We Are Okay X The Astonishing Color of After by way of Mary H.K. Choi
After 16-year-old Ellyce Chang’s younger sister dies the night Ellyce sneaks out to a party, her parents abandon her to her estranged aunt in Vienna. Thrust into a glittering world of mansions and private school, Ellyce slowly finds solace in new friends and first love–if she’ll let herself. But when her parents unexpectedly return, she must choose: reunite her family in Taiwan, or stay in Vienna, where she may have found a family of her own.
I slip into my new skirt, careful to avoid sliding up against the little nick in my forefinger when I slide the zipper closed. As I smooth it down, my fingers lingering on the soft material of the pleats, I dart a quick glance at the clock on my nightstand.
It’s still dark outside, and the absence of familiar sounds in the morning—birds chirping, cars driving by on the street outside, dim murmurs of neighbors talking upstairs slipping through tiny cracks in the ceiling—casts this moment in a strangely surreal light.
I may as well be the only person to exist, plucked from real life and dropped into an alternate universe; a movie with no background music.
Right this instant, with my eyes closed, I can imagine myself removed from existence as easily as snapping my fingers—and in the small space between two heartbeats, the ramifications of that scenario course through my mind, the momentous relief in its aftermath so sweet I can taste it.
But I’m not that person anymore.
I’m better now.
I take a deep breath. I have fifteen minutes to get ready before my aunt’s driver is scheduled to take me to my new school, Lexington.