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Choose Your Own Adventure

Choose Your Own Adventure

You thought it took more than television to chase off menopause, but your mother solely relied on The Legendary Birthplace—and occasionally the house floor—that summer. You attentively observed the pale-faced girls dressed as virgin ghosts. Vengeance, everyone knew, was what made them ghosts—their combination of regret, sorrow, and anger kept them in the limbo world. Though they did not always remain to wreak their vengeance. You categorized some as warnings that they judged necessary.

Each time a virgin ghost flashed onscreen, your father ripped the remote from your mother’s hand. Your mother slapped his knuckles. She repeatedly reminded him that ghosts were fake. Plus, they didn’t use weapons, only flashlights. What harm could they be? Your mother clucked her tongue and you raised an eyebrow whenever your father overreacted. It was as if he were one of those men who always felt the virgin ghosts were coming for them. What had they done that made them think they were to be the targets? You felt something between pity and glee. You didn’t have to wonder far about what your father’s grievous sins might have been. You eyed your mother and saw the tips of her ears lifting. You could guess why your mother watched the horror series. You liked the concept of an afterlife that wasn’t heaven. Like the virgin ghosts, it was also in your nature to never forget.

Your chance at an afterlife came earlier than you expected, and you didn’t mind. You were on the bus back from your unpaid internship. You weren’t much of a complainer. You, like most of the unemployed population, accepted it as a necessary path. Your internship was going to end up as a single line on your resume. You didn’t expect much other than the task of making coffee and photocopies. The full-timers advised you to get married early and have children—how else would you repel the bosses’ creeping hands that freely explored your thighs? They informed you it would be less so when you return as an ajumma. But you knew your parents wished for you to marry in your thirties. They were expecting at least five years’ worth of your salary before you tied the knot with a stranger. But, on that bus, you had let go of the bar to turn and confronted the ass-pincher’s shameless face. While you were free-handed, the bus braked and your neck snapped. You learned later that a motorcycle had intercepted the bus. It didn’t matter to you how you died except that the ass-pincher hadn’t. (Read More)

 
Art Credit.  Tianhua Mao.

Art Credit. Tianhua Mao.