Friday, October 16, 2009

BravingKL Short Story - The Shadows That Were (Epilogue)

Grace had always pride herself as being the most experienced, courteous, and attentive front-line staff of this chic restaurant. There was simply nothing that she had not seen or come across, or handled before. Yet tonight, the sight of a lone diner who opened the most expensive champagne stocked, only to down it all with two glasses and two sets of their most well-known steak was, admittedly, a sight uncustomary even to her.

The End

BravingKL Short Story - The Shadows That Were (Part Six)

Kevin suddenly gasped for air as he realised that he's forgotten to breath. This seemingly familiar space was eating into him, didn't matter that it's only his second visit. And its suffocating wetness, he didn't know if he'll ever get used to it. Against the breaking of the mist, Kevin found the tiled bench at the narrow turning again, as wet, and as empty as the first time. He gathered his towel and sat down slowly as the air twirled and danced its way around him.

There was a sickening recollection lingering in the air.

It was a hard few weeks for Kevin. His phone, as though having suffered an irreversible curse, would never be graced by the painfully-missed number again, no phonecalls, no messages. The pleasures that had momentarily blessed Kevin’s life, it was all but painfully too short-lived, and its departure too sudden.

Where did he go?

In a fit of frustration, Kevin yanked his towel away and let it dropped carelessly to the rough cement floor. He cupped his face with both hands, only to drag them downwards across his face and neck. There was a maddening void of pain as his nails ran deep into his skin.

And then Kevin was ready, he stood up now, and turn his naked body sideways to allow it to catch some of the muted sunlight filtering in from the windows near the entrance, and he started walking further into where the bench led him, into where the mist had held their secrets before this, into where the first encounter happened.

Kevin thought he heard a moan, and raised his hands to let his fingers lead the way. This evening, right here, right now, Kevin’s desperate fingers will taste the reassuring male form again.

Yet as the longing fingers’ journey fell short of their grand voyage, the only thing that welcomed them was not the familiar ripples of a well-built chest, or the rough stubbles of a carelessly shaved chin, but that of the misty, wet surface of a cold, hard mirror.

To be continued

Thursday, October 15, 2009

BravingKL Short Story - The Shadows That Were (Part Five)

Within the comfort of his own bedroom, punctuated by the peaceful snoring of his wife, the world of Kevin Tan came crashing down. He stared at his phone, long and hard, pressed the keypad repeatedly, and triggered the power on and off countless times, yet all that came staring back at him was an horrorfully empty message inbox, an inbox that was just earlier this evening graced with an extended list of sms, those discrete exchanges of arrangements for secret meet-ups, of mushy heartfelt expressions, of painful longings and of mundane daily updates, there were screens after screens of those, yet not a single one of them remained now.

Kevin felt numb from the torrent of disbelief as he took on the final blow of tonight's discovery - the golden set of numbers, the one obtained from his sauna visit, his only access to the one who owned his heart now, was wiped out together with the message.

His mind churned and churned now for answers, this targetted attack could only have one objective in mind, and with one irrefutable suspect. But his wife had been so unsuspecting all these while, so much so that it was making Kevin very guilty. Yet guilt was Kevin's last concern at the moment, the growing void in his phone, his heart, was aching like a million needles, as fitting as it may be, one surge of piercing turmoil for every wave of blissful yearning.

However there was no room for confrontation tonight, Kevin was not emotionally equipped to face the exchanges that may ensue. The revolving ceiling fan somehow caught his eyes, and he stared at it for a good half an hour, before his trembling fingers finally surrendered and dropped the phone, overcome now with a sudden surge of helplessness and defeat. And then Kevin slumped into bed, heaved his final sigh for today, and slipped into the comforter and joined his wife.

To be continued

Thursday, September 17, 2009

BravingKL Short Story - The Shadows That Were (Part Four)

Kevin was blushing still. He wound down the car window and let the torrent of fresh air this lovely Friday midnight hit his face. Streetlights fleeted past him, one by one at first, and then quickly blurred into a stream of dancing lines, of which radiance paled in comparison to the ecstasy written all over his reddened face. He stepped harder on the accelerator.

