I Can't Help But Ask

One anthropology novel and essay, and two astronomy journal entries later, I was as worn as a ratty sock. The desk and my face met softly as I laid my head down for two minutes of blissful rest. Glancing around the bright whimsical colors of my dorm room, various posters blazed back at me. Books lay in precarious piles and my toes shifted aside paper resting on the floor. The wall behind me was adorned with my art, which on most days was all I could think about. Ironically, the one class I’m not considering taking is art. I suppose upon consideration I believe I fear criticism, and what better place than the classroom to happen upon a professor whose taste differs in polar contrast. I also fear for the life of my style, conformity in the face of a good mark lurks in that future. But, perhaps it’s a stereotype and an excuse for me to avoid learning how to actually draw and paint.

As things were though, I certainly wasn’t complaining. A large percentage of my classes were enjoyed to the utmost extent and the activities outside of school hosted experiences unlike any other. Within my dorm I can’t complain, the luck of the draw left me with an excellent roommate, Briana, who I connect with quite well. And though at times I make for a free personal psychiatrist, we compliment each other and help one another out.

Then, I also had two Chinese roommates who arrived together later. This was a little unfortunate, because I’d already created a strong bond with my first roommate. To also complicate matters the two knew each other well and were friends already, so they generally stuck to themselves, every now and then they’d yell through the walls in Chinese at each other and appear to fashion some food then vanish again. At times I’d only witness them once every few days, their mastery of being discreet was so complete. Final exams were dawning so I had little time to construct ways to confront and learn more about them. I put it of for another day, another week, another month.

Finally the day has arrived, I’ve finished my exams for this semester; a year of schooling has gone by in a happy flash. My exhilaration knows no end and I gleefully look forward to tackling next year. And yet, here I am glancing around this small room that was my home, my study area, my bed, my shelter and realize how attached I’d grown to the little thing. In my mind I envisioned the furniture as it was before it was taken apart and set away into boxes. I remember the posters proudly exploding with color and the desk being littered with books. The old happy days are gone, making way for new ones, oh the things I experienced in less than a year. I grin sadly as I pick up the last small box to be carried back to my home hours and hours away from this campus. The common kitchen shared by the four of us lays before me stark and bare. As I reached the door and walked down the hall I glanced forward to see my two Chinese roommates emerge from the elevator, we looked at each other as we passed. I stepped into the elevator and in the seconds that went by, as they walked away, perhaps forever, I couldn’t help but ask, “which part of China are you from?”

I Can't Help But Ask

Allison Matthas

Joined February 2009

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Artist's Description

True story, I do have two ninja silent chinese roommates. Unfortunately the rift between us is also true though I’m going to try everything I can to avoid the ending of this story.

I’m just back from my Christmas Holiday and unfortunately this short story became a true story.
I came back to find that my two Chinese roommates Bonnie and Hidie (nicknames to protect their real names from verbal massacre) gone.
I can only assume they went home… I have no connection to them no email, Facebook, or even a mailing address. I wonder if I’ll ever see them again. Most likely not I suppose.

Artwork Comments

  • Gamache
  • Allison Matthas
  • Gamache
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