In their attempts to neatly categorize my developmental state, most people misconstrue and distort my ambivalent but unambiguous love for my father. Today, over yam tempura the texture of orange, blistered skin, perhaps a sunburn, my oily lips fatten & deify my father with steadfast sincerity only possible when bathing in matcha under chilly spring clouds. Surprised & melodramatically so, Fan rocks his watermelon wedge leather shoes over his shoulders, only to upset precariously balanced chopsticks. Tangy salad dressing spray from wet iceberg lettuce like ginger-flavor fireworks. "This is a complete reversal of your position in high school." Having been my friend for several years, moreover the crucial several years of adolescent psychiatric growth spurt, his diagnosis of my ideologies still wants complexity and context. Any opinion, desire or emotion enjoys multiple levels which may differ in magnitude and directionality. I have always hated, despised, worshiped and adored my father. Each emotion corresponds to a different drink: soda, coffee, juice and wine. I enjoy all four drinks, but must I enjoy all four together? Is it inconceivable that on a simmering, slow-cooker kind of day I might prefer juice to coffee? Yet even on this simmering day, to deny my penchant for the latter would be inaccurate. Abstracting the parallel, I experience the four sentiments truly and earnestly, but one need not necessarily consistently dominate. Doubt of my daughterly affection typifies puerile stereotyping, not adult cognition.
Only on a Thursday night, I suspect my father may have been a travelling balladeer in a past life. I was his lute companion. When fervent strumming and bumpy rides severed strings and fractured wooden bellies, grinding my voice finely to the whisper of breath through teeth, he would change my strings and glue back my splinters. Off-key, I appropriate & transform all melodies. Where would I be, without his fingerprints heavy on my fretboard? For these mismatched wires and hair-thin glue lines, I am infinitely indebted.
I only want to say I love you. I love you.
y a-t-il une raison
une raison raisonnable
pour laquelle je me sens ainsi
morte comme après
une bagarre de mots?
l'équilibre émotionnel resemble
un spectacle délicat
un éléphant à gauche
et un souris à droit
même s'il pèse trois mille fois
le poids du souris
l'éléphant a peur
du petit rongeur
y a-t-il une raison
une raison raisonnable
pour laquelle l'éléphant a peur?
y a-t-il une raison
une raison raisonnable
pour les bagarres de mots?
le déséquilibre émotionnel
défi toute raison
Is it really going to be like this forever? This perpetual puffing of the eyes, this unending stream of salt and water--shit fuck I'm tired of choking on my own fucking snot.
The burn is hot, the burn is lively. I can still feel it. Is this how life feels? A burn, then the echoes of that burn? How intense. The echoes, they must be intense-r.
Oh, the man loves me alright, but does he love me enough? Would he choose me over anyone else? Girls he wouldn't. He wants both--both his daughter and his lover. Well, darlings, that is impossible, you see. Every moment--whether of intimacy or common conversation--is tainted and forever shredded in my memory. In a dialogue, at every breath one takes--sometimes even between breaths--she interrupts. Maybe I should stop taking breaths. God, that won't stop her.
I am not sleepy anymore. Sobbing wrenches me out of my stupor, like a bucket of cold water slopped over a drunk's head. My body is cold. The skin is textured, hairless goosebumps appearing everywhere.
I used to be scared that I'd die alone. Now I think I could be perfectly happy dying alone. I imagine lying on top of a great cliff, dressed in warm black clothes, bathing in the sunlight. Sunrise and sunset would keep me company until I died. I'd be happy if I could die warm.
Tomorrow is work. I think I'm gonna call in sick. I am sick, after all.
Reconciliation with Emily. I thought about it in the shower. Hot water always calms me down.
I'm not sad about the way I look anymore. The past few days were strange. The caloric obsessions. The exercise. The fear of eating full meals. The fear of fat.
Right now my arms and legs are slick with sunscreen, though I barely went out in the sun. I am smearing sunscreen--oh the grease, the grease--onto my laptop. I tried crossing my legs, but they just slide off of each other.
I am talking with Ruichen. Another small love. I think he doesn't intimidate me anymore.
