At night, when all the colours die,
they hide in pairs
and read about themselves –
in colour, with their eyelids shut.
– “A Martian Sends A Postcard Home” by Craig Raine (1979)
This man, he was licking my face. Not giving me a kiss, just licking the side of my face. He sat behind the wheel, but he turned around to face me and I saw who he was. He had overflowed from the real world into my dream world. He was driving the car down a hilly slope in Malaysia, and I was sat in the back seat watching him. My conscious had spilled into my subconscious, like an ebb of liquid that flowed from reality to fantasy, and back again, then back again, the real, the fictional, the imaginary, all spilling and colliding in my mind’s movie, as the car crashed forward and downward. “There’s a secluded spot behind my school,” I said. “Where?” he said, as he and I sat in traffic, watching the lights outside, and I saw that old woman, stooped, sweeping the side street.
Amanda Lim was born to Malaysian parents in 1986 in Butterworth, Penang. Her short stories have appeared in Catapult.co, Ethos Books, Monsoon Books, Fixi Novo and Matahari Books. Her story ‘The Red Kemboja Tree’ received a positive review in the South China Morning Post, described as having a ‘flowing, conversational narrative with a brief reference to a Malay legend… immediately creating an enjoyable Singaporean fable’.