brush comb through her long black hair. With every stroke, Angie feels her eyes getting heavier and heavier. She lets her head tilt up and down naturally as her mother combs through her hair. She knows that this is how her mother cares for her. And she lets her. Because it’s easier than telling her what happened.

Before long, her mother stops and Angie blinks open her eyes again, her face staring back at her in the mirror on the wall. The mirror that her mother used before her blindness set in.

Every time Angie looks at herself in the mirror, she doesn’t recognize the person staring back. Who is she? Where has the light in her eyes gone to? Where is the healthy glow that once used to radiate from her skin?

Before the self-interrogation continued in her mind, Angie stands up from the bed abruptly, and kisses her mother on the cheek.

As she lay on her bed, ready to go to sleep, the flashbacks begin. They go on for what seems like an endless of time but her fatigue takes over and plunges her into her dreams.

There, she’s free. There, she’s finally able to live a life she wants. In her dreams, there are no men. Only happy children singing and dancing. For the next precious 5 hours before she has to wake up for her day job as a waitress, Angie sleeps.

Sleep Angie, sleep.

i’m sorry for your pain

I was talking to a new friend of mine. And he shared with me how his parents denied him after they found out he was gay.

His family was very religious, and they didn’t understand his coming out. They didn’t understand what he was trying to explain to them.

At 17, he made the brave decision to come clean and tell his family that he was never going to get married in a church, that he would never have children, and that he can never live up to their expectations.

At 17, they denied him. On the surface, he attended every family function. But his parents never stopped badgering him to go for counselling, to go for confirmation classes and they never stopped hoping he would “change his wretched ways”.

He’s 32 now. He’s getting married in Germany soon, and they’re planning to have a baby through surrogacy. His family is still in touch with him, but he no longer feels that they’re his family. By denying him, they have chosen to put a distance between them and him.

Who’s wrong, and who’s right?

—————————————————–

I recall another memory of my childhood friend, whose father had 2 families. His first wife knew about the mistress, but accepted it as a matter-of-fact. She even once bought him a shiny red car, so that he would stay. Barely a few years later, he met yet another woman, married her and had a baby – 23 years younger than his second daughter.

Two daughters took their family fate very differently. The eldest one was always closer to her father, and she supported him by attending her step-sister’s birthdays and school events. She got married very early on, moved out and left her younger sister with their mother.

After being abandoned a second time, their mother fell heavily into depression, and never was the same again. She just couldn’t find joy in life anymore.

—————————————————–

My own grandmother, was sold as a baby – for $12 Singaporean dollars. Her adopted parents were lovely people, and also adopted another two children. At 19 however, her father suddenly died of a heart attack, leaving behind his wife, my grandma, and her two step siblings.

A week after her father’s passing, her mother died of an aneurysm, after having cried for 7 days in a row. Her heartbreak killed her.

At 19, my grandmother became a mother, father, and an elder sister. She no longer could think about herself. She had to learn how to survive and thrive as a young female in 1930s-40s of Singapore.

Very quickly, she learnt different trades, and converted each skill into a business. She rented a shophouse in tiong bahru, teaching people how to sew on the 2nd floor, and teaching people how to do floristry on the ground floor. She also learnt that investing in a payphone would be good in the long run, and collected a good side income from that.

My grandma survived and thrived, raising 2 step children, and later on 4 children, mostly all on her own.

But her insecurities never went away. She ended up marrying a man who was not worthy of her.

Till now, even after 60 years, she still suffers verbal abuse from him every day, and she’s still living with her decision of marrying a man who behaves like a child.

————————————————————————-

I share these stories, so we can learn from them

Everyone has suffered through something in their lives before. What we cannot control, is what others do to us, and how tribulations surprise us from time to time. No one can cheat death, heartache, or grief.

But what we can do, is control how we respond to life. We can decide if we want to let them cage us in an unhappy cycle of hurt and hate. Or – we can decide to transform all of that pain and rage into beauty. Beauty in the form of extending compassion to others. In the form of apologizing when we’ve done wrong.

We can choose to become better human beings, by righting our wrongs, and deciding that from this day forward, we set intentions to be better. To listen better, to empathize more, and to put down our egos and place ourselves in the other person’s position more.

We forgive those who deserve forgiving. And we work on loving people around us more.

As much pain as we hold, it gets better when we share it around, and when we know we’re not alone.

A work of fiction – Liza and her bug

“I can’t deal with your need for validation” Damien says to Liza. In her head, she mulls this accusation over, then agrees with it and says “you’re right. I shouldn’t need anyone else to tell me I’m lovable, not even you.”

Making an extra effort to look calm, she ties her laces on her black Nike shoes, feeling his eyes on her back. “hey, I’m going for a run okay?” she doesn’t wait for him to answer, turns the door knob and walks down the steps, letting her feet ground into the wet pavement.

She starts off in a loose jog, shaking her arms out by her sides, taking a few deep breaths in and out, stretching her neck side to side, just as her running app has been guiding her to. A shoulder injury forced her to start running, something that is out of her comfort zone, and so she downloaded a running app to teach herself to run. Damien had an opinion about it. “Why can’t you just run? Why do you need technology to teach you what your body should naturally know to do? You’re like a robot. You have no heart. You can’t feel the way a woman should.”

Remembering to keep her posture straight and her elbows by her side, she speeds up into a sprint up the hill until she came to a junction. Left or right? ” why can’t you be more spontaneous?” “I can be fucking spontaneous. I choose left. Let’s go. There, see? I don’t even know where I’m running to but i need my thoughts to sort out”

Liza can’t remember the last time he kissed her. She’s wondering why they’re even still together. She knows the answer, and still it doesn’t inspire her to do anything about it. She’s afraid to be alone. She hopes that he would one day realize he wants her. But she doesn’t even know if she would want him? What is love? Is love reciprocity? Or is love constantly giving and waiting? Love is such a tricky thing…..

She enters the house again, finds him lying on the day bed, reading. She walks towards him and puts her hand on his shoulder, not expecting anything. Just before she could say anything, he puts his hand on hers, and pulls her into a hug. He nestles his face into her neck, and she can feel her heart melt again, her will to leave him crumble again. All it took, was a sign of semi affection. She feels dejected, desperate, but resigned to her fate.

“I’m gonna shower and then start on dinner, okay?” she says to him, kissing him on his forehead. “okay thanks! ” “baby?” she turns and looks back at him, thinking he was going to join her in the shower or offer to help with cooking. “could you be sure to close the door please? You always forget it. ”

Her eyelid twitched for a second as she paused for a while before smiling and walking out, turning the door knob with much control and carefully closing the door behind her. Ah…. It was always her own fault for assuming things anyway. “Maybe next time, next time is when I will address the problem. All is at peace now. I don’t want to fight anymore.”

That’s the burden she bears, a self deprecating bug buried deep into her psyche. A bug that causes her to bury grievances, suffer silently.