Lin Page 8

Mr. Wang. Thank you. Look after him, all right? It's a big responsibility, but you're the first person I've met who might be able to do it.
She bows deeply, and the edge of the umbrella nearly strikes him in the forehead, but he takes an adroit step backwards to dodge it. Silently, he returns the bow.

As the elder Mrs. Chen departs two small children in tank tops and shorts scurry around her legs before being scolded by their parents. She doesn't notice, doesn't mind. Perhaps she is no longer there mentally, she has her body and her distant thoughts and never the twain shall meet. And what will she go back to? A home in Taichung reeking of mothballs, soon to be plowed into earth, reformulated as a concrete avenue. C.J. watches as she

descends the steps to the bottom, the top of her black umbrella like a spinning hole, and disappears.

He pulls out his notepad, makes a few more notes~yes, this is more like it, this feels like progress~and then his pen comes to a stuttering halt on the paper as another wave of hunger hits him. All right, he thinks, this is ridiculous, just find a restaurant somewhere, but he must eat now, it feels as if his body will seize up if he doesn't address this. A girl he was on the run with years ago always sank into a near-frenzy if she couldn't have food after a decent interval, and there was a hellish road trip in which he fed her a dozen candy bars as they drove through the barren desert, miles and miles between rest stops, the supply of candy bars diminishing rapidly, the volume of her voice leapfrogging higher and higher as her hunger increased~