Elizabeth Cheng | Art by Samantha Tang
I’m peeling an orange, bits of hard peel pelting the plastic trash can. The nail guy yesterday was pretty good. And I didn’t hesitate to ask for fixings. I tipped three dollars.
The spray of the orange films on my hands, yellow now white. I try a weird wink but it still gets in my eyes. I was already crying before, but that was on the inside. A real tear is welling now. Somehow I suck it back in.
Today for lunch I hacked some napa cabbage and fluffy white mushrooms. It tasted fine, but not quite like Mama used to have it. The meat was too fatty. It felt like stuff in water, not soup. The fat consumed all the liquid like an ugly oil spill, never taking any responsibility. Dribbling down. I swung the fat on my chopstick. stop drinking my soup. You can’t sit there, say that, and drink my soup. stop drinking my soup.
It wasn’t even hot anymore when I flung it. I could feel a napa cabbage soaking through my sweatpants. Knees, I shoved the chair into his knees, cause you were the one who threw it at me first. Don’t say no more shit. you were the one who threw the water at me first. you were the one who threw the water at me first.
I’ve been taking showers too fast, before the water could even get hot. But today I decided to take it real good, real slow. Let the room get all nice. And when the hot water sunk into my scalp, I could feel every single white scar on my forehead. Every single one. Like they were being washed away, a carcass on its way to the ocean. I wish I could wash them away. My half moons, white and smooth, carrying too much ache and tension and fizz, washed away.
I hope I tipped enough, I really do like the nails. The bits of orange peel are still pelting the trash can, kind of hard. When I get to the end and crack the fruit open, more juices flush out. This time, I don’t cry.