TITLE: Seagull Rising
GENRE: Contemporary YA
Give me a well-sharpened knife. I can devein a shrimp in less than five seconds, and fly through a stalk of jiucai, piling it in a mound of green shards, as if it's gone through a food processor. But when I drop the knife and face my life, I wish I were as good with a needle: as good at repairing as I am at cutting apart.
Ayi and I stand elbow-to-elbow at the kitchen counter making jiaozi, Chinese dumplings. Looking at us, anyone would think this was a regular day, because making dinner is something we've always done together. Ayi talks as she rolls out small rounds of dumpling dough with a short rolling pin. Her flour-coated hands work to a rhythm. I nod to the sound of her voice, to the familiar rise and fall of her speech, the tones that make the Mandarin language sound like a song. What the casual observer can't see is how my smile is stretched, how Ayi has to keep blinking to keep tears from her eyes. This is not a normal day. I am reminded with every stroke of my knife, with every pump of my heart. The knowledge hangs over my head like a guillotine ready to fall.
This is my last night in China.