To Get It Out of Mind // To Remember Forever

She must be really hot, I thought. That dismissed her in my mind as I quickly shifted my eyes and body to face the counter. Now, what drink should I get? My tactic worked for she did not approach me and I was left in peace to choose an awesome drink that was reasonably priced yet imbibed a sense of luxury.

A pricked conscience. I pretended to check the laptop left for grabs at the backache-inducing coffee table. There she was, just standing there, extending her hand towards that Malay chap sitting diagonally from me. He shook his head and hurriedly refocused on his book? notes?

Oh, she didn't close her bag! Her wares were up for grabs like my laptop. I should tell her.

She turned. She saw me looking, so I pointed at her bag.

Now our bodies were parallel, and my mind stopped as thoughts and conditioned response skidded and collided inside. I could not turn away anymore.

Her misshapen red shirt was wet in front. Saliva trailing from her half-opened mouth joined with the large semicircle that clung to her body. I could not bear to look into her unfocused eyes for more than that moment, so I glanced down at her keychains.

Conditioned response kickstarted again. Blinked twice. No way I am going to buy the useless keychains. Hand holding purse moving up. Only $10 notes. Dug hurriedly for a $1 coin. Proffered it to her.

This memory is like a silent film. I only remember that half-opened mouth. She didn't take the coin nor did she say anything. I cannot remember if I said anything myself though my lips moved.

Then it was over. I shook my head and looked up at the menu. She shuffled to the nearest table and I could see their heads shaking in refusal. Simultaneously I caught a whiff of what I imagine the phrase uncared for would smell like when she bumped me gently and I steadied myself with the thought that at least I did not shun her for being dirty.

Yet I knew I never would have reached out to her as I struggled so hard to decide on my drink. I am still silent before her; I don't know what I could do.