The business of a city (3)

June 24, 2009

Tian Fu Square, Chengdu
The shopping mall contains a movie theater. One film stars Christian Slater. The poster catches him in an awkward running pose. He is desperate to escape a bullet. I am alone in Chengdu and want to see a movie. It is either this or a cartoon about animals.

San Francisco
Cupcakes, crêpes, a ring bought and then lost, Danish furniture, seals, hip-hop class, bad news from the office.

somewhere in Los Angeles
At ten a.m., I wake in a crib. I am four years old. My family is living in a friend’s garage. I will remember very little about this time, except for the crib, which I will always think as odd to house a toddler. I will also remember a swimsuit-modeling session with my sister.

blind masseuse: She’s ill. Tell her she’s very ill.
she: What did he say? I’m healthy as a horse, right?
translator: He says you need to get more rest, that you seem stressed.
she: Tell him I’m healthy as a horse. I’ve never felt better.
blind masseuse: She’s not well. Tell her.

Karaoke on a bus. Crying in front of the Mona Lisa. Teenage angst. Terrible wardrobe.

One weekend—a play, a castle, a nightclub; McDonald’s for comfort; driving wrong-side up.

Yangtze River
Hang-ups about germs are now gone. I can pee-squat with the best of them; somehow I favor the left leg. The cousins give me a tip: Use your shoe to press the flush button. I nod at them thankfully. But I’ve always done so. Anyway, who cares about germs or catching sight of old women with bathroom stalls wide open as they bounce their last drops, hole facing hole? I’m sailing on the Yangtze Fucking River, man.

Sitting in a chair, pondering the women in my life.

After our final goodbyes to my father’s little sister and her devoted family, I sit in the car facing the window. My mother sits beside me. She leaves me alone. I am sobbing. I am terrible at goodbyes. For twenty minutes the tears come and go. It’s an ache in the heart. My aunt looks years older than my father. She tried to convince him to move back home. He patted her hand and told her to take care of herself, to eat more, to be a good girl. “Yes,” she kept saying. “Yes.”

Santiago, Chile
Two cousins from Nanchong are earning a hard living. I’ve met both—one had stayed with us twelve years ago for a summer to gain her footing in Chinatown’s restaurants, before returning home because she’d partied too hard; the other I met on my trip to China in April, on the last day of his visit. I want to see them again.

At three a.m., soft sand pools between the toes.


7 Responses to “The business of a city (3)”

  1. jadepark Says:

    ok i love THIS too. doing it! you are SO good with settings. i’m learning, i’m learning!

  2. jadepark Says:

    p.s. i love the posts–they are so rich. flash fiction. i especially love taipei. you should submit that/this somewhere.

  3. nova Says:

    wmc: I LOVE THIS.

    Stunning. I’m stunned.

  4. wmc Says:

    Thank you for such kind notes!

    A friend used this form in a short story to amazing effect, which I’d recalled only after having started this post. The next post will follow her direction, wherein some dates will be added.

  5. Jade Park Says:

    i looove interesting story structures. this makes me feel like we should do one writing prompt a week on our blogs! very invigorating.

  6. […] Impressions from the places/cities in which I’ve lived, visited, breathed–inspired by wmc, whose strengths as a writer includes […]

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