She adjusted the buckle of her green Zara tote and slipped her fingers between the hemline of the red shirt, feeling its silkiness. She looked for an XS and took it off the rack to examine the tucks and sleeves. Perfect for the appraisal meeting. She brushed wisps of errant hair out of her eyes and took the shirt to the trial room. It looked fabulous on her, the red setting off the porcelain of the skin. Her typically Asian looks were enhanced by beautiful, kohl-lined epicanthic eyes and small stones glittered in her ear piercings. She decided that she could not live without the shirt anymore, paid for it, and left.
Her husband was proud of her. She was proud of her. She married early but her focus on furthering her education and career was single-minded. She was a math whiz; she’d topped her school, graduated summa cum laude. She’d found a job in finance. She’d proved her worth in a very short while and had risen among the ranks quickly. The red shirt was for her to feel confident enough to blow the Board away into making her the financial head of the company.
She stood in line at the grocery store. The aunty in front of her with the overdone eyebrows and the brazen-red lips gave her a sticky sort of smile and asked, “Which beauty parlor do you work at? The one next to my house closed down and I don’t want to go to some random place. I prefer beauty parlors run by your people.”
She reeled like she’d been slapped.
Just because she was Manipuri.
the chattering of teeth from the cold or from rage.
P.S: Dramatized incident but happened in real life. A Manipuri friend of mine was asked that question by a random, racist boor.