I write to you from the wind. Although my home has changed places since coming here, perhaps you will understand if I tell you my story through the winds that have carried me here. Before the wind knew my name, I was a summary of province, group number, and thumbnail photograph.
Think of it like this. Before children are born, sometimes parents will have to go to a doctor to take several ultrasound tests that show them pictures of the babies still inside their mothers. Sometimes they take home their photographs to pin to the refrigerator or to show to friends and family.
“Group #17, Guizhou province” and a small thumbnail of myself dressed in many layers of jackets, red scrunchies tying my hair into two little knobs on top of my head. This is my first photograph—the first piece of me to travel across the sea to my mother.
My next moments come by jet plane. The wind brushes my face, telling me to wake up; we are here. I am in a room filled with tall people, future parents waiting anxiously for their babies to be brought to them by the nannies. The wind picks me up and places me in the arms of my mother. She is crying. She is happy. I am scared. It’s as though the wind has been knocked out of me and suddenly I am alive, heavy, and hot under all the jackets that cover my small body still sick from the winter. This is the best moment of my life.
Once we have all been reunited with our future families, we are carried away to the Green Lake Hotel in Kunming. Like royalty, we are paraded through the streets and the hotel lobby in an announcement that our futures will be forever changed. We are special; we have been claimed.
In the room I am still scared and cannot look at my mother without terror. I scream and yell; I am sick most of the time. The wind comes to me at night. It tells me that I am going away—leaving China, leaving you. It also tells me that maybe one day I should return. It tells me it will help me get there when I am ready.
If you want to find a picture of me, you’ll have to travel to the agency. Through the double glass doors, down the second hallway to your right you will see a room with a kitchen off to the left and a large wall to the right covered with a large flag of the provinces of China and hundreds of tiny framed photographs. If you go a bit further to the back stairway up to the landing, you will find my picture. This time I am smiling, dressed in a light flowery outfit, my hair still held up by scrunchies.
I am not sure how to get to you. No one has taken your picture, no one has claimed you in government papers. Your paper trail falls short at the breath of the wind.
I am looking for you now. We will find a way. The wind is taking me back.
All my love