Tuesday, March 10, 2015

03.10.15 | In the Style of D.J. Waldie


After construction at the gate finally finished, the campus seemed like a scale model. Carbon copy street lamps and newly planted trees stood straighter than soldiers as the road stretched across the campus. We were plastic figurines, all features obscured, travelling about. Used to the root-lifted pavements, we tripped on our feet on the flat brick floor.


Our house was on the corner of the intersection, fenced off by a hedge that was not there in the preview video from ten years ago. The house itself was built 98 years ago and has undergone renovation a number of times to attract students. In this run-down neighborhood a distance from campus, it took a lot more to do so. We chose this house at the intersection but some still called it the “ghetto house”.

A European fountain sat in a corner of the yard but it never had water. The renovators left it untouched. They came one morning without warning to repaint the house and re-landscape the yard. We’ll just be working on the outside, they told us. Don’t mind us.

And at the end of the day they were gone, but the house had a blinding new coat.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

11.01.14 | Apophenia

The universe is trying to tell me something, she thought, when she finished her shower gel and shampoo on the same night. The bottles sighed pomegranate and mint when her fingers embraced them, but they oozed no fluids—they were dry. Empty.
Both of them.
This is rarer than cosmic alignment, she thought.
It’s like— like emptying a jar of peanut butter on the same sandwich as a jar of jam.

And three days later, it happened.
She did not have time to wash the jars before work, so she left them to soak in the sink. She did, however, have time to make coffee and discover that—of course—the lone coffee filter remaining in the carton would contain the last of her coffee ground.

No doubt about it, the universe was definitely trying to tell her something.

Everything’s dying.
In pairs.

And I will die alone.

When predicting a series of coin flips, one typically would not predict more than five heads in a row. The coincidence would be too absurd.
But when a coin is actually flipped and yields ten consecutive heads, people flip.
Statistically speaking, any permutation of such binaries would have the same probability. Heads-tails-heads-heads-tails is just as likely as heads-heads-heads-heads-heads.

That was what she told herself.

Assuming a fair coin, at least.
Coincidences aren’t supposed to mean anything.

The next morning, two doors down.

He held his milk carton vertically over the bowl, and shook it slightly, examining the white beads as they fell. The cereal crumbs that had been at the bottom of the bag now floated at the top of the bowl, trembling as the milk drops struck the surface.

He blinked.
Finishing these on the same day—what could this possibly mean?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

04.15.14 | Blood Moon

I used to see the sky as a ceiling. I was on the Earth, the ground, the world. The moon and sun were just passersby in this skylight window.
But seeing the blood eclipse today—my first eclipse—my perception changed. I imagined the moon there, and the sun behind us, behind the Earth.
I am science-literate. I have learned about the solar system in school and I understand how it works, how there are planets and planetoids revolving around a star, and how moons revolve around these planets. But I never realized how ignorant I was to the astronomical implications regarding the human condition. (Pun not intended.)
The idea that we are now standing between the moon and the sun is profound to me. I stood on the Parkside lawn and looked up. The sun was no longer out there, above our heads, but directionally beneath our feet. But that would be the wrong perspective. "Beneath" implies that I am the center. I am not the center. We Earthlings are not the center. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that our feet are pointing toward the center of not just the Earth, but also the sun and thus the Solar System.
The universe is magical and I am glad to be here, even if we are just "tiny specks on a planet particle".

Saturday, January 18, 2014

01.18.14 | 算命

In Chinese, fortune-tellers are known as calculators of fate. Every person is born under a specific alignment of stars. The fortune-tellers read this. Each canvas of constellations is mapped onto the fetus, forming its skin and skull. The ridges on a palm or the arch of an eyebrow can reveal much more than a résumé.

Friday, October 18, 2013

10.18.13 | Memory

She sits like a man on the bench and leans back, exhaling ghosts into the night. A clang jerks her head upright. An old man is rummaging through a nearby trash can. She watches him fish out a paper wad and open it. His eyes light up with excitement. He gorges on a half-eaten burger. She closes her eyes, and when she opens them again he is gone.
At night the man in the tattoo whispers in her ear. Do not forget the morning I left.
Her diary had been reduced to ashes, some of it blown away by the wind. But her memories stayed. She never forgot. She never will.
To her, “the end of the world” is not an exaggeration because the world ends when she does.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

10.17.13 | Dial Tone

She bit her lip, fumbling with the phone cord. The dial tone blared like a heart monitor.
"Hey sweetie. How've you been? Did you get my email last week?"
"Oh yeah. Sorry. I've been busy... I thought you follow me on Twitter though. Didn't you see my Tweets? Or my Facebook posts?"
"Sorry, I don't go online much... Want to Skype this weekend?"
"I can't. I told you, I'm busy."
"Oh. Okay then. How about next week? Or whenever you're free? Let me know."
"Yeah, sure, I'll let you know."
"How are you though?"
"Good, I guess."
"That's good."
"I won't bother you then."

A month dragged on. No response. She called again.
"Oh, hey."
"Do you know what day it is tomorrow?"
SLAM. "Geez, you called me for that? Tomorrow's Sunday. Don't you have a calendar?"
"I see you still haven't read that email, then. Or you've forgotten already."
"What e— Oh. Oh, fuck. Is tomorrow the 6th? It's April the 6th tomorrow, right? Fuck. I'm so sorry."
"I was wondering if you're free tomorrow. I could catch the 9-o-clock train."
"Yes, of course I'm free. I'll see you tomorrow at the station. Give me a call when you're there... I miss you, babe."
"I love you."
She looked hard at the ceiling. "Mm-hmm."

The next day.
She waited for two hours. Her eyes were red. He didn't pick up any of her calls.
Exasperated, she deleted his number and took the train home. She removed the knife from her purse and placed it back in the cupboard.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

08.27.13 | [Untitled]

Dull orange intoxicates the night,
Casting ghosts on walls
And in pavement cracks.
We too were once ghosts,
Whispering on purple rooftops,
Bathing in moonshine.
By daybreak we donned our skins
And slept.
But one night we lost time—
Dawn cracked without a sign,
And morning swept us away.
When I looked again,
You’d vanished.
I now haunt empty streets
Searching for your solitude.