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 mom is Chinese.”
“You’re from Beijing?” I almost yelled, totally down- playing the cooler fact that he had both Korean and Chinese blood in his body and this latent envy that he was spared an unwanted accent and all the conde- scending fob tags associated with it by merely com- ing to this land three years earlier.
“You’re from Beijing?” I repeated, whispering this time, “Why didn’t you tell me earlier?”
“It’s,” he took a deep breath, folded the wallet and squeezed it back into his tight jeans pocket. “I real- ized something.”
“What is it Jason?”
Jason tightened his grip on the safety railing, tilted his head skywards, and let out a long sigh, “I don’t know man. Are we fascinated with the sky because it’s exotic and different from our lives on the ground, or is it that it’s also above us?”
“Jason,” I repeated. “What is going on?”
“It’s nothing,” he said. “Maybe I’m a little tired. I had three projects this week. Let’s go home man. I’m hungry.”
We walked down the hill, headphones on. We did not talk. Perhaps we were both tired. Perhaps we had already said all there was to say. I was listening to Lionel Richie. I caught a glimpse of Jay Chou playing on his phone screen. From the top of the hill, the horizon appeared extra pink that afternoon. The sun was re- treating from the mountaintop like a scoop of orange ice cream, melting, dripping orange over the trees we could not see. A bunch of couples were on the slope, taking pictures of the scenery. Smoke was dispersing from the distant dining hall chimneys, and the rows
of residence halls below us appeared tranquil for the first time since our arrival, like everyone was out of town. I could not describe the sentiment I was feeling with Jason’s confession and Richie’s melodies. I could only say the sentiment was strong, my head was hot, and that Jason was probably experiencing the same hodgepodge of emotions, though he was listening to a different kind of music.
Yunxuan Li is a senior at Cornell University majoring in Psychology and minoring in Creative Writing and Spanish. He studied writing at Yale, Sarah Lawrence, and Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. He re- ceived an honorable mention in Cornell’s 2019 Arthur Lynn Andrews Award for Fiction.
ifferent in his
dictionary was likely a euphemism
for the word, fobby, or fresh-out-of-the-boat-y.”

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