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Writers' Club of Whittier

An Inconvenient Death


My iPhone 4s dies a silent death.

A sudden death.

A stoic death.




If I were raised here, a bit younger and endowed with a looser tongue, that would be the expletives I exclaim completed with strong exclamation marks, followed by a hard toss of my demised 4s into the wall. But I was not.

I came from the Far East where unchecked, strong emotions–dark or happy–were usually suppressed. Better keep those inner feelings to yourselves. Just like you better hide a piece of candy your siblings don’t know about until you can savor it alone. Just like you better walk faster through an unfriendly alley, where a kid, a girl your age, suddenly appears from within the shadowy dingy of her hut and wham, bonk you on the head with a broom for no good or bad reason. Just to see your reaction.

Where I’m from, when your dad buys you a fancy pair of leather pumps with bows on top and buckle straps to adorn your ankles, you put them on only when no little sister hangs around. You know she will want to try them on too, and you will be obligated to share. Secretly, you will walk softly and daintily around your room, passing back and forth in front of the dresser mirror, holding your head erect like a queen. You will learn to dull the twinkles in your eyes and suppress a smile that will alert your siblings of your happiness; then they will want to know why. Then the piece of candy will not be yours alone to suck. Ma will pad the toe box of your exquisite, gorgeous pair of beauties that should be yours and yours alone with newspaper wads. And the whiny little sis of yours will slip her dirty foot in, first one, then the other. You watch and sigh, hot tears wet your cheeks–one drop for each dainty step the little wimp makes, like a razor cutting into your suffering heart, like a burn inside your little parched throat, pained from stifling a sob that threatens to rage. Your shoes are no longer exclusively yours, yours to possess, yours to shine and save for special occasions. She has the right to them as well as you. You are not special anymore. You are a martyr, an agonizing soul, a hurt being–all of these rolled into one and reduced you into a crybaby.

Oh, she’s going to leave scuff marks all over your cherished, pretty shoes.

But I did not grow up here. A little girl no more.

Thus, without a word and with a heavy heart I pick up my dead 4s and think. Without it, what am I gonna do with my life? The icy cold body shocks me. How like a corpse without living blood. How like a body without a living soul within. It’s now less than smart; it’s no longer responsive, no longer rings, vibrates, reminds, alerts, notifies, or temps me to check a myriad of things that I just scanned through a few minutes ago: Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn updates, latest emails, to do list, etc.

It no longer distracts or needs recharged, its constant presence an absolute necessity for me, without which I would be so insecure to venture anywhere. Look, what a useless piece of S_IT it is now! No, I do not think that. I do not think in expletives. But I do not have the heart to throw it away. My sudden loss disturbs me. Did I back up all my pictures? How about my contacts? I better shop for a good deal for a replacement. It gonna cost. I’ll lose my unlimited data plan. Shuck!

Gadzooks! Why does the stupid thing have to die in such an inconvenient time? There, I said it.



                           Stew…peed of it to die on me so suddenly!


Author: Hong-My Basrai

Memoirist and author of Behind the Red Curtain, blogger, engineer, manager, mother of three and wife of one, etc. I am a bit of everything.

4 thoughts on “An Inconvenient Death

  1. You poor darling. You express yourself in a way that I can feel your pain. Especially the shoes because I love shoes. At one time I had 50 pair of shoes. I had to give away some of my most loved shoes after some dislocated disk in my spine. I thought of wearing them to bed. I knew Chuck would approve if I dressed appropriately in a sexy nightgown. Naomi

  2. Hey, love your comment and thanks for taking the time. Love

  3. Hong-My, your writing never ceases to delight me. I can put myself in those shiny patent shoes and understand your feelings. That’s something we all hope to do with one another. Love, Kay

  4. Pingback: Postmortem: a Sequel | Writers' Club of Whittier


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