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Friday, Jun. 03, 2005 - 2:45 a.m.

They slept next to each other on the narrow double bed, with a bolster separating them. They were a pair of twenty-four year old boys - boys because they did not yet know what it was meant when one was called a man. So they remained as boys, boys who had gone to the same secondary school, who had swum next to each other in the waterpolo team during junior college. The room was completely dark (was it full of shadows or empty of light?), and each could hear the other breathe in the pauses, when both were thinking and nothing was said.

They talked about this one girl who had been in both their lives. One of them had loved her for a month in 1998, and had even managed to kiss her several times - on the lips, when she was looking, behind the canteen in junior college, he said. He held up his hands in the darkness and counted the number of times he had kissed her (counting his fingers by touch and not by sight). The other had unexpectedly fallen in love with her towards the end of 2004, after she had returned from university in the United States. Perhaps he still loves her, and so we shall call him 2004- , and not merely 2004. He too, held up his hands in the darkness, but he had nothing to count. Well, he did meet her ten times, made her laugh thrice on each of those occasions, talked to her quietly and seriously once, and was disappointed during that last meeting. Once.

2004- was visiting 1998's home in Canberra. The strangeness of the current arrangement made them both laugh: two boys who had loved the same girl (woman?) were now in the same bed, with the bolster in between them to demarcate each heterosexual space. Later, at different points in their respective dream cycles, perhaps the bolster will disappear and the other body will turn into the girl's. Perhaps - because neither will remember his own dream when he wakes.

There was perfect honesty between them, because this was how they talked. Each filled in unrevealed pieces of the girl for the other. 1998 told 2004- about the unstolen kisses behind the canteen, and about her naive (but quaint, 1998 thought back in 1998) romantic idealism. They could both listen to a CD player in the canteen, the left earbud in his ear, the right earbud in her's, and she would believe that the thin, black plastic line that connected the two of them would hold for eternity. She believed in perfection, 1998 said.

When he heard this, 2004- wished he had known her then. 2004- told 1998 what she had said to him during that last meeting. I'm happy now. Now is all that matters. And unfortunately, her happiness did not include 2004- . There was a silence, breathing sounds in the dark, as each boy considered her words.

In the span of human history, there will be one very strange night, when a pair of twenty-four year old boys lie in the same bed, thinking about the same unforgiving sentence spoken by a single girl (woman?). One will think of the sentence as a memory, originating from an unfamiliar source. The other will think of her words as something new in a familiar body, like a sun he had not seen before.

Their eyelids were closed (a second type of blackness) as they talked. She was the same girl (woman?), and yet at the same time, she was not. Something must have happened to her in the United States, from the years 1999 to 2003 (perhaps there are other characters called by such names, but they are inconsequential here). Something must have changed her thinking, her perception of time. It had abrogated eternity into individual slices of the present, to be consumed before they were rapidly lost.

In that final moment before they were both claimed by sleep (the third blackness), they each realized the same thing. This last conscious thought was as thin as a cloud, and so fleeting through their minds that both mistook it as the first fragment of a dream. It was an explanation of the incongruency:

There were actually two girls contained in the body of the same woman, and each boy had fallen in love with a different one.


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