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Monday, Aug. 31, 2009 - 1:13 a.m.

The first time she watched the surveillance video, of a man entering her bedroom, she wanted to call the police. But then as the black and white video continued, the man took nothing, stole nothing, and merely slept in her bed.

This strange ritual goes on for several days, then weeks. She would watch the real time video on her computer at the office in the mornings, if she had no meetings, streamed live from the camera hidden in the eye of the teddy bear on her dresser. A neighbour had told her she saw a man hovering outside her flat once, and she went to get the teddy bear from Sim Lim Square.

She was so far from the home. The bed she grew up in, in a small apartment on the desolate, Eastern coast of Taiwan, was still there. She went back to visit her parents once a year, over Chinese New Year. Her father was a fisherman, and if she thought about it, she had grown up, gone to school, and ended up at this banking job in Singapore, because of the thousands of blank-eyed, gape-mouthed mackerel her father had caught in his nets.

During the typhoon season, all the small fishing boats in the harbour would roll in the harbour, toys boats in a squall. At night the wind howled over the cliffs, and the rain fell so fast it was invisible. Looking out the window, lightning lit the entire town for milliseconds, the curve of the harbour and its breakwater, like an embracing arm, the squat three storeyed houses arranged in haphazard lines. Bicycles fallen over, their wheels turning in the wind.

She thought of all the beds that she had slept in. First, with her sister, then alone when she turned seven. In the bed of the boy who lived down the street, whose father sold his own special brew of motor oil to all the fishermen (his muscled body bore the sweet-machine smell of this special grease). One or two frat boys in America, who made her swear off white men forever. The bed is used for sleep, sex, and in the case of this strange interloper of her bed, rest.

She has this intrinsic loneliness, perhaps a result of growing up in a desolate landscape. It is a different, deeper type of loneliness (there are three) that does not need to be cured, nor can it be. But it allows her to see the same loneliness in others who are similarly affected, like this visitor. There is, if you will forgive the paradox, a camarderie amongst the creatures who are alone. She thinks that it is fitting, that two lonely people share the same physical space on the same bed: he during the day, and she at night.



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