Note: Independent study, Last interview, hardest interview. Interviewees anonymous. Study: How discrimination affects minority twins.
Interviewer: I put you and your sister in separate rooms for a reason. I want to interview you both individually so I can hear your own authentic answers. What I’m going to do now is ask you a series of questions. Take them seriously and be as honest as possible. First question: what do you think of the phrase ‘let there be light?’
Sister 1: Honestly, it was a mistake that He left us alone. Light is always supposed to be pure. So, why create light when it would be tainted? I don’t understand. I mean if our creator formed another world would he create another human race or hope that we learn? With this world’s seemingly new and more demented version of morality, I’m starting to believe that darkness is becoming synonymous with light. Children in cages, refusing to prevent another school shooting, considering miscarriages a crime . . . how could I not believe otherwise? There was already Noah’s Ark, who says there won’t be another.
Sister 2: I think it’s beautiful. He trusts us to achieve the eternal. Not like we need to, though, because already light is eternal. Cruelty has repeatedly found ways to thicken out and swallow a majority of humanity. But specks of morality are always found. Look at history, reflect on your life, go through religious scriptures, and observe the progress we’ve made. I sound naïve, but really I’m speaking the language of common sense because if that isn’t true then why hasn’t the world shriveled yet?
Interviewer: There’s a stranger next to you. How would you interact with them?
Sister 1: Why do I have to interact? I’m not an idiot. In the classroom we’re taught to put ourselves first and yet society scorns us if we do. Women are no exception to this rule. Selflessness is important, but so is selfishness. What if I have a sore throat that’s so bad that if I speak I lose my voice forever? What if I’m in the middle of sending an extremely important text message? What if I’m having a really bad day? Perform anything but selflessness and you’re scorned for it. If that’s the case, then scorn me.
Sister 2: Did you ask this question to my sister? I bet she overreacted. We’re pretty different did you notice? Selflessness can get overrated sometimes. No, that’s not the right word for it . . . overpraised? I’d forget that, though, if I acknowledged said stranger. How different would we be in comparison to each other? Would we have a lot in common? They have a story; at least in that aspect we’re similar. They could be a potential friend or lover. You never really know with strangers. So, I guess I’d talk to them.
Interviewer: The news is on.
Sister 1: I listen with my eyes and with my ears because that’s all I can do—reflect on the twisted evil consuming this world. Bickering over policy making. Grown men controlling bodies through bills. I’m confused but I get it. I scream, — but more at myself. I’m a kid, incapable of understanding. So I can’t do anything, right? Change the world? They say we can’t; yet they rely on us. I say bullshit. Stop relying on us. Stop pushing the problems you’ve created onto us. Sometimes silence can be change. Let them, those past generations, suffer with what they started.
Sister 2: I turn it off. Every flicker of the screen depicts corruption, which dims the hope that I know is still lingering in this world. I don’t bother questioning. Questioning creates frustration and frustration leads to anger. But sometimes I do break. I scream at the news not me. I throw the remote once the screen blinks into blackness. It’s just not worth watching. It’s never worth watching.
Interviewer: Why do you view the world the way you do?
Sister 1: My teachers never liked me in pre-school because my skin was darker than a Hershey’s chocolate bar. At least, that’s what one of my classmates told me. You remember that? The funny thing is, I still question how to react to that. Sometimes I imagine flipping him off. But other times I imagine thanking him. If not for his harsh comment then I never would’ve woken up. I walk into an ice cream parlor with Mom and people would stare at us as if they’d never seen a fucking human being before. Back then I thought it was because we had stains on our shirts or something. But since that classmate of mine told me what he thought, I understood that the only stain that we had was not looking like them.
