Letters sent by mail are outdated, yes. But they are snapshots of time, the culmination of a friend’s life between the day they mailed their last letter and the moment they sat down to write this new one.
At the time, everyone thought the virus would pass in two months. I thought I’d get home by July 2020. It’s September 2021, and I haven’t been home for 20 months.
There is something captivating about the freedom of the clouds — the way in which they trust that they will somehow float wherever they need to go, if they need to be anywhere at all. They seemed so unlike me, someone always tempted to plan and prepare for the next semester of classes to take, activities to join, or careers to pursue.
What happens when the lost object speaks; when, given these material and psychic limitations, we do try to express our malaise? What forms exist to communicate and grapple with Asian Americans’ public and private racial grief and outrage?