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Where Reasons End by Yiyun Li Read Online (FREE)

Where Reasons End by Yiyun Li Read Online

Read Where Reasons End by Yiyun Li full novel online for free here.


Do Not Let Mother Dear Find Us


Mother dear, Nikolai said.

I was surprised. He used to only call me that when I wasn’t paying attention. But here I was, holding on to my attentiveness because that was all I could do for him now. I’ve never told you how much I loved you calling me that, I said.

What did you call Grandma?

When I was your age? Mamita, I said.

That was endearing, he said.

You have to get the name right when you find the person hard to endear, I said. Endear, I thought, what an odd word. Endear. Endure. En-dear. In-dear. Can you out-dear someone?

And fancy seeing you here, Nikolai said.

One of us made this happen, I said.

I blame you.

I laughed. Ever so like you, I said. I then explained the liberty I had taken to get myself here. For one thing, I had made time irrelevant.

I could be sixteen like you are, I said, or twenty-two, or thirty-seven, or forty-four.

I would rather you are not sixteen, he said.

Why not?

I don’t want to feel the obligation to befriend you.

We can still be friends even if I am of another age.

I don’t like making friends with older people. Besides, one can’t really be friends with one’s mother.

Can one not?

No. The essence of growing up is to play hide-and-seek with one’s mother successfully, Nikolai said.

All children win, I said. Mothers are bad at seeking.

You did find me.

Not as your mother, I said. Don’t you notice the sign there (though I knew he couldn’t have—I had hung it up while talking with him): Do not let mother dear find us.

What are you then?

Oh, a runaway bunny like you. How else did we end up here?

Here, as I watched my neighbor leave, a box of fresh-baked chocolate cookies in my hands, was a place called nowhere. The rule is, somewhere tomorrow and somewhere yesterday—but never somewhere today.

I was neither the White Queen, who sets the rule, nor Alice, who declines to live by the rule. I was a generic parent grieving a generic child lost to an inexplicable tragedy. Already there were three clichés. I could wage my personal war against each one of them. Grieve: from Latin gravare, to burden, and gravis, grave, heavy. What kind of mother would consider it a burden to live in the vacancy left behind by a child? Explicate: from Latin ex (out) + plicare (fold), to unfold. But calling Nikolai’s action inexplicable was like calling a migrant bird ending on a new continent lost. Who can say the vagrant doesn’t have a reason to change the course of its flight? Nothing inexplicable for me—only I didn’t want to explain: A mother’s job is to enfold, not to unfold.

Tragedy: Now that is an inexplicable word. What was a goat song, after all, which is what tragedy seemed to mean originally?