By Kawika Guillermo
The sun hovered above her, towering at its apex. She lay on a thin towel, her toes digging into the hot surface of sand, a giant pink rose upon her single piece swimsuit. Even on Kailua Beach, she wouldn't wear a two-piece, and if there was ever an optimal time to do so, surely a one-week vacation in Honolulu was the time. She had considered the thought, that emergence from her puerile shell. After all, she had been born on the island, and dozens had probably seen her naked before she ever had the premonition to cover herself. Seventeen now, she was still the only one on the beach in a single-piece; even the children weren’t so self-conscious. She liked her suit nonetheless, the way it hugged her like a seatbelt.
Her cell-phone buzzed from beneath her yellow beach-towel. It was a text message from her boyfriend, Union, and she had to lift her sunglasses to read it:
What was his name?
In truth she couldn’t remember the man’s name from the night before. Lampa was the name of the man’s friend, and they were both native Hawaiians, besides, it didn’t really matter anyways, since Union would never meet them. At any rate, the beach had high demands against nostalgia.
She watched a family of Hawaiians walk by. The father was a stout tribal king followed by two young boys throwing sand in each other’s eyes. Even with her mixed Philippine blood, she was amazed at how much they looked like her. Her cheeks were in the locals, her wide, oval cheeks that she despised. They were the cheeks of her father, a man who she had never met and knew nothing about, except that he was born in Hawaii. But she loved the brown skin that her father’s genes had blessed her with. She was a more exotic, rhythmic Las Vegas girl, the brown-skinned beauty, friend to all, lover to many—but her hair, that was her mother’s side, the hairy Scots. Indeed, her arms were the hairiest on that beach, each limb infused with her mother’s whiteness, bleeding though her skin. She left it to the sun to burn her back to that stunning bronze of a traveling young coquette.
Abigail tried to recall the previous night for him.
We were in the
She wrote it quickly, having mastered the keypad.
I told him that my
bra itched and that
he should feel it. I
grabbed his hand.
And put it on my
She waited a moment for a response, but thought he might be too enthralled.
When we got to the
bar he parked in
the back. He kissed
me, first on the
She had been buzzed at the time, and tried to remember the details better, given that it was the details that really excited him. She grabbed on her own inner thigh, clutching it, testing the rawness of her own flesh. Did he touch me like that?
I moaned when he
kissed my neck
Her younger brother, Manek, emerged from the blanket of ocean. His body was that of a skinny twerp, thinner than herself, which was reason enough to beat him from time to time. A heap of sand puffed into the air as he lied down on his white beach towel and said nothing. She had moved his towel a good distance away from her so that he wouldn’t be confused for her boyfriend, since nobody could tell that they were related. He was half black, thin, and had not a single strand of hair on his body besides his head and crotch. Yet, as with Abigail, the hair gave his race away. His black father was clearly visible in his untamable curly hair, which exposed itself in a quasi-afro. Not even the ocean water could flatten it.
She had forgotten Union. Where did she leave off? Oh yeah, the neck.
Sorry. He went
straight for my tits
That might have been an exaggeration. Perhaps it just felt like that’s what happened.
He took out his
She was going too fast. He liked details, to know how she felt.
I squeezed the
back of his head.
His tongue was
tickling my ear
She thought for a moment.
I thought i was
going to orgasm
“Tell him about the money,” Manek said, unmoving. He may have had a different father, but his skin was equally exotic to hers. It glistened in the sun like a polished wooden table. “He’ll like hearing about the money. Trust me.”
It hadn’t been the first time that she was offered cash for sex, but it was the first time she had accepted the exchange. Really it wasn’t that hard. The man gave her the money as she was getting out of the car. She wasn’t a whore, they had met at a bar. Perhaps he was just tipping her for being so malleable in bed—she let him try just about anything, knowing Union would go wild at any taboo behavior. Whatever—she had taken the money and now intended to buy new shoes. Cash was always more honest than a kiss goodbye.
“He’s been waiting for something like this,” Manek said. “He calls you a slut, you might as well tell him about the money. It’s just two adults doing what adults do. You, the nympho, get your nymphoness out for a day. Plus cash. I’m jealous. Why can’t I do that?”
