Pretty Pennies

Pretty Pennies

Chris Wang | Art by Amanda Dai

9. As we meld into a unified form and dissolve into each other’s arms, we kiss. It is my first time. Two weeks and three silent Skype calls later we break up. I can feel the voice I stole from your lips rise up out of my throat as vomit. I wonder if it’s motion sickness or if it’s detox.

8. I see you again sitting at the corner with your little group, my body threatening to burst into an explosion of butterfly as if you were the southern sun. My legs pass but my mind does not.

7. My graduation gifts are conventional promises that dissipate with the coloring of leaves and unfamiliar addresses I’ll never visit. 555 Dana. 3250 Monroe. 500 Saratoga. Individuals blend into masses within enrollment sheets. I used to love coins but now I just leave them in the tip jar.

6. We meet in lit class. You try to teach me how to run, to caress the uneven ground below my feet. I finish seventh in the 800 meter, muscles stiff and windpipe burning.

5. I swap old friends for beeping time bombs, and I spew the same metallic tones in harmony. I sing along until they run out of notes while others move out of the blast radius.

4. A miscalculated plane ride forces me to attend a different school. At first I am adamant, but I end up choosing not to leave early.

3. I discover a hole in my pocket. Nine quarters tumble through my left pant leg as I hurry to recollect them. Some are inevitably lost in the process, but they are only quarters anyway.

2. I hurtle through the lives of those I leave behind, names quickly forgotten in the presence of new ones. Introductions bombard my ears yet I am free.

1. I pick old pennies off street curbs and start a collection. Change is exciting.