There wasn’t a single occasion in all his thirty-three years of life where he has blushed as hard, Kevin thought. He blamed the wine they had, not just any wine he proudly declared, but a 1978 Chateau Lafite Rothschild that he had kept for the most precious occasion. For a brief moment, he made the effort to check on the gaze of admiration as the bottle was popped open (there was a list of expressions to choose from) but Kevin's attention was quickly summoned back to the star of the night. This first meet up was as perfect as he had wanted it to be, the ambience, the conversations, the food, the surreal qualities of them all, Kevin almost convinced himself that he had dreamt all these up.

But his eager heart could not lie, and the bliss inconcealable; Kevin didn't make the effort to hide them at all, not to the waiters serving him, and certainly not to the other patrons that night. Everyone was undeserving of his attention tonight, everyone except one. His focus was unmistakably singular.

To be continued

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

BravingKL Short Story - The Shadows That Were (Part Three)

For the longest of time, Kevin stood in front of the row of vanity counters at the locker area, oblivious to the buzz of the crowd that was beginning to build up this Saturday evening. In his hand was a strip of glossy magazine paper, hurriedly torn from the corner of an aging library from the lounge area, slightly crumpled, yet on it a series of numbers were scribbled. Kevin tried but could not take the sight off them, nor could he his fingers. This unassuming piece of paper, it smelled of the prized reward of countless late nights of research, of the well-rehearsed reasoning to his wife and children, of deception, yet sweetened liberation.

He tightened his grasp on the paper and slowly tasted its significance.

Kevin thought, there was a blur on the event leading to this, he tried to recall as he watched his own reflections in the large mirror in front of him, but he realised it didn't really matter perhaps, as all he knew at that moment was he had liked what he saw, this encounter of his in the steam room, and he now had a mean of staying in touch with him. In his head, Kevin was churning with an unfamiliar wave of excitement and the possible thrills this may bring. As the heart raced faster and faster, Kevin knew all too well that his earlier plans of this being a one-off, fuss-free exploration of nursing his curiosity was now being spitted into the sink like a pitiable lump of puss and hastily rushed down the sinkhole.

To be continued

Friday, September 04, 2009

BravingKL Short Story - The Shadows That Were (Part Two)

From a temporary clearing of the steam, Kevin squinted and saw the first sign of life in this lost, muted world. A mild, involuntary shiver travelled his body as he shifted his sitting position on the wet tiled bench and adjusted and readjusted his views to piece together the physical being that was starting to form at the other end. First came the lightly tanned arms, perched against the edges of the bench, droplets of water flowing downwards and disappearing between the fingers. And then the sharp jaw lines, the lightly parting lips, and the prominent sideburn, as painstakingly trimmed as his own, Kevin thought.

He welcomed a sense of familiarity to this sight.

For the longest time nothing moved, this desolate quiet world stripped of all sounds, except for the travelling gust of steam, ever hissing and expanding and filling every cracks on the rough cement floor and walls. Kevin let out a breathless sigh, and watched as the steam in front of him parted and twirled away. His way of saying hi perhaps.

And then there was the hurried decision, Kevin knew he could not entertain the risk of having second thoughts, he was already too far away from the grasp of his mundane life, this was his moment. But he couldn't bear too the fact that he had dug so low, lower than the begging gaze of the ill-performing secretary that he had told off earlier this morning. There was a disconnect now between him and the trembling hand that was slowly stretching forward, sideways, towards the figure. From the corner of his eyes, Kevin watched as his fingers poked into the steam, and faded into a blur of shadows.

He closed his eyes now, imagining what the sight would be if he were to grow eyes on the tip of his index fingers. There was no plan on where exactly to plant them anyway. This, strange, peculiar act of saying hi, this singular moment of eager anticipation of landfall, with all its unspeakable undercurrent of guilt and fun, indeed was as far as Kevin as gone before.

