Les Trois Femmes

Woman #1

“Can’t tell cos I don’t know what he is like now. His mindset. His beliefs. He boxes everything till no one can get through… but I wanna know what you are thinking and what affects you. Not just you listening. Friendship is a two-way relationship.”

Woman #2

“What’s on your mind?” she blurted. The two of them were standing amidst the late-night crowd in the packed train. This wasn’t the first time she asked this question [1]. He thought it was cute. Well, kind of (but not on hindsight).


“I know you’re deep in thought. It’s your eyes. They look distant.”

He smiled, relented and tore her a page from his mind.

At first, he could tell from her reaction, i.e., her eyes (and the size of them), that she was not a little fascinated. Perhaps she wasn’t expecting him to indulge her. But by the time the train pulled up at the next station, she wore another expression on her face. It was as though she was given all that she wanted but her desire was, in no way, satiated.

“Why do you think of such mundane things?” she commented, with her brows furrowed. “It’s not like thinking about them would bring value to your life.”

He could have told her about how having stuff going on in one’s head was much better than leaving it blank [2]. Or worse, being mindlessly entertained by images on the screen of smartphones or tablets, or games about birds that are flappy or falling candies in bright colours.

But he said nothing and smiled at her.

On hindsight, curiosity didn’t kill any cat, but it must have killed the relationship.

Woman #3

What he was told: “He was reserved. He was evasive.”

What he saw that they didn’t tell him: “He was pushy and didn’t know what he wanted.”

If he was guarded and evasive, she wouldn’t have had the time to gobble down the strawberry-and-mango tart she ordered with glee and that gleam in her eyes. Meanwhile, the blueberries sitting on the tart he ordered must have been – in her mind – desperately calling out for her to burst them in her petit mouth.

If he was pushy, it would be him who initiated an exchange of phone numbers so that they could “hang out sometimes” and do copious amounts of Whatsapp-ing [3].

If he didn’t know what he wanted, he would not have shared with her how much raising a family – based on the tenets of the religion they both believed – was important to him that it became one of his life’s goals.

[1] The first time she asked, they were in a car he was driving. It was a safe environment for him to be more casual about revealing his thoughts.
[2] Which would mean staring into space, zombie-esque and expressionless.
[3] Which, of course, led to a screenshot of their conversation sent to him accidentally.