For the record: breathing is overrated.
The brain can go six whole minutes without any, and I was at a solid three airless minutes when mom finally said; “Okay, bǎobǎo, you can go, but remember your curfew, okay?”

I enthusiastically nodded, as if this whole time my neck and jaw were held together by screws, and mom letting me go to the movies with her tonight instantly made all the screws loose.


She keeps telling me things in that way of hers that either should be illegal or patented, and it’s affecting my ability to remember things like my name and species and all the reasons a Chinese girl might want to avoid falling in love with her 5’4 New-Orleans-born-and-proud fierce-as-fire afro-haired best friend.

Wǒ de tiān na.

I saw her figure standing in front of the cinema, waiting. I was hoping she wouldn’t come. And hoping she would. And hoping I’d stop hoping she would.

“’Sup, Tay? It’s been awhile.” 

She turned around, cracking a smile that reached just below her  eyes.
“If you miss me, why don’t you just come out and say it, Issa?”

I wanted to hold her hand. (It’s right there, it’d be so easy.) To make her mine. To be hers.

But underneath the streetlight, seeing clearly the clash of oil and water, I’m reminded of ‘different’ Uncle Ray. His marriage made people talk – they think they’re complimenting with words like “inspiring” or “courageous”, but I see the pain etched on his partner’s face that he tries to hide.

I don’t want to be a life-changing story, I just want to choose who I love.

And it’s her. I choose her.

As soon as the movie ended, we headed to her house. It’s closer. The streetlight, I reminded myself, always fades in the morning. 

Always fades when dawn comes.

“I love you,” I say to her, only it comes out as “See you tomorrow at school?”

“I love you too,” I say to her, only it comes out as “See ya, Tay.”

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2 years ago

The two figures not only come alive to us but pull us into the current hopelessness of their living. The fact that this can be written gives us hope that the future accepts such love.

Katy Bizi
Katy Bizi(@katy-bizi)
2 years ago

You utilized the formatting perfectly and added a new perspective to the theme “Dawn”. Excellent job and good luck on the competition!

Katy Bizi
Katy Bizi(@katy-bizi)
Reply to  Work Not In Progress
2 years ago

You’re welcome! It’s always nice to read well-written stories! Thank you for sharing your work here on VoiceClub.

Eric Radcliffe
Eric Radcliffe(@eric-radcliffe)
2 years ago

Hi there, I like the way this story bounces from one thought to another, but always it seems with hope, and of course there is always hope if Love is involved! Good write.

Eric Radcliffe
Eric Radcliffe(@eric-radcliffe)
Reply to  Work Not In Progress
2 years ago

The privilege is mine!

Andrew Carter
Andrew Carter(@andrew-carter)
2 years ago

Loved how the smile “…reached just below her eyes.” and how your story encapsulates societal fears. And anyone could relate to the suppressed underlying fears of those last two sentences.

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
2 years ago

Love and hope. The two feelings that keep your story sparkling in my mind. I hope someday that kind of love between two different races will be acceptable and no restrictions.

1 year ago

Hello – I just ran across this story and was captivated by your writing style and the message of the story. My favorite line was “I don’t want to be a life-changing story, I just want to choose who I love.” That says it all, doesn’t it? You’re a good writer – hope to see more stories from you on this site!

Last edited 1 year ago by Fuji

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