She was silent. She knew that Union would probably get off if he knew about the exchange, but she left it out anyway. His fetish with her sleeping with other men started on Christmas, that ominous holiday, when Union gave her black see-through lingerie, and then later suggested that she model it for other men, just so they could get jealous of him. Then later he gave her permission to kiss one, if she wanted. Then when she went and cheated on him he asked for the details, and suddenly, for the first time, she was able to get him off. Of course her lifestyle had resulted in the occasional herpes scare and love triangle nonsense, but otherwise she was proud of her abilities to please him with stories—stories about love, about her body used and abused by others, about her moans and how different it was and how she felt no guilt over any of it. She and Union had rarely had sex, had blamed it on themselves rather than each other, but they could always make love through stories. With every word she spoke she was thrusting into him, penetrating his frail sensitivity with adulterous episodes.
Abigail finished her story about the previous night, ending with herself shredding the stranger’s skin in orgasmic embrace, feeling lumps of his dead skin forming in her fingernails. When Union didn’t respond back she figured he had climaxed.
In the late afternoon, the air had thickened on the Hawaiian island. Abigail couldn’t imagine ever getting used to it. Already she missed the arid heat of Las Vegas. There, Abigail could hide from the sun in the shade of an awning or umbrella, in the air-conditioned casinos, movie theaters and shopping malls. But in Hawaii there was only outside, and the heat followed her in the scents of the air, the breath of the natives hanging in a humid heat, the water flowing in and out of the body with every breath, the scent of sewage and flowers sharing the same moisture as the oxygen.
As soon as she had finished her conversation with Union she received a text from the man from the night before—what’s his face—inviting her to his family’s potluck, and she figured she’d go as she hadn’t had real roast pig since she was a child. It was better than spending the evening touring the shops with her mother, unable to spend the money that she had earned whoring herself off. With only enough time to return to the hotel, she left her brother on the beach.
In the backyard of the man’s uncle’s father’s something’s house, in an atmosphere of smoky grills and short sharp grass, Abigail found herself surrounded by large men, all either fat or bulky or muscular, exhausted women, and countless children acting somewhat deaf to their mothers who, every now and then, screamed at them until they were out of sight.
“You know I ‘ope dis not like weird fo you,” said the man she had slept with the night before. She had decided already to think of him as the one-night stand guy, to hopefully keep him limited to that single, ambiguous role he had played in her vacation. His real name, she had discovered, was nothing exotic at all like “Lamba,” but was merely “Mark,” a name so phonically similar to her brother’s name, “Manek” that to ever kiss him again would give her the creeps.
“No, your family’s really chill,” she said.
“Ho, I sorry ‘bout my muddah.” He talked to her in-between chews of rice and pork. “She always like dat to haoles.”
She had heard the word haole before, but never asked what it meant. Whatever it was, it was apparently her. “Your mom was cute I thought.”
“Ho God!” he said, putting down his plate. He was shirtless and didn’t notice when a bunch of rice fell from his mouth to his stomach.
“And this city is so beautiful,” she said, meaning Kailua, a suburb just north of Honolulu.
“Dis is da real Oahu,” he said. “Da t’rown out part. Dere’s problems wit our city.”
She had thought as much, with the decayed faces of Mark’s aunties, the suspicious glares of his uncles and father. But wait—she thought, wasn’t she half of them?
She humored his accent and knowledge of the island, trying to avoid the smoke coming from the nearby barbecues and the lines to the buffet tables growing in her direction, until she noticed the eyes of a short Hawaiian woman staring at her in some spiritual fascination. The look was not welcoming like the others, but was that sort of local eyeballing she also gave to tourists in Las Vegas, that look she reserved for privileged white people any time she went to eat at an ethnic restaurant. It was also that look of a person trying to guess her race, staring at her enigmatic face as if trying to decipher the attitude behind the Mona Lisa’s smile. Good luck.
“Why you not eat?” Mark said. “You not like Hawaiian food?”
She looked down at her plate. The smell of roasting pork was all around, and usually she would have eaten half of the pig, if they would have let her. “I don’t know,” she said. “It’s not that.”
“I’m nauseous. It’s the heat, I think.” Her gaze led to the hills that walled off the island’s center. Like her home, Las Vegas, the island too was a valley.
“This is where the Japanese planes flew in,” Mark said, suddenly losing his pidgin English. “They used it for cover from the anti-air guns. That was a long time ago. Now all us locals live between the mountains, the tourists took away the beaches. We’re just locals living in a tourist’s island.”
She thought he must have been lying. Her old family had lived on the beach. “In Las Vegas it’s the opposite,” she said. “The tourist’s have the Strip. We’re pushed to the sides.”
