Death of an Ability
IT HAPPENED TWO DAYS AGO. I was wearing an oversized red T-shirt from a cherry blossom festival at our cluttered kitchen table. I was pouting about something and Jaryd said that I reminded him of Anna pouting from "Frozen" and wanting to play with Elsa. So he turns on the song. I can sing all the princess songs. Then the Belle song came on — the one where she's in the village — and that one was OK. Then it was "Part of Your World", and in the middle of the song, I realized I wasn't going to hit the high notes. I could just tell by how I was struggling with "you want thingamabobs" that I was going to struggle with "where they stay all day in the sun." Jaryd said I still sounded like a princess.
Anne Yoshizawa, age 28
Death of a Dream
MY FRIEND TOLD ME about a contest that only required a paragraph about when I realized the death of something. I was excited to write. Then she told me what the prize was.
Andrew Park, age 28
Death of Filial Love
I WAS ON THE BUSES organizing people for more affordable Metro costs when I got the call. I even remember what I was wearing and my friend was staring at me the whole time. It was my mom and she said, "I told your dad. You can't come home anymore." And that's when I knew. I thought no matter what, my parents would love and accept me and that's not true anymore.
Gonji Lee, age 28
Death of a Sister
I WAS 8 and she was 12. We had been walking around the kitchen when one of our fights flared up on the issue of breathing the same air. Our screaming pitched a note we didn't know was humanly possible.
My grandmother came out, made her way to one of the drawers and forced a butcher knife each into our hands. She told us to kill each other if our hatred was so deep. My heart was beating out of my chest, wondering if my sister actually had the gall, and I was torn between my shock and my self-preservation. We stared at each other for two minutes before throwing the knives in the sink and walking away. I had already read in her diary all her loathing thoughts towards me, but it was the first time I found such accusation in her eyes.
From that point on, everything was my fault. From that point on, I had no sister.
Drizelle Baluyot, age 22
Death of Self
SHE BROUGHT ME DOWN low, but I loved her more than anyone I ever knew. I always strove to please her or make her feel better. Her name was "me" and she used to be my best friend. I wanted to be free from her, but I didn't know how. In a moment, I was confronted by the truth that she would never be enough. My heart cried out to something greater than myself: a savior from myself. And in a moment, I was found by a love that was worth dying and living for. I just need to decide if I want to die again tomorrow.
Jaimie Mijin Park, age 25
Death of a Home
IT HIT ME three hours into a flight over the Pacific. Each passing minute took me farther from my understanding of home in a physical and cognitive sense. Home was debating if Shakespeare was indeed a mysogynist. Home was skipping the next two classes for a Foo Fighters show in Burbank. Home was jumping fences with Cody to walk the tracks and talk about God and girls.
But no longer. I poked at my tray of undercooked airline pasta, strangely calm and mildly numb as memories faded into the contrails, streaking white and briefly against the sky.
Matt Ito, age 22
Death of a Struggle
THIS WAS SUPPOSED to be the dream. Being near the diverse city where we fell in love. Licensure! Private Practice! And yet, I was miserable in it. I just couldn’t, with the marketing and self-promotion, the instability and loneliness of what was essentially running my own business. I spent so many nights shaking my fists at God, “Are you kidding me?! Are you just the God who leads me round and round in circles in the wilderness? How are you good? How are you a trustworthy God?!” and crumpling at his feet. “To whom can I go? Whom else have I but you?” And I felt the draw of ministry again.
Shirley Wu, age 34