by Lee-Ann Khoh

I'm waiting for your voice. My trembling hand is so damp the phone could slip from my fragile grasp at any moment. Each ring burns in my ear and makes the washing machine in my stomach tumble faster and faster. After three rings, or it could be four, or forty, I hear you.


My heart jumps inside and my limbs go numb and useless. I have to sit.

We know the ritual well. I call you every week.

“Hey. It's me.”

“Heyyyy, how's it goin'?”

We go through the motions.

“So… what's up?” you finally ask.

“Oh, not much. Just rang to say hi.” It's a lie. It's always a lie. Why can't you tell?

“Cool. Anything on your mind?”

Do you remember that party last year? I do. I think of it every night. I'd been so happy then but now it's the reason I have to cry myself to sleep sometimes.

It was late. We were upstairs at your place. Everyone else had gone home. We were both a little tipsy, giggling, dancing to something old and cheesy. You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth, that's it. You reached towards me, tingling your fingers against the side of my neck and face. You caressed my cheek like a feather. I looked up at you, encircling you with my hands, pulling you closer. You leaned in and VB met strawberry lip gloss. It was nothing special or overly romantic, but I'll never forget it. For the first time I knew, if only for a moment, that you wanted me too.

Now whenever we're alone there's a wretched ache behind my breast and underneath my belt. You crack a few lame jokes and tell me I'm hot. We share a few laughs. You talk about that beautiful girl, who's “out of this world”, who wanted you and no one else, and wonder why a nice pretty thing like me is single. All the while I just want to rip your trousers down, wrestle you to the ground and choke you with my kisses. I had one taste of you and now I'll never be sate until I have you.

But I'll never have you, will I.

“Just the usual. How's your goddess been?”

Chuckle. “Yeahhh, she's good. Really great. Just got back from her place actually.”

“Oh okay, cool…”

I want to hate her so much. But I've seen how cute you are together. How nice she is to everyone. How happy she makes you. How much she likes you. She's special. In so many ways it's worse than if you'd picked up some dumb shallow bitch. She's fun, compassionate, pretty; out of this world. I'm me; out of my league.

“Yeah… she reckons she's in love with me!”

“Yeah… I know.”

Silence. I try to breathe.

“Well… I… guess… I better leave you to it.”

“W-Wait… can I just say something?”

“Sure, what is it?” I wonder.

Pause. “You took the words right out of my mouth.”


“Nothing… I guess I'll speak to you next week.”