I thought I would handle this better, “this” being the return to my life. But alas. When a co-worker told me that I ought to spend time with my parents, as if I had not just gotten back from a week-long trip, something in me ripped open that I don’t yet know how to close up. And when she proceeded to tell me about her cousin who lived 2 years even though the doctors gave him a week, I tried to reassemble the sharp, broken bits in me into a smile because it was the humane thing to do for her sake.
In my daily life, I do not let people in. There is too much history, too many first-hand experiences of racism and misogyny for me to easily confide in others. So when I told another co-worker how little my dad now weighs, it was half gift, half consession. And when she asked if it was a shock to see him as if I had not seen him in the intervening years through eyes of love and knowing but instead through the eyes of a tourist to the tail of his pain, I extended myself and told her about his jaundice–the first sign something was not right. To which she replied, “Is he Asian?” And when I said no, she responded, “Oh, so you could really see it.”
I am exhausted. And guilty, because I cannot claim ownership of what is his fight. And I am outraged that jaundice may not look so bad on an Asian, that race is ever present, that I have to accept what comes in an environment I was right to be distrustful of. Will I ever forgot the way she laughed when I said my parents would probably not need me? As if that was a joke?
I understand that as people we don’t always know what to say, and I know firsthand how hard it is to put another first. I already feel this anger sprung from hurt passing leaving only the steady fullness of love. But just for now, the hurt remains.