“Not so,” he said. “Yo all da same cola. No push.”
She would have offered a retort, if not for the sudden rainstorm that whisked them into the house, the entire family retreating with them. The rain pattered on the wood-boards of the deck as hard as hail, while two of the older women ran about the deck, saving the hung-out clothes and buffet plates from the rain. A lawn chair propelled by the wind suddenly rammed into the sliding glass door protecting them, and then went tumbling down the rocks leading to the beach. Abigail watched he palm trees leaning to the West, imagined them in synchronized dance. The rain spilling onto the porch reminded her of the Vegas lights pouring into every house.
Suddenly she had to vomit. Perhaps it was something she ate while on the beach, that manapua, that spam musubi, or those white chocolate pretzels. But this type of vomiting was really more of a seven in the morning thing, not seven at night. She made her way past rows of framed family pictures towards the toilet, followed by the clip-clap of wooden sandals. She looked back and saw the old woman who had been staring at her, now chasing her with a gigantic black book in her hands. “Wait, you wait,” the woman said as Abigail retreated from the woman like she was a ghost, then realizing how rude it was to do so, turned and made some attempt to withhold her stomach compulsions.
“Who is yo’ mom? Yo’ muddha?” the woman said. She had a face that may have been a perfect circle, her hair hung like seaweed just above her shoulders, and she was soaked from head to toe. She began shaking Abigail’s arm with wet, small hands. “Yo’ mother! Look. Is dis she?” the woman pointed to the book, a photo-album that was twice as wide as the woman herself. Sure enough, there was a far younger version of Abigail’s dominating mother, back when she was only a white, long-haired teenager of sixteen or seventeen, holding a cigarette and wearing a lei, wearing the same librarian glasses that she still wore, sitting in a wooden chair on a deck surrounded by Hawaiians whose faces could barely be made out. Her mother was the only white woman at a Hawaiian potluck.
“Is dis her? Is dis her?” the old woman said.
The woman flipped through the other pictures in the album: a circle of dancers, some in grass skirts. Her mother, who would grow up to be the successful business woman—this is what she did as a teenager. Getting down with a circle of indigenous, going native all the way, her white skin peeking out like a nude, marble statue in a museum. Abigail couldn’t speak. Her body felt naked. She felt the air around her seeping like steam into her core. There were pictures from a large wedding, where her mother was the bride. The man next to her—could that be her father? Suddenly Abigail felt the mist crawling in her stomach, a visceral body-shot of her hairy arms, widening stomach and inner thighs.
The woman was crying. “You’re Abigail. You’re Abigail.” It was Abigail’s expression that gave it away. That look of dread and fear, that tremulous comportment that made her jaw tremble—it was a lot to handle at one time, and she chose the most immediate priority, jetting to the bathroom, letting her vomit spill into the toilet. This was the third time in the week, and she knew well enough by now to flush during the process.
“Look, look,” that damn voice coming from behind the bathroom door, followed by the slow, tapping of a zombie trying to get in. “It’s you,” the voice said. “Dis picta is you!”
Abigail didn’t wipe her mouth, but somehow crawled to the doorway. Under the door, the woman had slid a picture of a small infant on an old man’s knee. The man had a clownish grin. “Do you got it?” the voice said. The girl in the picture had no pants. She was oblivious, her eyes locked onto the person holding the camera. Her arms were completely hairless. The old man was not a native, but a tanned white man in a Hawaiian shirt unbuttoned at his chest, exposing his graying chest hair.
“Who’s he? Who’s this?” Abigail said.
“Dat’s yo’ granddaddy,” the voice said. “He German. He pass last year.”
Jesus Christ, she thought, expelling the roasted pig into the toilet water. I’m German too.
For the remainder of the vacation, Abigail was convinced that she would run into her father. It had turned out that the old woman was the best friend of her father’s sister, and now that word had gotten out that Abigail had returned, people would be looking for that little hopa infant who had been shoved by her yuppie mother from one tourist city to another. As she walked through the Aloha flea market, trying to decide what kind of tourist trinkets to spend her whoring money on, she began to notice the diffident stares of the Hawaiian locals, which she usually assumed natural for a girl of such mixed race, but now she guarded herself against these stares, frightened that at any moment they might assault her with tales of a childhood long forgotten. Her father could be any one of them; any Hawaiian local was suspect, any could have been her cousin; her niece or nephew. In the tans of the Hawaiian sun, it didn’t matter if they had descended from Chinese, Japanese, or whatever—she couldn’t tell the difference, and besides, they all shared that same shiny brown glare, a tad darker than hers. Four days into her vacation, and now the only thing she wanted from the island was to get the hell off of it.