To be continued

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

BravingKL Short Story - The Shadows That Were (Part One)

The air was a sickening mix of lukewarm mist and a strange stench of stale sweat, yet Kevin was grateful for this half-baked setup, he wouldn't survive for more than three minutes if the steam were to be a tad more enthusiastic. At the very spot after the glass-door entrance, he stood there for a good while, blinking and breathing calmly, getting used to the limited visibility. And then slowly, he stumbled forward along the narrow path in front of him, thanking the stray evening sunlight filtering in from the dusty windows for showing the way.

It's all very quiet in here. Kevin swore that he had counted not less than 15 people entering this maze while he was deliberating his next moves outside the corridor, yet apart from the occasional hissing of steam and a distance dripping of perhaps a leaky pipe, Kevin strained his ears but heard only his own heartbeat as he landed on a bench at the end of the path.

Beyond this, a darkened turn bathed in mystery, and unspeakable, unimaginable fun. Fun, that Kevin could have only read online and fantasize about as he led a life that had been laid out dutifully before him. But now, this strange, new world before his eyes was finally materialising. Nights of fighting the urge to stray from the rightful path finally saw defeat, utter defeat, as he now inched forward into the embrace of the darkened corner of a gay sauna, clad only in a thin towel, vulnerable, confused.

Yet eager to explore.

BravingKL Short Story - The Shadows That Were (Prologue)

At the very end of the darkened corridor, a solitary hand emerged, did an unintelligible gesture, and was never seen again. Was the pain from trying to figure out what its gesture meant, or in waiting for its return?

Monday, July 06, 2009

The Fan

I can't remember what triggered it to be exact, but Kel slapped the table in an act of animated glee and started giggling like the happiest kid in the world, all for the patrons on a busy Saturday night in Dome KLCC to see.

I have to say that the contorted expressions didn't quite go well with his generous coat of facial hair and the dark-frame specs, but still, it made my day.

"So what do you remember most about this gay blog that you used to read?" I asked.

"Oh, I normally would just quickly glance through, but the pic taken of two guys holding hands is still fresh in mind."

I looked away, towards the park entrance glass doors just meters away, and reminised the scene about a year back, I think, that singular minute of frantic digging for my digital camera in the gym bag, followed by an unabashed attempt at inching closer to the unsuspecting couple to snap the scandalous body language in action.

"And oh, those before-and-after pics showing the wonders of photoshop is fun too!" Kelvin's facial parts had snapped back into place, but he's still in high spirits.

"Haha, must be something to behold." At this point, I was beginning to wonder if he'll ever touch on the more scandalous stuff like sauna floor plans, but to my pleasant surprise, he never did. Must be a recent follower.

"I wonder why he never write anymore." Kel looked my way and said. And then I put down the set of fork and spoon, and reached for my glass of warm water.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


one of three
3am was not ungodly an hour for Newo to call. In between his quick-paced chatter, I could hear his labored pants. The little ascent along the slopes to Frangi couldn’t be that tough, he admitted that he was indeed rather drunk. From his incessant mumble, I concluded that he called to lecture me about something I did of which details I could no longer recall. Still, his undeniably charming, intoxicated voice stuck like a magnet. Damn, he kept me awake the whole night.

two of three
Avidog promised to cook me pasta for the rest of my life. Not just any pasta, I told him. It’s got to be spicy olio spaghetti. He wouldn’t be of much use anymore if I could just kidnap the chef working in Dome, but then he goes “all the chef in Dome are basically Bangladeshi and your favourite pasta is pre-prepared in the central kitchen and sent to each outlet”. Hmm I can’t live with a Bangladeshi my whole life, can I?

three of three
Braving: you left your toothbrush here last night.
Misu: yes, I did.
Braving: you know the other day I just threw away five.
Misu: I’ll just use yours.