Eventually, I started asking why because I was stupid enough to hope that the explanations would debunk what he’d told me. To some I look like a monkey. Our president says we belong in our shithole countries. But it’s not like I can go back to my country because European exploitation drove it into fucking war. Like I fucking want to stay here. I wear my natural hair to work and I risk being fired. I was even unfortunate enough to get a brother. I yell at him when he puts his hood up, snap at him when he plays with a toy gun. Some say I sound harsh but I only do it because I love him. Sorry, I sound like an angry black woman don’t I? Look . . . I’ve tried to view the world otherwise. I’ve tried to view the world like my sister, beautiful, happy and whatnot. I still wake up trying. But then I step outside my door and the world gives me reasons why I should stop.
Sister 2: My friend once told me that I could push the night sky into retirement. I assume it’s because of how dark I am. I was . . . what in elementary school? Because I loved nighttime I took my friend’s comment lightly. But my sister didn’t. Instead she just stormed off. I thought she was overreacting. She always does. I remember I’d always ask her to play dolls with me but she never did because she thought it was too childish. Yeah, I know. And we were kids. Of course, you already know that. But I look back now and I understand. I wasn’t like her. Whenever my teacher told my class that we could pick partners, I was always alone. I became so desperate at one point that I started asking the guys to be my partner. How do you think that went . . .?
I’m no different than anybody else. As kids, most of us are naïve and innocent before seeing the world for what it is. It’s just a matter of how we react to it. I’m shopping with my friends and I notice that a security guard is watching not us but me. Strangers would pull at my curls. I look at mothers holding their children with this affection in their eyes. Sometimes I see myself through them. I’m a mother holding my own kid. But I’m not just looking at them with affection. I’m scared. They’d be a newborn but already I’d be imagining what I should say if they started wishing that they were white or how I should react if I got a call telling me that they were arrested or killed. I mean . . . I try not to fuss over that, though. The world sucks but it’s not going to change if I keep hating the people in it. It just . . . won’t.
Interviewer: How do you view your sister?
Sister 1: I pity her. I like to think that it’s people like her that are too good for this world. But I’ve noticed how she chooses to stay in the ignorance marinating her. Her head isn’t even above water. This world will eventually swallow her and it won’t spit out her bones. Her mouth will turn on her, her emotions will betray her. She can care but on judgment day her costs and losses will be extortionate. She’s seventeen now. This is no longer childhood innocence. It’s not cute anymore. She’s not cute anymore. God, I just don’t understand her. She needs to stop forcing her eyes closed.
Sister 2: Honestly . . . she confuses me. She’s always pushing herself to see things she doesn’t have to see. Anger literally fleshes out her heart and boils her blood. It’s like a cloud that surrounds her. I mean, the water that clumps in her eyes isn’t even prompted by sadness anymore. It’s all anger. I’m scared for her. She wants change but . . . with her quick maturity came an inevitable cynicism. She needs to take a break for once or else she’ll suffocate herself before the world does.
Interviewer: Do you have any hope for the world?
Sister 1: Solutions you mean or punishment? Hope is too infuriatingly overused. It can be good but sometimes it makes people unbearably naïve. What is hope gonna do for us? Is it going to stop global warming? Of course not. Fuck hope.
Sister 2: My sister or the world? It’s on and off. But I’d like to say yes. Without it comes a loss of motivation and inspiration and world changers. People would become apathetic and with that “fuck everything” mentality nothing would get solved anymore.
Interviewer: Is there any additional information you’d like to mention?
Sister 1: Yes actually. I want you to remember something, especially after this interview. Don’t ever compare me to her.
Sister 2: Even before this interview I’m sure you already knew this but . . . I’m not and I won’t ever be like my sister and I’d appreciate it if you remembered that, Fiona.
Interviewer: Thank you for your time.
Interviewer Signature: Fiona Ngu Interviewer Status: Older Sister
Lum Chi is a high school senior who’s been awarded a Gold Key and American Voices Nomination for her fiction pieces in the Scholastic writing awards. Her work has also been published by the Minnesota Writing Project and by the K’in literary journal. Currently, she is busy traditionally publishing a three-part young adult novel. When she’s not busy writing, she’s either locked in her bedroom curled up with a good book or binge-watching anime.