People are so full of blame sometimes. Like Wanda. She is my trainer for the fundraising position. We had spoken on the telephone earlier today, and I gave her my address, so that we could meet at 3. As I hung up, I realized that I had forgotten to confirm with her whether to meet outside, or to wait until she called-I live in an apartment building. However, she did not give me her telephone number. I should have asked for it.
To correct this mistake, I go down ten minutes early, thinking that she would pull up by the front door. This, I thought, would save her the trouble of trying to figure out which apartment is mine, and what the buzz code is. However, she does not show up at the front door.
Later, I hear from Alexander that she had called at 2:55. He did not know where I was going, and so he told her that I had already left. She said but it's only 2:55 we had agreed on three. He said that maybe I had gone to meet her. She then said that this is a waste of time.
I do not like being called a waste of time, especially to a third part, before the situation is understood. I do not appreciate it. I do not like Wanda. Does she ever consider the possibility of a miscommunication? It's as much my "fault" as hers. It doesn't matter. People make mistakes. Why does she just assume that I am irresponsible?
I have little respect for her.
Fuck Wanda. I don't wanna do this.
A fleeting obsession, a passing fury--cutting green beans. The cleaver is heavy. After all, it is the family heirloom. God, only the impoverished Chinese peasants on the countryside would think of this--a loaded cleaver passing from generation to generation. Here son! Here is the gift of food! It only makes sense, as the Chinese have been starved for most of their history. I wonder how many fingers this cleaver has sliced? Maybe I should ask my father. What did they do with the amputated fingertips? Perhaps they were so starved for food that they threw the digits into the wok? If so, I've grown up on avulsed human meat. Goddamn, I'm a fucking cannibal!
Anxieties swimming around like the ghosts of drowned ducks in my head. What am I to do? About what? About what? I cannot even find the source of these fears. And yet, they are tearing my brain apart, dendrite by dendrite. Soon I will have no connections. My brain will atrophy into mush--is it going to be the silly putty that slips through your fingers? Make that glow-in-the-dark silly putty, s'il-vous-plait. What to do? What to do?
Here's the stupid thing about having a smart brain. I need to make virtually no effort for school work most of the time. So everything, essentially, is a make-work project. When I have nothing to do, I drown. Viscous guilt suffocates me. Or maybe I am putting things off? Oh come hither, Lady Procrastination; kiss me, kiss me tenderly. When I make out with her, a million bees are buzzing in my head. They make lots of honey. But they also sting.
Bloodletting and miraculous cures. Not interested in bloodletting, strangely enough. My arm is too smooth for it now. Too hairless--like a sphinx. Didn't I tell you that I felt like your cat? Now you have yourself a sphinx. Now we've told them about us, there's no shame in my being your pet.
Allo, allo? Es-tu la? Je suis fille numero neuf.
"Worse still, you don't even show an atom of shame or remorse."
"Why should I? I've done nothing to be ashamed of. I am not ashamed--I am only beaten."
"Pray that your sin of intention, as well as your other sins, may be forgiven."
"I shall pray," she said. "Yes, I shall pray." She paused, then she went on, her voice steady and harder. "I shall pray to God to send Charity into this hideous world, and sympathy for the weak, and lvoe for the unhappy and unfortunate. I shall ask Him if it is indeed His will that a child should suffer and its soul be damned for a little blemish of the body... And I shall pray Him, too, that the hearts of the self-righteous may be broken."
"You lost your faith?" I inquired.
Uncle Axel snorted, and pulled a face.
"Preacher words!" he said, and thought for a moment. "I'm telling you," he went on, "that a lot of peple saying that a thing is so doesn't prove it is so."
"What do you think it is that makes a man a man?"
I started on the Definition. He cut me off after five words.
"It is not!" he said. "A wax figure could have all that, and he'd still be a wax figure, wouldn't he?"
"I suppose he would."
"Well, then, what makes a man a man is something inside him."
"A soul?" I suggested.
"No," he said, "souls are just counters for churches to collect, all the same value, like nails. No, what makes man man is mind; it's not a thing, it's a quality, and minds aren't all the same value; they're better or worse, and the better they are, the more they mean."