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VIDEO: Twenty Four Hours in Beijing Part I

I woke up on Friday in an incredible amount of pain. My ankle, which I injured the night before during a particularly vigorous game of trampoline-dodgeball, had swollen the point that it looked like a bruised potato with toes dangling off.

Even the slight pressure of my blankets sent rushes of pain through my foot. I tried to get out of bed, failed amid a cloud of expletives, and got back in bed where I tried to fight off the pain by gritting my teeth and growling.

This was the day I was supposed to go to Tokyo by way of Beijing, where I had a twenty-four hour layover. As much as I had been looking forward to this trip, it occurred to me that I might not be physically capable of making it to the airport.

One Year (Part 2)

On Suspended

I broke my ankle the week before my second fall semester of university. Couldn't walk from August to November, a horrible time in my life. Her calls continued, more normal than before but less like talking to a human; they had medicated and rehabbed whatever sanity was left in her out. That December, she visited for Christmas. I had been walking without crutches for seven days when I met her at her brother's house.

She didn't know. I had never told her. She had called maybe four times since my ankle had been broken. There was no point in telling her. If she couldn't remember my birthdate or information I had told her just five minutes earlier (in that same conversation), the ATV accident was a detail she simply didn't need to be bothered with.

The first time I saw her, I almost cried. It wasn't for joy, because the worst was over, or from shock. I fought bitter tears those first several minutes with her. All I had wanted was a chance to recoup and rest from the most stressful semester of my life (18 credit hours of being a music major/ only being in class from late October to final exams/ the whole not being able to walk thing/ Angel). But there she was, hugging and holding on to me as if we hadn't seen eachother in a few weeks, smiling like a kid posing for Christmas pictures.

It was fake. All of it. She didn't want her family to know that we had grown so far apart. I didn't want her family to think that she and I were close. I bit my tongue that whole week, driving her around to see what all had changed since she lived there (about fifteen years ago). Every once and a while she would make an unnerving comment about how nice it was to be together again- talking as if we were best friends that had been separated by trivial forces. Her hourly hugs were creepy and looked more like a cat pouncing on a toy than affection. The always odd sense of humor was at a whole new level of weird- shock therapy, I kept reminding myself.

Angel reminisced about the pretty clothes she used to buy me, puffy dresses and tight clothes I hated. She laughed about playing Barbies with me; I was surprised she remembered, I had only managed to talk her into playing a handful of times (after hours of begging). Just as back then, she tried to buy my love- not knowing how to gain the effortless connection daddy and I had always shared. I didn't want meaningless trinkets as a child and I sure as hell didn't want them as an adult.

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