by Jill Chan
Who is he? Is he after you? Your friend had asked you while you looked worried. Questions are not asked of you. She has noticed you are a little agitated recently. Even when she is a good friend, she understands nothing of what you are experiencing. You think, she has no idea what this is all about, how akin to breaking tensions and waiting for nothing this is. For he is cunning, so like darkness only nothing comes after. Nothing tangible and decent. No morning following us into deeds and action. You cannot do a thing to please him, so you continue to ignore him.
You get a bit nervous when he is around—much like a room with so much space, you don't occupy it much less inhabit it. But there is intrigue in his gaze and common smile. While you think this, he appears nowhere but in your mind. For a person you don't know, a stranger with a lot of place, you think much of him.
You imagine he is someone people can't know. A perpetual unknown or unknowable force. Each time you speak, he looks tired but excited. A combination of eagerness and commission. But his gaze is threatening to you. Almost a hole behind the eyes. Perhaps all this emptiness he means to fill with something close to a relationship.
You've asked him a few questions out of curiosity during the first time you noticed him just there in the corner enveloping him, his slim body, thinner for his clothes clinging to him.
“Hi. Are you from around here?,” you said.
“Just moved here.”
He is a man of few words. You couldn't get anything out of him. You picture the hole again now sucking you into him.
All rights reserved.
previously published in A-Minor
This is taken from the beginning of my novella, Teacher, which is from The Art of It: Three Novellas, free to read here:
Three novellas about the art of poetry and writing and how it affects the people who practise it. The book is written in enigmatic, complex, and uncompromising language."The Art of It" is the story of a professor and her student--the various complexities of romance and love, set in a language of rapture. "Two for Every Boldness" is about two poets and how they survive in the strange environment they find themselves in. "Teacher" is about stalking and its unpredictable effects on a victim.