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The Model of Everything but a Good Time

Melinda Shen '24

People who look like me were always the best at getting things done, at least that's what I've been told. But I'm not really good at doing things if you look at it closely. I shift myself in and out of focus and let me lose the way I see you. I should be good at this but I'm not. Most of the time I don't know what I'm doing but I do it anyway. I think this is what you mean when you say this.

What does it take to impress you? More than you’d think. And goodness is qualified by the number of things you think about at once, everybody knows this. I watch TV and wonder if I am enough.

I sit on my phone and wonder if I am enough. I fix my hair in the mirror and wonder if I am enough. I set powder on my face and wonder if I am enough.

Maybe if I sit here long enough I can build myself up like old stone bricks, each one carefully placed but crumbling. If I do it enough times I'll learn to do it right. Maybe this time, I say to myself, the stress working my mouth like a puppet. I sit here and let the world devour me.

Make me important, that's all I ever want. I am porcelain and dry kindling, flint and steel lighting sparks at the nape of my neck. Am I not real enough to do this?

You're always asking for a story so here: I was never the kind of person who thought like this, growing up I was never the kind of kid who needed this like the smell of food from the kitchen downstairs. I was molded into this kind of hunger, eroded by the wind and water and too many nights up late. Pat me on the back and your hand sinks in like quicksand. I wait in line and wonder if I am enough.

America points its finger so the rest of the world has to kneel. America says sit so I sit and I look at myself in the mirror and I fix my hair. I am never sitting in school classrooms and I am always inside my head. The truth of the American dream is cold and sad.

Nothing can fix me like the sound of my own voice and the feeling of being ripped in half. What does it take to impress you?

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