Wetness


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Hey there! I'm an undergrad studying English and international student from Shenzhen, CN. A lot of my works deal with expression, languages, and belonging, and many of them are influenced by the  [+]

Image of Fall 2020
Image of Creative Nonfiction
The bed
In the corner of a furnished room
It is purple
It is purple with little flowers, sprinkled on the edge of the linen.
It is...mine.
The room is also mine. The red bookshelf, Death of a Salesman, and their growth of dust
All mine, aren’t they?
Just as I walked out of the baggage claim,
Past the crowds holding little signs,
Into thick air,
the language, how Chinese was breathed through their nostrils and mouths and black hair and beards.
They did not feel like mine.
But they are mine. My parents told me. My passport, my birthplace, kindergarten, elementary school, my middle school, high school.
They entered through my birth cord,
Twist it with coastal warmth, and left a scar that makes my belly button different from all the others’.

The coast. The salt. The wetness.
Have you ever been so close to a place that it touches the inside of your body?
It touches you and it stirs you,
like when you love something so much, it makes you feel sick.
And I carried that nausea with me.
When I wake up on the other side of the big Ocean,
The wetness bloomed in me.
When Chapel Hill rains,
The rain wakes me.
To the distant remembering, of how my friend Irene spits out BTS lyrics and I hated that. I hated her and loved her for that.
Now the rain wakes me to hear it.
Her voice. Korean. Something Asian. The sound of a huge broom brushes over the parking lot under my window. President’s talk. Big economic growth.
And my personality. Oh, my personality.
It exists on some days, if I get lucky.

The rain rouses me.
It drags out the wetness in me
That has nothing to do with North Carolina.
Nothing to do with America.
Nothing to do with being called a person of colour.
I am not
A person of “colour”.
Not American.
Not North Carolinian.
I don’t fall into a colour, nor would one dare to contain me.
I am colourful, I am Chinese, and I can be a little American when I swallow iced coffee.

And don’t look away, this is about you too.
This is about how you read me.
If you are running for governor, don’t stop and keep walking past me,
since I can’t vote for you,
Don’t talk to me, shake hands with me, or put your palms on my body,
Since I can’t vote for anything.
I often fit my grown body into someone else’s tag and belonging,
Layering my colours, till they cross one another’s boundaries and grow into a state of being heavier than I expected.

But with all of this inside me,
I chose to be unpeeled,
I chose to be... unopened,
I innovatively kept the wetness running inside of me.
Just walked past you with some Asian groceries.
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