- Subscribe via RSS
Early Wednesday afternoon, I trudged wearily from Sever Hall to Radcliffe Yard. I did not make this journey voluntarily—if it were up to me, I’d spend my afternoon napping. But FM sent me out to investigate this mysterious site, and I took up the gauntlet.
Sometimes, I’ll switch the order to “Korean and Lebanese” if I get an inkling of a certain fever. Or I’ll just say half-Korean, all depending on the read. This isn’t my first time at the ethnically ambiguous rodeo.
My family had recently moved to the United States. We lived in a beige condominium in Bergen County, the most mundanely bourgeois county in New Jersey. It was surrounded by nothing but stretches of concrete. My parents, not too familiar with English themselves, wondered how they were supposed to immerse me in the English language.
When was the last time you danced? Like, really danced—none of that timid head-bobbing or casual side-stepping that people do these days. That shit reeks of non-commitment. I know it can be hard to put yourself out there when everyone’s playing it cool, trying to look composed in front of the cute girl with the done-up hair. But there’s something electric about a humming dance floor packed just tightly enough with bodies, human limbs let fully loose, motions dictated purely by the pulsating vibrations of the music.
“You can write yourself out of anything,” I tell myself as a sort of mantra while I struggle to type up a simple, short lab report for my graduation-requirement science class, one that’s clearly designed for humanities majors but still manages to leave me with a backpack full of returned tests covered in inky red X’s.
“Yes, good. But what are you going to do with your life?” My grandfather, my Dada, leans forward and smiles at me from across the low coffee table that he bought almost 40 years ago.
The drive from Huntsville to Atlanta takes somewhere between three and a half and four hours, depending on how backed up I-75 is, and how scenic you’re looking to get.
There were times when I didn’t love The Crimson, but they are dispersed thinly among moments when 14 Plympton was great to me and so many others.
I was miserable, the thought wheezed, I should go home. And it never quite left. Two months later, when my dog’s cancer was close to consuming him, I called it quits and got on the next flight to Boston.
Like every morning since sometime in seventh grade, I woke up that morning five feet, one-and-three-quarters inches tall, and I will likely continue to do so for the rest of my life.
Over the phone, my mother’s voice sounds the same as mine. Same cadence, same pitch, same laugh that bubbles from nowhere. We walk through the mall, and she criss-cross links our arms. A hat vendor asks us if we are sisters.
“Do you ever”—I broke eye contact for a second—“Do you ever run out of breath?”
Lunar eclipses are traditionally harbingers of some kind, great signals in the sky warning of the wrath of the gods or the terrifying impermanence of the things we hold constant.
After weeks of begging my editor to let me write this story, she acquiesced. I gave up my phone and Facebook account to my roommate. The terms of this experiment were laughably soft. I figured that this week probably best mirrored the conditions for a student in the early 2000s: access to email but not to phones or social media platforms.