by Yukiko Yoshinaga
We read Ordinary People sophomore year, the book by Judith Guest, and somebody once told me I reminded him of Beth - like I thought if I ran off to some somewhere where the buildings are painted pink like lips and the cobblestones are creamy as the inside of an almond, then the sadness and the crying and the pills, the hurt, the Ds and the Fs, the silence, and the medical bills would all just cease to exist. He knew me very well - I was almost tempted by the thought. The day I wrote the Italian exchange program and told them that I'd changed my mind and I wouldn't be accepting the scholarship for personal reasons, I collapsed onto the bed with my arm flung over my face. There was a muffled thud on the coarse carpeted floor and I rolled over, opening my eyes. It was sort of a revelation - drowsy, but nonetheless a revelation; I saw, reflected in the plastic shrink-wrap over a brand new canvas, this shiny little ball of a soul cocooned in skin like itchy wool just staring back at me. My hair is getting longer, I thought to myself, and hugged a pillow; more is yet to come.
Yukiko Yoshinaga is almost halfway through high school in America.