I hurry home and take a quick nap before hopping in the shower. Nothing feels as good as the water running down my body. The steam soothes the prickliness I feel, but to my horror, I start to cry. The tears I’ve been repressing all night long storm to the surface and spill over, mingling with the shower water on the way down. I start to sob loudly, unable to control my response. I can’t control my shivering, no matter how hot I make the water. I place my hand on the wall to steady myself, but my knees are trembling and I feel as if I’m going to fall over. I close my eyes and try not to lose my balance. My legs aren’t listening to my commands, and down I go. I land on my ass with a thud—it’s cold on the ground. I wrap my arms around my knees and just let the water fall onto me.
“Rainbow! Where are you?” My mother’s voice shouting for me jolts me out of the trance I have put myself in. I am still on the floor under the pouring water, but it’s turned cold in the time I’ve been zonked. My mother bursts into the bathroom and shuts off the tap. She hauls me to my feet, clucking the whole time. She’s talking to herself in Taiwanese as she wraps a towel around me. I catch a phrase here and there, but my mind can’t process what she’s saying. I idly wonder how fast she had driven as she seems to have made it across the bridge in good time. Then again, I did take a nap, albeit a short one. My mother ushers me to my room and sits me on the bed. She rummages through my closet, pulling out a blue sweatshirt I got from A Brighter Day, the agency where I work, and a pair of blue jeans. She finds a bra and underwear before presenting the pile to me. I pull on the clothes without saying a word. She watches as I dress myself, waiting until I’m finished before speaking.
“Are you all right?” She asks the question deliberately, peering anxiously into my eyes. She speaks English to make sure I understand. Taiwanese may be her first language, but English is mine. I look at her dully, not comprehending what she wants from me. Am I all right? My best friend is in the hospital because someone tried to make road-kill out of him, and she wants to know if I’m all right? I pick at my fingernails, losing interest in the conversation. All the nervous energy I was feeling earlier is now spent, leaving me as limp as a dish rag. She walks over to me and deliberately slaps me across the face. I rear my head back in surprise.
“What the hell did you do that for?” I snap, some color returning to my face.