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By Paisley Hibou
Four months left to kill, he whispered and held up his fingers,
thumb tucked against his palm like a scared child in the dark,
and I don't know how to spend my time any more than a clam
knows how to fly or Big Bird knows how to grimace and groan.
But I didn't know what to do or say in China, where I taught for
a year, relying mainly on child-like gestures for communication,
spending hours turning down dates from women eager for a tall,
blond, American husband with perfect English and citizenship.
Yet I thrived—or at least survived—in a foreign, foreign place,
never waking up to a routine day or even water that tasted the
same as it had yesterday, since, chances are, one of those days,
it was contaminated by chemicals or evil spirits, maybe both.
So if I can live through that kind of uncertainty, I can live
through the uncertainty of ending my contract job and
waiting for phone calls and interviews and coupons
for a new suit that doesn't look like I bought it
on sale at Salvation Army when all the blue
tags were half off, maybe even 75% off--
it's only four months, man.
I'll reinvent myself.
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