It only hits you, kind of like gravity to a spaceman, when you’re kissing him against the peeling green walls at the back of Haji Lane. You don’t kiss boys. Boys don’t kiss boys. But your lips meld even harder into his at the thought, and you watch his eyelashes flutter under the orange night lights in the dimness of the alleyway.
Alex, you murmur as you kiss him.
Alex. The way he says your name disappears with the two of you.
It’s fate that got you here in the first place. He is a little high from the alcohol, giggling like a girl as he tiptoes down the grey tar road, in between stacks of shophouses and sheesha smokers. His friends are more far gone than he is, yowling like hooligans and singing the national anthem like it’s a joke. But Alex (your namesake, your soulmate, your heart) falls onto one of the red carpets alongside the metal gates and pavement and stays there.
You only watch him because he feels like a forgotten memory, lingering in the back of your head only to surface when you least expect it. He’s kind of beautiful, in a boyish sort of manner, hair windblown and cheeks pale, fingers slim as they clutch into the jacket you lend him. At least tell me your name, you say.
Alex, he mumbles.
Really? That’s my name, too.
One beat, two. His eyes slip open, misty and drunk and so very aware.
You don’t like Haji Lane, but you come here because Alex does, with his little group of fashionista friends. You watch him as you have Turkish coffee, and so your understanding of Alex becomes entwined with that intoxication. He’s worse than caffeine and a hundred times more addictive. He returns your jacket when he sees you, managing a smile.
Nice to meet you, Alex.
He turns to leave, but you utter a sound as you wince in embarrassment. He cranes his neck, dark eyes fixed on yours.
A picture, you finally say, holding up your camera. Can I have a picture?
He says oh why not, probably the way he does whenever someone wants to be a friend or a lover. The casual shrug of his shoulders make you so jealous. Don’t be so casual with me, you want to say, but it’s this casualness that keeps him here, with you.
You take it.
“So you watch beautiful people and make money off them,” Alex says. You don’t disagree with that assessment as you fiddle with your SLR, but you don’t hold any illusions about the boy before you. He won’t sell the cover of any magazine, not with hollow cheekbones and eyes so dark like that. But you take the pictures anyway (for work, you tell him. For sick pleasure, the truth is. For memories, is what you tell yourself).
Your friendship is pointless, you think - a myriad of kaleidoscope colours and bad fashion trends, hippie attitudes and indie music alongside smelly carpets and sweet smoke. That is the only place that he lets you find him, and you don’t question further because it’ll never work between the two of you outside of this grey lane. You listen to him when he talks about the girlfriend who broke up with him to make off with his best friend, and the lazy bum creeps that he hangs out with who don’t know sobriety; watch him rant about his crappy artsy-fartsy school work and gush about how much he loves his ugly canvas shoes (that he’d trade the world to keep forever). It’s when you laugh about his almost endearing childishness that he says, “I want to be just like you.”
You hope not, because you grew up to be someone you never predicted you’d become - listless, indifferent, a little bit in love as of this moment (and not with a girl). But Alex kind of smiles as he watches you like this, and you wonder what it is about this strange boy with your name that holds him to you.
“I only know life through the camera lens,” you inform him.
“Do you know me?” he asks. You think maybe you don’t, but you probably do like the back of your hand. He lets you take a few more pictures, his smile vibrant against daylight.
So it only hits you (days, weeks, months later), kind of like gravity to a spaceman, when you’re kissing him against the peeling green walls at the back of Haji Lane. Holding him won’t make him a part of you, nor will it keep him close forever. But you’ll take it (your namesake, your soulmate, your heart).
Alex. Alex. The way he says your name disappears with the two of you.
Current Mood: blank
Current Music: Britney Spears - Shattered Glass