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I

You can use life to love or not to love,
You can use the world to choose or not to choose,
If you see someone who believe in this,
Your lonely eyes
Will be filled with colours even rainbows cannot imagine.

II

All of the waiting,
Will freeze into a line of blankness;
All of the searching,
Will act out into a huge question mark;
And everyday as I walk along the street corners,
I would gather every single love story,
Take out a long, slim sewing scissors,
And gently cut off every single bitter end.

III

Love cannot
Change the fact that clouds are soft;
Love cannot
Change the fact that the wind is light;
Love cannot
Change the fact that life is bitter and sweet;
Loneliness is a kind of soft tissue I carry around,
Each one of them used to wipe the windows of my search for love.

IV

The reds on the roses
Is for women to dabble on;
The green on mint wine
Is for men to waste on;
The light on a skyscraper
Is for travellers to look down upon;
My loneliness
Is for the person I am waiting for to grab on.

V

Every loneliness
Has its own casual corners;
Every love
Has its own unique features;
Every woman
has her own elegant colours;
Every choice you can either choose it
Or leave it to today's wind, tomorrow's clouds and butterflies' wings.

VI

If stars fall down slowly,
I will reach out and catch them;
If love comes over slowly,
I will reach out and capture it.
If beauty and sadness are forever as one,
I would want them both;
At the end of every beautiful moment,
I will walk through sadness every step of the way.

VII

Love doesn't mean
A hundred pink carnations;
Love doesn't mean
A thousand invisible dreams.
Yesterday's promise has been blown by the wind,
So will you forget tomorrow's memories too?
I want to fly across the dark city's night sky
To see if other people's stories in the light are as melancholic.

VIII

They say:
The love of this city is fast and short;
They say:
The women of this century loves solitude best.
They predict:
When light finally abandoned the darkness,
Will the smell of clothes tire its shadow?
They conclude:
All of the stories to come will become soft and long.


Day 1

A new girl came in this building. She’s very pretty. She had nice auburn hair and bright sky-coloured eyes, and she was wearing a brown one-piece dress carrying a handbag and a file filled with documents, with black high-heeled sandals to match. I wondered if she’s here for the interview the stinky old Graham and his wife Susan are giving. I heard he was going to hire a new clerk for his company, which is recently expanding. I took her upstairs to his office on the 3rd floor and, true enough, saw the other candidates that I took up filling in application forms already on the table outside the office. The candidates chattered among themselves loudly and asked each other how to fill in which section. She, on the other hand, went up to Clarice, the head secretary, and asked for an application form and sat alone at one corner to fill it up. After she was done, she gave the application form and her file to Clarice before leaving. I took her down and watched her leave. I hope she gets hired.

Day 2

The girl came again. This time she was wearing a pink dress with white sandals and had her hair tied up into multiple braids, like the Jamaican client who came to talk business with Graham. It was her second interview, and this time, the interviewer was Graham’s wife Susan. Through experience, I could tell that there is a high chance she would be hired, especially when she was called in for a second interview. She seemed to be nervous around Susan, and I can’t blame her; Susan has the face that has “I’m gonna eat you alive” written all over her face when in truth, she was much more good-natured than her husband. I silently cheered the girl on and gave her quiet moral support. She later shook hands with Susan and I heard Susan saying to her, “So I will see you Monday morning.” I was right; she was hired. As I escorted her down the building and watched her talking excitedly on the phone, a warm feeling surrounded me. Was this love?

Day 3

I’m starting to miss the girl already. Is this really love?

Day 5

It’s the girl’s first day of work today. She’s wearing a very nice white work blouse, black office skirt and the ever famous black high-heeled sandals, along with a denim handbag slung over her shoulder. She got acquainted with Clarice and Millicent, our resident new mother-to-be. Her job was to do proofreading before allowing the IT boys on the other side of the office to upload any form of articles onto the web. Graham runs a big commercial website whereby he helps a couple of newspaper companies to post up their news online for a daily fee, and also help other companies to post up advertisements for a bi-weekly fee, while Susan was under the sales department, going around selling and promoting the website to draw in customers who want to have their companies advertised through her husband’s company. I pity for her to stare at the screen for hours just to correct words that the incompetent IT boys could never get right. This was one of the reasons why Graham should not hire foreigners, but it’s not like he listens to me anyway. At the end of the day, she would come to me with her red tired eyes and constantly yawned as I escort her all the way down and out of the building. How I wish I could make her feel much better than that, but I am not built to do so.

