Foreign Matter | Quick Piece

The train rumbled to a stop and a voice overhead announced that it was my stop. I hauled all my stuff down and slowly made my way out of the train. All around me, people were going in all directions. They dragged large suitcases behind them, child in one arm and backpack weighing down on them. I weaved around them with just my backpack, feeling underdressed and without a word, I entered the city. Couple miles that way, I had my senior prom. I remembered learning how to dance and letting myself go among the smiles of my cherished friends, bouncing and swaying to music more fit for the summer. We forgot about our upcoming tests and simply watched the lights swerve around us, so we joined in. Couple miles the other way was where my high school graduation. I remembered feeling the drum line pound their way into my heart, echoing my fears about leaving home. I remembered coming home and letting my fears run down my face. I stood in the open, waiting on my ride. Besides me, couples were saying good-bye, their kisses filling in every gap that couldn’t be said into words. To my left was an elderly grandmother ogling at her new grandson, the mother haphazardly balancing him on her thin hips. The stern look on her face and the distant look on her husband’s face fills in the gaps that weren’t told to the happy grandmother. I continued looking on, waiting on my ride. “Where are you going?” a voice behind me asked, bewildered I spun around and was face to face with an older woman. “Oh, I’m just headed home.” I said, hoping that she would mind her own business and leave me to my thoughts. “Are you a college student?” she persisted. I nodded and tried giving her more than she asked for so she would leave me. I lied and told her that I was going to spend my summer traveling by myself. Her little smile hid her own secrets while taking mine for her own. She sighed and shifted, her small frame leaning against her massive suitcase. “Where in China are you from?” My throat closed and I squinted, unfamiliar with the single question I avoided being timelessly asked. I lied and told her that I was from the middle of China and she started telling me about how she was also from the same area. It was such an obvious lie because my face gave it away – my wide forehead, my strong jawline and my flat nose told her that I was from the South. After a couple moments of silence, I spotted my ride. I wordlessly slipped away and rumbled down the sidewalk to the family van. My dad quickly launched into tell me about what the family was up to, occasionally turning towards my stoic face for a response. I gave him short answers because my mind was too occupied to think that even as I traveled through my hometown and even as I talked with familiar faces, I remained a foreign matter. I felt like an outsider to myself. I watched my friend’s houses fly by like I was a tourist just stopping by. I arrived at my doorstep feeling the chill hit my face like the first time I walked into a local museum. Foreign again, I take my first step.

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One thought on “Foreign Matter | Quick Piece

  1. Pingback: Foreign Matter | Quick Piece Breakdown | Perpetual Ponderings of Alice Chen

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