I see you.
The world has chewed the edges of your dreams and pulled punches at your pride. You don’t know how to be anything but angry. Angry they cannot understand your English.
Angry that you have to live by their standards, their language, their mannerisms, yet no one has to sympathize with your accent, the barriers that press against you.
But that anger does not die.
It does not fade.
It is inherited by your children.
My ears perk at remarks of my language, the complaints of the smell of my lunch, rice fattening my Tupperware box instead of slices of white bread.
The anger pulses through me.
A dull knife against my soul.
And I hated you too.
I hated when you talked to my teachers, grinding out broken words from a broken mouth.
I hated that you made me write letters for you.
Hated when you didn’t understand why I am not successful. You think if you know the language, you hold the key to success.
If only you were fluent like me, you believe you would be successful.
There would be no problems. You would be happy. You would thrive.
And I wouldn’t have had to endure the teasing. The questions. We would be normal and everyone would be happy, and nothing would ever be frustrating, or hindering. There would be no walls.
I wouldn’t reject the heritage that made me unique. I wouldn’t have to harden against the demeaning comments. I wouldn’t have had to actively persuade myself I was proud of the slants of my eyes and smell of my food, over and over again, until I believed it.
And you would understand.
How your shattered words cut me.
Fresh cuts sting and for a moment I understand you. I want to comfort you. It isn’t your fault you were shattered, but there is no one else to blame for painting yourself red and remaining shattered. And your sorrow becomes my sorrow. And I reach and you slap away.
They were dreams. They were dreams.
Deferred by you. Pressed against me.
They are cheating you, you know it. Because you don’t have the same weapons of words like they do, you know they are bullying you. But you won’t go down without a fight. So you yell. I hear the spit splatter against the phone. You hate them. You say they are all the same.
They all can go to hell.
Why are we not American too?
Smear layers of tiresome years against the country that doesn’t understand you. Maybe if you spit hard enough, yell hard enough, it will pay you your dues.
But these are dreams.
I hope you will awaken soon.