Excerpt of Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures by Vincent Lam
(Page 9 of 11)
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Fine, Mr. Interviewer. Make up something, then.
Laughing, Fitzgerald said, Miss Ming, do you
really, truly, deeply care about humanity as you claim
in your essay?
Doesnt everyone who sits in this stupid chair?
Tell me, Miss Ming, whats the most terrible thing
you have done in your life?
She had been thinking of this, of wanting to tell
him about that which answered this question. It would
be a trial run of telling it to a man she was in love with,
as it would seem somehow necessary to tell such a theoretical
man. This would be ideal, she had already reasoned,
because Fitzgerald resembled a person that she
might fall in love with. In this instance, however, their
pre-set constraints meant that nothing would be lost by
discussing this thing that she carried like a full bowl of
water on her headso careful to not spill it and yet
every moment wanting to smash it into the ground.
Ming said, Do you really want to know?
I must know, Miss Ming. We only admit the purest
Forget the interview shtick. I want to tell you something.
He said, You want to confess that you fantasize
about me. They had both come to accept an ongoing
flirtation of feigned seriousness. It allowed them to
vocalize their desires in a way thatby being
absolutely straightforwardthey could treat as a joke.
She pulled her legs up to her chest. I want to tell
you something true and awful, which I really hate. Will
we go on being friends?
He said, Well be the same people.
Except that theres a part of me that you dont see
yet thats very dark and you might think Im a bad
You mean the fact that youre withholding the
truththat youre deeply and soulfully in love with
me, as I am with you, said Fitzgerald. Again, this reality
was spoken directly to discount itself. This time, she
felt, it sounded slightly too honest to function as the
usual throwaway, and given what she was about to tell
him, she felt angry at Fitzgerald for saying these words
which mocked them both. Now scared, she said, Its
awful, that our friendship has become important. I
wanted to keep everything sterile. I wanted to go to
medical school and start fresh.
He retreated, saying, Its best that theres . . . nothing
between us, then.
Briefly, she thought of making something up, of
confessing to something silly. But Fitzgerald had a good
instinct for knowing what wasnt true, of hearing what
didnt fit. Besides, maybe she would tell him and he
would hate her. It would be tidy and finished. She said,
I had this, you know, this relationship.
Sure, said Fitzgerald.
Maybe for you its no big deal, she said. Then,
Im being touchy.
Mings chest pounded, and her breath felt as if it
was coming through a small straw. She was afraid that
her next word would crack, and was angry at herself
for being close to crying, for not letting the silly fakeinterview
question slide away. She had come to assume
Fitzgeralds kindness, but now felt trapped in actually
needing to trust it. She said, It was from when I was
twelve until not very long ago. With Karl, who taught
me to study.
A short silence, which seemed to stretch. A click,
then the hollow tone.
The other line had been picked up. She could not
seelittle points of light swirled in front of her. The
click had occurred only after she had finished speaking,
hadnt it? Or had it just clicked off ? Had the other line
been open all this time, and had it just clicked off ?
Mings stomach was tight. Was her father listening
now, or had he listened? Wait . . . the telephone silence
had that hollow sound right now. Was she fooling herself
what was a sound with no one speaking? Then, as
she tried to discern the nature of the silence, as she
wished that she could reach across the quiet to take
Fitzgeralds hand, Mings father said in Cantonese,
Little daughter, you have an important trip tomorrow.
The above excerpt is the complete text of the short story "How To Get Into Medical School, Part 1" , pages 1-30 of Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures. Copyright (c) Dr. Vincent Lam, 2007. Reproduced with permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.