Day 7

She met her first clients today, and that client was giving her a hard time. They demanded that she correct certain posts on the website and scolded her for writing it wrong when in truth, it was the clients’ fault. They told her they wanted their posts to be this way, but they blamed her for putting it the way they asked her to post it in the first place. She tried to explain to them but they simply refused to listen to her. Graham tried to persuade them and talked them into another direction so that they would be happy, then gave a rather long lecture to her about respecting clients’ decision and be careful in whatever the customers are asking and all that crap. Customers may always be right, but in this case, I put my money on her.

Day 13

It’s been a while since she worked here, yet I never knew her name. Even as I escort her and Clarice and Millicent down after work, I never heard them mention her name. It’s as if women have this ability to talk to each other without having to call each other’s name and knows who is talking to whom. It’s a wonder anyone could ever understand them at all. But that’s what I like about her. Her adaptability was incredible; it was as if she was part of the firm already. I hope she would stay in the firm forever.

Day 20

Tonight, she is doing overtime. She had experienced first hand how truly a slave-driver Graham and Susan really were. They would simultaneously ask her to do more than two things at once, and whenever she accidentally makes a blunder, they would bomb her like there was no tomorrow without even wanting to hear her explanation or even acknowledged that they were the ones who put her into this blundering situation. Clarice and Millicent told her to just bear with it because she’s still new in the firm and it’s not wise to be getting onto the bosses’ heads. She couldn’t afford to be fired anyway because she had failed so many other interviews because of her lack of qualification. She hopes that one day she will be able to earn and save enough to continue her studies, as she had to quit halfway through college because her negligent mother thought it was time she stopped wasting her pension money on paying for her daughter’s ‘waste-of-time-and-money’ education. This would mean that she’ll leave once she’s earned enough. I don’t want her to leave, but I have no right to stop her from pursuing what’s important to her life. What am I to do?

Day 25

She sighs as she came to me and pressed the ground floor button. Closing hours was over three hours ago and she had just finished doing her job she was entrusted to by the slave-drivers Graham and Susan. It was overtime for her as usual, but she had no idea that I knew Graham and Susan would not pay her for her work’s worth. I doubt they even thought of adding overtime bonuses into her paychecks. I watched as she ran her fingers through her hair and leaned against me to support her tired body. Her hands held lightly on my railing and her soft, tender fingers traced circles around them, making me shiver with delight. She hummed softly to herself the song “Beautiful Girls” by Sean Kingston that she always played in the office to curb the deafening silence that often hung around before she came here to work. Clarice and Millicent seemed to like the change of scenery and didn’t mind her playing music in the office, but Graham and Susan seemed to share their distaste for music as they would look at her disapprovingly whenever they pass by her table, but never really telling her to turn the music off. I can tell that she didn’t really care anymore, and that she was beginning to show loss of interest towards the firm. I fear that I might lose her.

Day 30

She didn’t show up for work today. I heard from Clarice and Millicent’s conversation that she had caught a bout of fever and had called in sick. It must be the rain last night. It was raining rather heavily and there was thunder and lightning and all that hubbub associated with heavy rain. At least I learnt something new about her today. I finally knew her name when Graham noticed her absence and asked for her. Graham has a tendency to call his workers by their full name, and that is where I heard her name called out: Juniper Ashley. I hope she gets better.

Day 35

Life for Juniper in the office fluctuates everyday, depending on Graham and Susan’s mood. They both really were match made in heaven—they worked their workers down to the bone and never really gave them the appreciation they deserved. Juniper was getting thinner and paler everyday and my heart ached watching her deteriorating as she continued her days in the firm. I fear for her life sometimes when she would be too busy to eat and by the time she got back home (according to her stories to told her colleague any idle chance she get when Graham and Susan are not in the office) she would be too tired to eat. Most of the time, the lunch she brought from home were either left untouched or half-finished. Not only that, she had a hectic fight with her mother over her negligence and irresponsibility and her not wanting Juniper to continue her studies and wanting her to keep working to feed her sorry ass, and life in the office was not making it any better. I’m beginning to hate Graham and Susan even more than I used to before Juniper came to work in this firm.

