I am thinking of a night on the hill that overlooks the harbour.
Evening Autumn air nips at my fingers and cheeks. We lie in the damp grass, drinking in the magnitude of the city and sky with greedy, drunken eyes. The horizon ripples. We blink. The night responds in kind: it’s morse code. Blue (for tranquillity); green (for excitement); amber (for heat).
I never dress for the weather. Your hair turns brown-copper-gold in the light. I lean forward and kiss you; your lips are warm and you smell of clean laundry and you kiss me back.
There is something more than myself inside my chest–some unbearable lightness that threatens to topple cities and swallow oceans, until the clouds are stretched to breaking–
though the unsettled world is printed on gauzy layers,
and the evening traffic,
like beaded light upon the bridge;
the harbour’s teeth, sloped into a crooked smile;
the cockroaches scuttling inside terraces and moths fluttering in apartments;
schools abruptly abandoned by four;
churches and graveyards;
the wind itself;
will soon surrender to its gravitational pull.
Inside your soft eyes my face gleams, polished smooth by moonlight. I will not be taken, not yet.
Where do you want to go this weekend?
PLACES IN SYDNEY POPULAR AMONGST ASIAN WOMAN/WHITE MAN COUPLES I HAVE A LOVE/HATE RELATIONSHIP WITH:
Darling Harbour Purikura Photoland in Chinatown Trendy ramen joints White Rabbit Gallery Balls Head Reserve Chinese Garden of Friendship Spice Alley
Why do you care? We’re happy. They’re happy. You don’t know them.
In the evenings after work, I would go to a café to read. Normally, I’d order an iced matcha and sit on the soft leather seats by the window. You know the Edward Hopper painting–the diner? Like that: thick, curved glass, sealing you inside. I’d listen to piano music as I read. You’re much faster than I am. I’d stay there for like, two hours, and when I’d come out, something would have changed in the world outside.
The streets felt more…cinematic? Darkness became something velvet and breathing. Those inhabiting the night or departing from it; the woman crouched in a section of carved-out concrete, the teenage strays, commuters spilling out onto the street; they weren’t rowdy or shrill or suspect, but reborn something beautiful, tethering me to the story. I would walk, entranced by the rushing cars and the insistent traffic lights and the hum of electricity, trying to find the beginning.
That’s how it was, for a little while anyway. But then something would shake me awake; a scuttling in the bushes, a lamp too bright; and I would return to the real world; where nothing is choreographed, but shapeless and unknown.
I don’t like that you punish me.
Tags: F/M, Original Character(s), Alternate Universe – Assassins, Dom!Asian, Assassin Y/N, Graphic Depictions of Violence, Angst with a Happy Ending, Teen And Up Audiences
“If you tell a white girl she’s getting fat, she’ll slap you. If you tell an Asian girl, she’ll go on a diet.”
He laughs, shooting you a conspiratorial glance over steaming plates of whole-fried snapper and salt and pepper tofu and stir-fried green beans with chilli and garlic,
as if you are brothers in arms,
Libertarian guys with Asian wives,
proudly brandishing rifles and home-made T-shirts.
Hidden beneath the trailing sleeves of my hànfú (traditional Chinese dress), my fingers twitch inside their silver armour.
I settle beside the gǔzhēng (Chinese zither). Above the slurred sequence of male voices and clinking shot-glasses and fish eyes slurped and brittle bones chewed and spat into unceremonious piles; my first note quivers.
Silver plucks against string in a gentle cascade as serving women take shape, their bodies soft like clay and the fallen tide. Playing feels like unwinding or un-becoming. Each semitone a half-step away from resolve, as the ache of my father’s anger and my grandmother’s loss; the whispers of a ghost tongue; fall like sand through my outstretched fingers.
Erosion isn’t depletion, it’s comfort. Surrender? Perhaps. But to luxuriate in water…
I play instinctually now. Faster, faster, I pluck. Racing towards crescendo, the room pulled taut beneath me. His pale eyes meet mine. The web shivers. My final note soars, and I lunge–
I clamp my legs around his neck and swing my full weight towards the floor. He crumples into submission, thrashing for breath. I extend mercy, tearing my silver claws into his pale flesh; tattered veins flutter as I pant. His throat is in my hand–and for a moment, everything is warm and wet and sweet.
Until the room erupts into gunfire. I duck behind dishevelled stalls of fruit and exotic meats, pressing myself against the sticky mosaic of blood and shattered glass.
Here I find you, and we crouch together as the bodies fall.
You caress my trembling cheek and I lean into you, livid and live-wired and still in-love.
Come on, little one.
TO STRANGERS WHO ASK I’M YOUR AUSTRALIAN GIRLFRIEND // I’VE WAGED CIVIL WAR WITH MEN WHO TELL ME I LOOK LIKE GIRLS THEY KNEW AND LOVED IN VIETNAM // ON FACEBOOK I FLICK THROUGH FACES LIKE MINE FELLED BY AN UNFORTUNATE SEX ADDICTION // MY YOUNGER SISTER SLIPS QUIETLY TO THE NEXT CARRIAGE AT THE SOUND OF A WHITE WOMAN’S SCREAM // I CRINGE AT MY OWN REFLECTION BUT WHO AM I TO SAY IF TWO PEOPLE LOVE EACH OTHER WHEN THEY SAY THEY DO // IN A HOSTEL IN THAILAND THE MAN ON THE TOP BUNK BOASTS ABOUT IMPREGNATING A SEX WORKER AND WHEN THE MASSAGE PARLOUR IS CLOSED TWO MORE FOLLOW US HOME // I’M TIRED OF HEARING ABOUT MY ALMOND-SHAPED EYES THAT STILL WIDEN OUT OF HABIT IN FRONT OF A CAMERA // MY BABA CALLS ME A BULL BORN IN THE YEAR OF THE DRAGON BUT MY SCALES ARE DULL AND POWDERY AS A BUTTERFLY’S WINGS // YOU TELL ME I WORRY TOO MUCH AND I PROBABLY DO.