GUEST BLOG: Letter to Bao Bao

5 Jan

GUEST BLOG by Renée Reynolds

This is an excerpt from Renée Reynold’s For All Of My Wife, a collection of first-person narratives about Laowai life in Shanghai (Laowai means foreigner). Bao means ‘bag’ in Mandarin but can also be a nickname — especially in double form.  Renée Reynolds is an artist and writer who is currently based in Shanghai China who often works with Catalysis Project’s composer Veronika Krausas.

Letter to Bao Bao

I pulled it from my China box: a motley collection of items granted the Right of Asylum during my swift and violent exit from Moganshan lu. All of it still reeking of river water and cat pee. Stuck to the bottom was a notebook left on bus route 91 from Xujiahui to Caobao lu. It had the shape of having been in a giant back pocket for a year; or sat on, daily, in a curved chair, hiding from a teacher perhaps. Upside down and on the last page of box-lined paper was a hurry of humid blue words. I read it and then I took it: the ultimate trepverter (words that came too late — literally ‘stairwords’ in Yiddish). Flattened finally, and now, typed.

Dear Bao Bao,

We said bye bye on the street dark and now I am feeling sorry for my speechless mouth. And worse 2 since you are power off. “I like you really much but is difficult.” That’s what you said after alone. Now I have a difficult. A difficult thing. You. You are so good and small and cute but I feel like the ugly. The ugly one so big. It is impossible when I stand for kissing. And your baba. So confusing. Never moving his eyes and sucking his bones. Better if he hated and yelled on me. At least I’d know. But no. I don’t know. I never do. Your eyes. They are smaller than mine. We don’t see the same. When you feel light I love it. But you are so delicate and sensible. That sticks me to you. But when you speak about it, I don’t get it. So we always argue. Even when we say nothing. 1 km is 5 for me. I like tea and you preffer cafe. But then that excites. So much between. Ok. So lets both step on the wall to see which floats better. And if we don’t lets eat Butter. Without pain or any rain from our eyes. Lets dance on the blue skies. You said that. Those things. Sound better than. You are my puzzle and my cake. Even when I eat too much chocolate you welcome me. As you said, you are my Bao Bao and I fit no one else. Where r u now?

Renée Reynolds "History of a Future"

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