Day 40

I am so in love with Juniper. I can’t get enough of her. All I could do is just watch her from a distance as she sat at her desk with her side facing me. Occasionally she would turn around and look at me to see if I had brought Graham or Susan or clients to the office, and I would savour the few seconds of staring at her beautiful fair face and sparkling sky-blue eyes, and would ache when she looked away or when I see her blue eyes getting duller and duller with stress. I would sometimes linger for a few seconds before taking her down when she pressed the ground floor button because I want to have her presence within for as long as I can. Sometimes my lingering lasts for a minute before I had to remind myself to move when she starts pressing the ground floor button again. I want to keep her. I want her to stay. But Graham and Susan are slowly killing her. And I know she wants to leave as soon as possible. I know she wants to leave to find a better job than this shit hole. But I don’t want her to leave. I don’t want to…

Day 43

She had another bad day today. Not only was she forced out of her home by her mother who thought of her as a burden and someone expendable, but also Graham drilled her again and finally, after so long, she broke. As soon as she managed to get off after office hours, she ran to me and sank down and cried. It was overtime, and she was the last person to leave, so there won’t be anyone to wait for my escorting services. She wailed and wailed like she couldn’t stop. She slammed her fist against me and buried her face on me and cried some more. All I could do was silently take in every echoing sobs she made and let my carpet and cold walls be her only solace, and I let stay with me as long as she wanted. Finally, after almost an hour, she held onto my railings and got up before pressing the ground floor button. As I quietly escorted her, I knew I had to do something to make her feel better. That I promised her as I watched her walk out of the building.

Day 45

Graham and Susan didn’t come for work today, thanks to me. Clarice and Millicent were gossiping about how I malfunctioned and those old hags found that they were stranded in the middle of the floors and couldn’t call for help since it was a Sunday and not office hours. They both had a heart attack from the shock and were found out cold by the janitor. Actually they were only half-correct about the situation. I didn’t know how I did it, but I managed to suffocate them enough to pass out and sent them to the hospital in an almost near-death state by stopping in mid floors and lowering the air pressure until they almost couldn’t breathe. I don’t plan to kill them. Not yet. I just want to teach them a lesson for hurting my Juniper. At least today, Juniper and the rest of the workers in the firm get to relax and not worry about their appearances.

Day 50

Juniper was all smiles today. When Clarice and Millicent asked why the sunny look, I had the shock of my life to hear that she had found her true love. She attended a high school reunion during the weekend and had met some of her best friends whom she lost contact with. One of them brought his cousin along to the reunion and it was love at first sight for them. As I watched them girl-talking about the bastard whose name is Jasper Kevin, I saw the joy and glee I had never seen before radiating around her. She looked so happy, like she didn’t have the care in the world, and Graham and Susan’s harsh commands were no match for the sweet nothings spoken by the love of her life on the phone during lunch hours. It was as if I don’t exist anymore.

Day 52

She no longer stayed in the office and ate her packed lunch anymore. Now I have to escort her every lunch hour down and out of the building and send her into the arms of the bastard Jasper who often wait for her outside the building with that ugly Mercedes Benz. He looked like a nerd with that stupid clean-cut hair and glasses and his idiotic built. He was a sorry excuse for a boyfriend. What does she see in him? What does he have that I haven’t? Just because he’s human and can touch and kiss and sweet-talk to her doesn’t mean he’s the perfect match for her! Who does he think he is, Casanova? She had moved out of the rickety apartment she was forced to live in after her mother kicked her out and moved into Jasper’s expensive 850-dollars-a-month condominium. She even talks more on the cell phone with him than spending her usual quality quiet time with me. She no longer leaned her rose-scented auburn hair on me and gazed in a mysterious distant and let me guess what is going through her mind. She no longer ran her fingers through my railings that often send pleasurable chills down my body. She no longer smiled her lovely smile as she longed for home from this dreary office life. She no longer hummed the Sean Kingston songs or any other songs she used to play in the office for me. Now all she did were looking at her phone to see messages from Jasper telling her to wait and that he’d be on his way to pick her up soon, or sometimes call her to ask her if she was going to do overtime and reminding her to give him a call when she’s done with her work so that he could fetch her

