Atom Cheung

Blue Petals Grey Dots

I had never seen anyone sit on my chair with such comfort like it was where you sat every morning, like it was your chair, and this was your place. In fact, I had never seen anyone sit on my chair other than myself, but I couldn’t say that. Yet I saw you. You knocked on my door so early that morning. When I answered in my crumpled shirt, you were already composed in a white one-piece that made your arms pale. I had my window opened. Cars passed by. People were chatting on the sidewalk, outside the cafe downstairs.

“Is that a flower?” I asked, after you had taken my chair, the only place you could have sat that wasn’t the floor.

“It took you this long to notice?”

You turned towards the window to give me a better view of your earring. It looked like a clear resin stud with blue petals embedded. It reminded me of ornaments I had seen on a collection of glass swizzle sticks, displayed in a shop that carried tea sets with a silver trim on every cup and saucer.

Dust and sunlight slanted a blur across your face. Off the edge of your eyebrow, a dash of greyish dots, paving a bridge out the window towards another window across the street. A CD, string-tied to a dripping air-conditioner, shifted side-to-side, deflecting fragments of a spectrum.

“They have omelettes downstairs, don’t they?” you asked, still facing the outside.

I said yeah, “but we’ll have to wait for a table.”

You turned and placed your eyes on me, then slowly onto the pantry cabinets, the ceiling, the loft bed – all of my subdivided flat in one long take.

“I’d make you one if you had a stove,” you said, and revealed a trace of a smile.

“Are you feeling better?”

The lightness subsided after I said that, and you were out the window again, only now the light didn’t come through as much as it did before. The outline of your seated posture appeared more solid. The glossy dab of blue on your earlobe more noticeable.

Atom Cheung is a radio presenter on RTHK, the public broadcasting service in Hong Kong. His poetry and fiction have appeared in Canto Cutie, LickZine, and Voice & Verse. He hosts the experimental podcast Atomic Heart. More at