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Vingettes

An Ocean, in Which I Drift



I used to hate my name. I wanted to be named something plain, something ordinary like Jane, or Patty, or Julie. My name was different. It was a name that many look at, for the first time, and pronounce wrong.

But now, I wouldn’t want to be named anything else. This name has a unique way of rolling of my tongue as I say it. It reminds me of bluish hues, with gold undertones. Murky, mysterious, magnetic, Meriyln.
My name is Merilyn.
It’s not quite as feminine as Marilyn. Not quite as jolly as Merilly. And definitely not Meriln—the wizard.


People often confuse my name for one or more of these, but they are not I. I am Merilyn.

My name means by the Ocean. It means freedom, and strong will. For me, it means that someday I will go away. I will make something of myself. I will be independent and strong. Perhaps I will drift away in the ocean, with the waves as they swirl tumultuously. And I will make a difference, not only in my life. This is my name. My name is my dream.









My Sister, and a Half

I will be a big girl soon! I am turning six in only four months, so goodbye to those days of being a baby, and hello to the grownup world. I am so excited to finally be turning six. I’ve waited for about eight months. EIGHT MONTHS. (though it feels more like eight years.) I am going to China for the summer. It is the last summer China will see me as a five year old, because the next time I return I’ll be a big girl!


My mama tells me that for my sixth birthday I will get an extra special gift. It’s something that most kids don’t get for their birthdays. “What is it, please, please, please tell me mama!” I beg and beg her but my mama won’t tell me. She says “wait until we get to China. Then you’ll see for yourself Tian Tian.”

Only one more week until I go to China.

Then it is only five more days.

Then, I am going to China tomorrow.

Please hurry up, I tell the clock. But he doesn’t listen to me. He just stares at me with his wooden eyes. I can’t even tell if he’s listening to me. His three hands seem to slow down even more, as I continue to beg, so I stop begging him and walk away. Maybe another clock will listen to me better.

Finally it is today that I am going to China. I am so excited that I wake up extra early in the morning just to make sure my mom doesn’t leave me at home accidentally, and forget to bring my present back from China!

In the plane, I once again ask my mom to tell me what the gift will be.

“you are so impatient, Tian Tian.” My mom says to me. She says I get this from my baba. “But I’ll tell you anyways, because we’ll be in China soon.”

I listen closely and my mom tells me my gift.
I am getting a sister. She is 5’6”, 120 pounds, and is “made in China”. Her name is Hu Jie, and she is my very own sister.


The only weird part was that she was not my full sister. She was my sister in a half. Hu Jie has the same mama as I do, but a different baba. It is a strange thing to think about…does this mean I also have two baba’s?

“No,” my mama explains. “Hu jie has a different baba as you, which is why she is your half sister.” And I think I understand, but I am too excited to worry about our baba differences at this moment—the plane is about to land!

When we get off the plane there is a flood of people waiting by the entrance of the airport. I try looking to see which one is my sister, but I can’t tell. Maybe she only looks half like me because she is my half sister…

My mom takes my hand and walks me into the giant crowd. She starts waving at a girl in the back of the crowd. I stretch my neck as hard as I can to try and see her. ‘

Then, she is next to me. “Tian Tian” my mama says. “This is your sister.”

I look her up and down, and up and down, and up and down again.

Then I let go of my mama’s hand and reach out my hand to shake hers.

She finds this gesture silly, maybe and giggles, then she takes my hand and lifts me into a hug.

She then puts me down, but I’m not ready yet. I reach my hands out and hug her knees.

“You are the best birthday present ever” I say to her. And my new sister smiles.









A Sun Soaked Sanctuary

My book shelf is my favorite thing in my whole house. I have two book shelves. One for books I truly love. And another for books that I don’t quite like. They sit together, side by side, for they are best friends, and when I feel lonesome, when I feel like the chasm between myself and this world is growing incomprehensibly larger, I often go to them and they keep me company.
On sunny days, the window beside the book self gives the wooden edges of the shelves a golden tint. The sunlight illuminates the surrounding area with a golden glow, and all of a sudden I feel happy. On cold winter days, I will sit in the tiny square of light cast on the soft rug in front of my bookshelves, and read my many, many books dreaming of going away, far, far away from here. Even if I have read them before. They become my comfort.
When I was younger I used to tell my mama that if the house were to burn down, the first thing I would rescue from the flame ignited house would be my bookshelves. My mama thought I was crazy. But I don’t. Those books are as good to me as your jewelries are to you, mama.
My baba says that books are easily replaceable, that if I ever lost one, we could
“simply” buy another copy.
But it would be different baba!

It would all be different! Those books sitting on my shelf hold all my tears and laughter in its binding. And the way it smells, the smell of old yellowing paper, so familiar and comforting making me so nostalgic, and the way it feels, like the fallen leaves, the forgotten ones that lay, lost, lonesome, longing, the pages are rough and wrinkled, but strong. That could never be replaced could it baba?






Going Away


Someday I will go away.
That’s what I tell everyone. And everyone just sighs.
They think life is good now. They are content. But are they happy?
Maybe they are.
But I’m not.
I want to travel someday, to every corner of the world. I want to feel things that people haven’t felt in years, and I want to experience more than most people do in their whole life time.
I will not live in a neighborhood. I will move out of this confining community and into nature. I will be woken up by the sun, flooding through my windows at the crack of dawn. I will feel the dew drops on the leaves as I hike through the forest in the morning, the moist, pungent air clinging to me as I fall into step with the sounds of leaves crackling under my feet. Walking, walking, walking, as society falls farther and farther behind me, as it drifts away slowly and effortlessly. I will be able to step outside my home, by the beach, or by a meadow perhaps, and have a whole universe of stars gazing down at me from the heavens, caressing me with their gazes.
Someday, when I grow up, I will simply pack my bags and jump on a plane, and I won’t come back until I feel I am ready. There will be no return ticket. It will be a one way ticket to my destination, and only when I am ready, will I buy that return ticket to bring me home to where I come from.
I will go to New Zealand, and Tekapo park.
Tanzania, to see the star reserves
Russia, London, the Baffin Bay, Milan, Venice, Paris, Tibet, Mongolia.
And I still won’t be done.
Brazil, Greenland, Norway, Siberia and the Yamal Peninsula, and many, many more.

Someday I will go to all these places and more.

But tomorrow, I have to go to school.



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