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Why had I thought it wouldn’t matter—the fact that I had grown up in the near-absence of other Asian Americans? In my small town, I was used to my otherness, but tonight, in college, at this Asian American student gathering…  is a new kind of otherness, and it is worse. Everyone here seems to share something I don’t. A certain ease, a certain kind of experience. I don’t feel Asian enough. Korean enough. I am all wrong in the one place I thought I would be right. So I slip out the door. Unnoticed, unmissed. September is cool against my skin as I walk back to my dorm through the dark, alone. When I step into the circles of light cast by the streetlamps, I see my discomfort, my confusion, nakedly exposed for a brief moment. Then I pass again into the shadows.

—Naomi




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