She and her brother Manek walked through the spectacle of native culture, most of it grossly exaggerated. Most of the small booths at the flea market around Aloha stadium sold electronic and house-hold trinkets, but Abigail decided that the necklaces and shoes made the trip worthwhile, and found some playful escape in the giant pink balloons in the shape of pigs, the pillows shaped like geckos, the fresh strawberries in Styrofoam boxes, the variegated ukuleles with hibiscus patterns, and the young shirtless Hawaiian men with cavalier smiles speaking that barely comprehensible Hawaiian pidgin. The market made a circle around the stadium, and was perhaps the largest market she had ever been to. Like the Strip in Las Vegas, it seemed to simulate a culture fully unrealized, one sold in trinket form to fill up the knick-knack sections of the home and office.
“I’m so jealous, I hate you now,” Manek said. “I deserve to be German. You’ve never even read Hesse or Schiller. Du kanst Deutsche sprechen nicht. Freude schöner gütterfunken…” He sang something in the tune of Ode to Joy, and though Abigail was sure that he could have gone on for hours with the ridicule, he kindly stopped and touched her shoulder, perhaps to remind her he was still her half-brother, German or not.
They passed by a group of tourists in colorful Hawaiian shirts, all of them wearing sunglasses, none of them wearing sandals. They smiled when they saw her, when they saw anyone. Do they see a native? She had been practicing the Hawaiian pidgin and was convinced she could pull it off if necessary.
“I’ve decided to write a poem to Union,” Manek said, shuffling through a box of colorful geckos. “Titled: ‘A Paean to Union.’ People will think I’m talking about the concept. Or the Civil War.”
Abigail pulled up a gecko carved from wood, wearing a cowboy hat. “Dat’s healing gecko,” the old woman behind the counter said. Abigail knew the whole spiel about Hawaiian magicians, but couldn’t picture the gecko-cowboy as a sacred object at a séance. It was twenty dollars, and she might have bought it, considering she had just run into more money. She had counted it the previous night; the man had given her seventy bucks after sex. It was a lot, but nowhere near what she needed if she was going to stop herself from throwing up in the morning.
She checked her cell-phone:
Im at the zoo right
now. Its a piece of
It was only Union and not her father.
What animals are
chickens. Luv ya.
“I noticed you this morning,” Manek said, hands in his pockets, walking coolly. Everything about his composure would always belie what he was talking about. “If you need to borrow money, I’ve been saving up from working at the movie theater. Of course, you’ll have to tell mom. Stupid Uncle Sam.”
Abigail said nothing, but caught herself wondering if they had an uncle named Sam.
“Life, liberty and property, that’s all the government needs to worry about,” Manek continued, his eyes engaged in an anemically thin girl sitting behind a tray of trinkets. “Who are they to tell you that you have to tell mom before you can have an abortion? She’ll understand anyway, maybe. But seriously, who the hell are they? We should be free to do that.”
The word “abortion,” now unveiled, seemed to release a ghastly presence, as the heat of mid-day finally fell upon her. “Free? Free to fuck-up?” Abigail said.
“Exactly,” he said. “Free to fuck up.”
She moved towards a shaded park bench, wondering if the headache she felt was from a lack of caffeine or from her morning sickness. Manek returned with spam musubi and they ate, surrounded by children who sometimes stared at them with apprehensive faces.
“Union, exemplar of man,” Manek said in a seafaring voice. “For all men to carry your fetishes, to withhold jealousy, glare into the void, oh Union, man par excellence, if all men were you, harmony and enlightened thoughts only. All of men and their brothers, get off on her cheating, daughter’s of Elysion, come and screw, join us in this jubilee, for your men get off on it.” He laughed but she wouldn’t join him. “What is it?” he said. “I’m not cock-blocking you, am I? I’ll sit over there if you want.”