Day 57

She had done the unthinkable. She announced to the office that she was quitting and had prepared her two-week’s notice to Graham telling him that she was leaving this godforsaken company for good. Jasper—that son of a bitch—offered a job for her at his company as an ad and web designer, which fitted her talent and skills perfectly, and was promised a handsome 4-figure sum in her salary despite her limited qualifications. Clarice and Millicent were happy for her and congratulated her for being able to get out of this hellhole and be with the love of her life. They envied her for her change of luck and hoped that she would remember them even when she’s gone, in which she promised them she would. But I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t happy at all. That fucking Jasper took away the one thing I held most dear! He’s separating her from me! He’s taking her away from me! Juniper belongs to me, not him! I’m the one she fully trusts with all her problems! I’m the one who knows all her secrets! I’m the only one who knows her more than he ever will be! She is mine! MINE!!!

Day 60

Graham and Susan had hired a new girl to fill in for Juniper’s job, and Juniper came occasionally to train the new girl on what to do. The new girl was ugly, clumsy, and looked like she hadn’t slept in days, what with the dark rings below her eyes, but Graham and Susan couldn’t care less about appearances. As long as she had the qualifications and willing to work like a dog, she could look like a zombie from hell for all they cared. Juniper was as beautiful as usual as she showed the new girl the ropes with her sweet smile and polite tones. And by the end of next week, she would leave for good. I have to do something. I must.

Tonight

Juniper has finished packing her belongings from her desk and is now heading towards me. She is going to leave and starting tomorrow, I won’t ever see her again. As she presses the ground floor button, I can see the way she giggles that she cannot wait to start working together side by side with Jasper. I cannot allow her to leave. I will not! I stop mid-floor and refuse to budge. She thinks I malfunctioned and presses the emergency button. I smile inwardly as she realizes the emergency button is not working. She presses it a few more times but I make sure it doesn’t go off. She begins to panic and bangs at the door, calling for help. I call her name, and she looks around in fear, trying to see where the voice comes from. I call her again and she begins to cry, demanding who is playing a prank on her. But I’m not playing pranks. I just want her to stay with me forever. I call her name again, telling her I love her and I will never let her go, that I will never let her out of my sight. I reach out to hold her, to bring her close to me, to feel her rose-scented auburn hair on me, but she struggles and screams bloody murder. It’s understandable. After all, I’ve been secretly yearning for her and she hasn’t really had the time to get to know me yet. But tonight, it will all change. We will have all the time in the world…

--:--

Juniper’s disappearance was all over the news. Jasper had exhausted every mode of media in order to find her. There were no last witnesses to see her, and the only thing they ever found was her office belongings she had dropped on me. Authorities came and went, searching for clues, but they find no clue as to where she might have last disappeared to. There were no leads and the police were left with a dead end. Graham and Susan, the sneaky bastard and bitch they were, spoke awfully and exaggeratedly well about her and put up the little ‘good little bosses who treat their workers like angels’ fa├žade that no one suspected any foul play or the real way they treated their workers in the office. We were off the hook and the police began to divert their attention to any other possible leads, although Jasper still suspect that Graham and Susan could have been responsible for Juniper’s disappearance, what with her leaving the company when she proved to be their company’s best asset. His search still continues and I know for a fact that he would never ever find anything.

Juniper screams sometimes. She often bang against me and scream for help. I made sure she cannot be heard. There is a transparent barrier between her and the outside world that I prepared for her so that she can always see what’s going on out there, but strong enough so that she would never leave me. I sometimes talk to her, telling her that she is mine and that we would be together forever, but she would reply me with tears and sobs and frantic screams, begging me to let her go, which, of course, was out of the question. She would see people came into me to be escorted upstairs or downstairs—be it Clarice or Millicent, the police or Jasper, the IT boys and also be it Graham or Susan for that matter—and she would immediately pound against me, screaming for their attention and for them to rescue her. She was right under their noses yet they didn’t know she was there. I made sure of that.

I finally have you, my dear little Juniper.

And if it means keeping you in here forever until you realize my love for you, so be it.

It’s time for a fresh new start.

So here goes:

Day 1

It’s a rather hot day today. Juniper and I…

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