Are you here?
Elizabeth Cheng | Art by Katherine Cui
You are not left. You are not right. You are granted.
You should be granted to every human being the moment they descend onto the planet. You should see my soul, just like every other soul out there, a colorless spirit. You come, drop off what you need, and that’s it.
We should take you for granted. This is something that every human being deserves.
But then, why am I here, searching for you?
You are not present, like what my teacher used to say when I wouldn’t respond to the mispronunciation of my name. There’s nothing to take for granted, because, well, I was granted nothing.
I am here, scrounging around with just the change in my pocket and the hope in my heart, looking for you. I am here, all by myself. I am here, on a path of self-discovery, trying to locate the vital thing I need to make my life worth living.
This tiring, endless journey has brought me to where you are supposed to be. Among the blue uniforms, shiny badges, and armed black waistbands. Correcting the wrong, trapping the bad, removing the evil. Inside the gray building, with its unforgiving, sharp edges, sterile glass windows, and manicured front lawn. After all these miles and all this time, is this the place that I’ve been waiting for?
I am here, waiting for you. No matter how hard I must fight, or how demeaning the pain is to endure, I will remain at this very place, anticipating the day you come.
You may be written on paper or talked about by our leaders, but that is not enough. You must be embedded into the people and be at the core of our beings.
The consciousness is leaving my body, the lethargy is taking over. I am stuck, not an ounce of energy left. I reach and reach, but there is nothing.
Suddenly, a sharp pain shoots up my cranium, digging its cold, gnarly fingers, penetrating deep into my skull. I shriek from the depths of my stomach as something black covers my head, then it’s beating me; something blue sending electricity shooting up my veins like an explosive firework, reaching the smallest capillaries of my weak, undernourished body, making itself present as the ruler. The oxygen stops coming and I’m reaching for something, but I don’t know what it is, and all I want is to not go too soon because I’ve fought for too long and I can’t en
A brilliant, soft white wave envelops me as I am released into a magical realm of bliss. My muscles are no longer clenched in anger, my mind has ceased its suffering, yet my heart continues to search. I am floating in the paradise of something better than heaven and, and, are you there? Is this it?
You should have stopped the looks from the people around me. You should have prevented their wrong assumptions and blacked out the ignorance and abuse and prejudice, crushing them to a point of dismantlement of no turning back. You should have stepped on them with the pressure of the ones who were supposed to serve and protect me kneeling on my neck. Grinded it into the earth. Away.
Are you here? No, it’s just what I’ve been trying to escape all this time. You have failed me.
This is not bliss. This is death.