She put her uneaten musubi on the park bench and looked up to the clouds. They were bigger than in Las Vegas, like leeches sucking the blueness out of the sky. “I’m not sure,” she said. The words seemed to stop the flow of the world. She couldn’t look at Manek but knew she had destroyed something, something precious. Maybe she was just trying to psyche him out. She realized that she only had five seconds to make the whole thing a joke and the awkwardness would pass, and the flow would continue. He knew it too. But she couldn’t say it, and when the five seconds were gone he spoke: “Well, that would be the traditional way to go. But you’re always the one who says that you’d be at the clinic in no time. What about Summer? You helped her pay for hers—practically forced her to get one.”
“I know,” she said, though she certainly didn’t force anyone. Perhaps she had just been watching the children in the park for too long. Was it too late for it all to be a joke? It was. A child wearing a white and pink lei fell onto the grass, not a long fall for the child, who simply got right up and checked the flowers to see if any had broken.
“This is sociobiology, it never fails,” Manek said. “Your maternal instinct is kicking in. You feel abandoned by your father, so you can’t abandon—this thing. It’s the same as a parasite, it has the same qualities. Think about your life. You have nothing to offer a child.”
Her face was reddening and still he continued. She dove into tears and the children around her noticed and he still wouldn’t stop.
“Think about how life has been for mom, you want to go through that? Remember when she used to tell us about the way people stared at her in church? You want to go through that? There’s nothing harder than being a single mom, and no offense, but Union’s a moron. You want him as the father? Think of the genes.”
She kept her eyes closed but that made it worse. Manek wouldn’t let up, and very soon he was becoming a voice in her head, turning into German shouts over a city-wide intercom, words she couldn’t understand but she could sense their anger. He was trying to cast something out of her but the demon wouldn’t leave. Her body shook.
“Abigail, think of mom,” he said, finishing her off. “No man will ever want you again.”
She would have hit him, on most occasions she would have, but if she did that she’d have to keep beating him until he couldn’t stand again, she’d have to drive a tiki pole right through that ‘genius’ brain of his. Instead she pushed him like a child and left him there with the local children, marching back to the hotel, hiding her face in case an aunt, cousin or niece recognized her. Along the way a thunderstorm passed and she walked barefoot through puddles created by the concrete holes on the sidewalk. Even in the shade, the heat spread to her through the air.
When she arrived at the empty motel room she cried into the pillows, for hours; it was worse than throwing up, and she wondered if her mother had done the same when she was pregnant with her. “Get me off of this island,” she kept saying into the pillow. Away from the natives who looked more like her than her own family. Away from the trinkets, the invading heat, the sudden storms and giant mountains that made her feel claustrophobic. Back to the minus space of Vegas, place of no surprises, where friends and schools and familiar bike paths were waiting for her routines. She searched for the copy of her birth certificate that her mother always kept in her suitcase, hidden behind pages of printed-out e-mails and talking points. Printed in small engraved blue ink at the bottom was her genetic make-up: German, Chinese, Hawaiian, Scandinavian, Native American. The wildcard in a deck of masters and slaves.
She lay like a cat perched in the stale sunlight through the window. She thought that maybe she could round up some cash from her friends to pay for the abortion. She had nearly a thousand saved up from her job at an arts store. Then the seventy dollars. How many more seventies would she need? She’d never had an operation before. Was it an operation, or a procedure? She thought of a gigantic machine with electric antenna, moving near her legs—how more vulnerable can a girl become? It would make an interesting porno. But how is it even possible? In her physics class she had learned that it was impossible. Potentiality cannot be destroyed. The example: A bottle of cola. Potentially, it could fill to its intended purpose. Nothing could take that away. You had to break the bottle. Maybe she would only stay in the hotel, small as it was. In that free-floating dizziness after hours of sobbing, she was actually considering Union as a father. She might have been joking, and she had five seconds to make it funny somehow. When she received a text message from Manek she tossed the phone onto the floor. Once she had destroyed her phone with a hammer in the middle of her job at the arts store, just to prove to an ex that she wasn’t interested in him, but now, without an audience, it would be pointless.
The cleaning lady interrupted her. Abigail instantly recognized her as a Filipino maid, the same type she had seen carting about in Las Vegas hotel rooms on nebulous morning-afters, before text-messaging Union to tell him all about what she had done. The woman spoke no English to her, but simply cleaned the hotel room around her with a finesse Abigail had never seen before. How routinely the sheets, sprawled onto the floor, were hampered, and new sheets were tossed into the air and tucked beneath the mattress; how swiftly the counters were sprayed and rubbed in circles until the rosewood shone like new, how gracefully were the tissues folded into little doves, only to later be ruined by a single touch from the patron. It all happened instantaneously, as if time had stopped for a few small details. After the maid left, Abigail was shocked to find the coffee beans, toilet paper, tissues, toothbrushes, shower gels and soap had all been replaced, even while Abigail had been focusing on her, the maid must have worked faster than Abigail’s very eyes.
