Kevin turned and ran out the door of his apartment. His feet pounded one hundred separate steps. He didn't know about the laws of gravity or physics. He imagined his brother hung suspended in the air. He thought if he could just make it down in time, he could catch his little brother before he hit. He ran down the stairs and out the door: his gaze aimed at the sky, his arms outstretched.
After the trial, I couldn't sleep at night. I stopped working on my dissertation and stopped answering phone calls from my friends. I stayed up thinking how I should have done things differently. When Hannah called, I should have taken a movie over to her place, and some tea, and told her our old jokes until she laughed. At night I should have lain in bed next to her and stuck my feet between her legs and asked if she remembered how mad she used to get when I did that. I should have wrapped my arms around her and talked about places we'd lived and games we had played until she was wrapped up in the comfort of who we used to be. Where was she? I wondered. In those days I lost weight and watched my parents suffer. I should have spent that night with her, I thought. If I could have done it differently, I wouldn't, no matter what, have said nothing and let her go.
Excerpted from Forgotten Country by Catherine Chung. Copyright © 2012 by Catherine Chung. Excerpted by permission of Riverhead Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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No Man's Land
by Simon Tolkien
Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.
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