By Phan Ming Yen
Last moments of a Replicant
The screams that came through the monitor as we watched the bright orange sweep down the spine of the attack-ship at Orion; her abruptly halting our lovemaking midway so that we, with our bodies suspended in longing, could see the glow of the C- beams that had suddenly lit up the darkness at Tannhauser Gate.
They all came back, when I saw him, lying there in the rain, bloodied and gasping for his breath, thinking that I would kill him.
And I told him, hoping, but not ever knowing if, he would even remember: "I've seen things you people wouldn't believe…"
(after Rutger Hauer, Blade Runner)
She does not smell the scent of freshly dug earth. She does not remember those first times: a Brahms Intermezzo played by the cafe pianist; ripped underwear. She does not see K'uang Yu-min or Lai Hsiu-chin beside her. She does not taste the dried blood in her mouth. She does not know that later, Mr Yee will enter her room and sit on her bed, tracing the outline of her body that she left behind on the sheets earlier. She does not feel the cool of the night, the burning between her thighs. She does not hear the command. She does not hate.
(after Zhang Ailing and Lee Ang, Lust, Caution)
Ah Ching sits at my bedside daily, unmoving, from morning until evening. Each time I ask about her family, only saliva trickles from my mouth.
On my last day, a former student, Lam Yiu Kwok, suddenly visits with a boy.
"Mr Sheng, your gifts, I have given away. But the words you taught me, I remember," he says. "In autumn, Master Sū Shì and his friends sailed past the Red Cliff…"
"Their boat floating on a thousand miles of mist, not knowing where they are going, riding the emptiness…," continues Ah Ching with the boy.
Has she come every day to watch me suffer?
(after Ann Hui and Ivy Ho, July Rhapsody)
In the coroner's reports, they find Rinko Matsubara and Shoichiro Kuki in embrace, their "genital regions conjoined". Him still inside her, she, still, beneath him, a smile on her face.
Before dying, her body remembers the damp eyelids that sting, the dissolution of Kuki within the crook of her arm, the sound of her name slipping from him into the space between them.
As the poisoned wine weaves its way round the smile that forms on her lips, she cries out to the memory of the sunset in Kamakura months earlier: "Darling…"
In a room without echo, words leave no shadows.
(after Watanabe Jun'ichi, A Lost Paradise)
When I woke, I suddenly saw her at the foot of my bed.
She stood there, in a sleeveless dress, a pair of black satin shoes, and wearing a flat-brimmed hat with black band. At first I thought it strange that she should wear a hat in the night until I sat up to greet her. She did not reply, but just stood there, looking at the river.
"Do you smoke?" I asked.
And as she stepped into the car and sat beside me, the last words I heard were my son calling: "Father! What's the matter? Say something. Father!"
(in memory of Marguerite Duras, The Lover)QLRS Vol. 12 No. 2 Apr 2013