Finally Abigail left the hotel and found the sun still out, sinking into the horizon like quicksand. It had felt like an eternity with her face in the pillow. She read the text that Manek had sent:
Really sorry. Sorry.
Come to the beach
and ill apologize
Her sandals made clacking sounds until she met the sand, and in the sunset over the ocean everything was purple. A crowd of natives lined the ocean, looking out at the water, none of them daring to go in. It took her a moment to realize that a disaster had occurred. The sea waves were completely empty and families were gathering their towels to disperse. Abigail dragged her eyes down the beach, saw the waves seeping through the sand, but her brother was nowhere to be found.
Abigail found Manek’s white towel in the same place where they had sun-bathed the previous day. On top was a left-open black book, thin and covered in sand. He was gone, and nobody was in the water. Instantly she felt a bubble in her stomach, boiling about her heart, pumping vomit into her lungs. A fat white tourist told her what happened: A young boy. A school of jellyfish. Stung from head to toe. Paralyzed. The thought penetrated her like a virus, first she sensed it in her stomach, and then it spread to every vein in her body, manipulating her blood stream. She shook violently, her voice shouting for her, scratching her throat as if she were possessed by a poltergeist. She didn’t recognize the screams. The tourists around her were concerned, but the concern wasn’t enough. The shock had passed for them. “They should have put up a sign” one of them said. “It could have been anyone of us.”
On the way to the hospital she tried to parse out everything that was going on. Was she going to the hospital for Manek, or for her morning sickness? She was waiting for the rug to be pulled out from under her, for the big Other to come out and reveal that it was all a joke. Whoever it was, she thought, they have five seconds to make it funny or else it really is a serious, miserable life.
They weren’t prepared for her at the hospital. She kept saying “my brother my brother,” but the nurses only shrugged. She didn’t look anything thing like Manek. Since they had never taken a family photo together, there was no picture for them to go by. If he were here, she thought, he might find the whole scene laughable. “You’re reenacting the Oedipus complex,” he would say. “You wanted me dead, you imagined killing me over and over, and now that it actually happened, you feel guilty.” He had told her something like that whenever she hit him and apologized, or that time they were playing flashlight tag and he fell in a sudden shock from her flashlight, his head bleeding open from the corner of a table, the blood seeping through his afro.
The nurse took her down the hall, where she was put face-to-face with a Hawaiian boy with a half burnt face.
“Yo’ sista’s here.”
Her hand went to slap the woman but ended up in a fist to her left breast. In the sudden after-shock, she kicked at the bed stand, screeching like an animal and gnawing her teeth at the woman, “My brother! My brother!” Besides a look of squelching pain, the nurse didn’t call security; perhaps she too was in shock.
“Manek. His name is Manek.” she said with dominance. “Jellyfish sting.” The nurse flipped through her charts and found nothing. She went on the intercom but no response came. They searched two floors before they found him.
He had been stung in ten different places, had been paralyzed and had swallowed a lot of water. He was alive, but in terrible pain. When she found him his hair was still in that gigantic, ridiculous afro that not even a near-death experience could flatten out.
“They told me to pee on myself,” he said. “It didn’t do jack shit.” Nearby, long purple strings stuck out of a bowl, covered in sea-foam. “Those were the tentacles that that son of a bitch stung me with.” She could see the marks on his neck and face, lines of boils covering his body. “Don’t tell mom,” he said. “I can pay for it myself, since you won’t be needing the money.”
She left the room without a word, and spent some time sitting on the lobby chairs. The news was on, but her eyes saw nothing. She only heard her own breath. She checked her cell phone and saw that she had missed a message from an unknown number.
Abby. This is daddy.
Been a while, yah?
Youre 17 now. I
wonder about you.
I wonder what kind
of person youve
grown up to be.
Maybe we can meet
and you can tell me
about your life.
What is it like to
grow up in las
Abigail shut the cell-phone. She took some sips from a cup of coffee that one of the nurses had brought her, and then tried to hold back her laughter as she replied to him:
I’ve decided to keep
Kawika Guillermo is a Ph.D. student in Asian American literature at the University of Washington. He also writes short stories.