Go Figure

Three months after Andy’s departure, the unthinkable happened—unthinkable to a naïve twenty-one-year-old college student, anyway. Andy ended our four-year relationship with an icy cold “Dear Jane.” A shortish, not-so-sweet, correspondence espousing upon how he had never really loved me. Ouch! Experiencing Europe had changed him. Allowed him to find himself…

Blah, blah, blah… blah, blah.

Notes to My Father

Once in the middle of a work meeting, I had a panic attack. I did not know then what it was or what incited it. I felt lightheaded, and something about the four walls of the room felt so constricting that it made me dizzy and out of breath. My panic attacks began after my father had died.

Gu Père

A few years ago, my dad came to visit me while I was living in France. On a night out, we went to the arthouse theater in Montpellier to watch a Chinese movie that had just come out. The movie takes place in Shanxi province, a few hundred kilometers west of Beijing, and when it started, I found I couldn’t understand any of the dialogue. All the words were spoken in the wrong tone, with the wrong stress, and yet they had a maddening similarity to Mandarin that made comprehensibility seem just out of reach. It was as though I’d had a stroke, and a portion of my mind’s speech center had been injured.

Tangerines for Lenin

And yet I still haven’t visited France. First obtaining a visa was a tedious bureaucratic process with a high chance of refusal. When the visa was no longer necessary, the flights were too expensive, so I decided to wait, traveling to countries that were more accessible. When finally a low-coast airline announced a new flight to Paris, I got the tickets, but the war broke out a month before my travel date. You can guess what is the first thing I dream of doing after the nightmare is over.

Nothing to See Here

I tell my mother it was a random act of violence, not a targeted hate crime. I tell her the story I’d told the police officers while I laid in the hospital bed. We’d all agreed that I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.