Monthly Archives: February 2016

642 Days of Writing Day 7: Kisses

Day 7: Describe your first kiss, most recent kiss, and next kiss

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In reality it was five seconds. In Mitchell’s mind, as he stood facing his future wife, about to lean down and place a kiss of promise on her lips, it felt like eternity.

He felt like he was eleven years old again, about to lean in for his first ever kiss on the lips. Those short six inches might as well have been seven thousand miles as he leaned in. Should he tilt his head to the right or left? How much should he pucker? How did anybody aim for the lips with their eyes closed? He remembered how it felt when his lips landed, awkwardly off center. Her lips were soft, and just a little slippery from the lip gloss she wore. Tentatively, he stuck his tongue out. She pulled away and he wish he hadn’t. They had stood staring at each other for the briefest of moments before looking sheepishly away. His hands were still on her waist. Experimentally, he lifted them, thinking he was letting her know she was free to go. Was he supposed to leave first or wait for her to make the first move? God, he still had to sit next to her in the classroom. How was he supposed to learn fractions when he had just kissed a girl today?

Mitchell flushed a little reliving his first kiss and briefly wondered what he was supposed to do after this particular very public kiss. If it were up to him, he would smooch Trisha to bits for agreeing to be his wife, but that would be inappropriate given everybody they knew and their mother were sitting just a few feet away. How awkward. He couldn’t kiss his wife the way he wanted, but he wasn’t going to skimp just because they had an audience. And what was he supposed to do once he was done giving his wife a passionate yet very appropriate kiss? Do they thank the priest first? Just go ahead an walk down the aisle? Mitchell decided that kissing to finalize the marriage was a dumb custom.

Trisha’s face was getting closer. That was when Mitchell realized he had forgotten to lift the veil. Trisha gave him a look from under, slightly annoyed but more amused. It was one of his favorite expressions, her mouth would frown, yet her eyes were playful and smiling. Mitchell winked at her as he lifted her veil. She smiled back at him and in that moment all nervous thoughts fled from his head.

This was the woman he was going to marry. The woman who kissed him on the cheek every morning before she left for work, The woman whom he kissed every night before bed. The woman who had pulled him aside before the wedding started, before they had to go get dressed, to kiss him in the handicapped bathroom, just cause she had always wanted to make out in a bathroom. This was the woman he loved.

And so Mitchell decided on the type of kiss he would give his wife on their wedding day. He would draw her close, one hand on her waist and the other just below her chin, just as she liked in all of her romantic comedies. He would touch his lips to hers firmly but briefly, to pull away slowly. He wanted to see the slow smile spread across her face as he pulled away. It was that particular smile he was after, the one of complete and simple contentment. He decided he could smooch her to bits another day.

After all, he would be kissing this woman for a long long time.

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642 Days of Writing Day 5/6: Exile

Day 5: You accidentally hit Reply-All and everybody received an uncensored rant about your boss. Write the follow-up Reply All.

Day 6: Where would you choose to be exiled, what essential three items would you bring with you?

Too much time is spent thinking, deliberating, pondering, and not enough time spent doing. This was the mindset that catalyzed everything. The day I quit my job, the day I left the country to avoid the lawsuit that inevitably came for me, the day I went into exile—it all began with this idea to stop thinking and just do.

That day, I gave myself 20 minutes. 20 minutes to throw together a bag of things from my employed life, from my comfy 800 square foot studio life that I would take with me into my self-imposed exile. I don’t really remember those 20 minutes, only that I was so full of frustration and anxiety as I walked around the apartment with an empty duffel bag.

It was an odd feeling. One side of me, fueled by the adrenalin of reckless decision making was ecstatic. It was jumping for joy that I had finally done something. The other side was less enthused. Angry, anxious, and worried, it matched every jump for joy with the heavy mallet of reason and responsibility. To its credit, it could not be argued otherwise that my situation was not brought on by my own actions. Yes, it was my fault for sending a personal email through a work email account. Yes, it was my fault for accidentally hitting reply all. Yes, I probably shouldn’t have mentioned the fact that I was secretly helping certain clients manipulate the system to the company’s disadvantage while also chewing out my superiors. And yes, I probably shouldn’t have sounded so damn proud of it. But I was.

After giving 8 years to this company, seeing how it works, seeing it fools people, especially those less fortunate, I had had enough. I’m not trying to paint myself as a Robin Hood. I was not some crusader with some higher cause. Honestly, I did it partly because it was fun to fuck over the company I was working for. It was fun to see how upper management got so flustered when clients, especially those low on the totem pole, came to them with inside knowledge and used their own systems against them. I got a real kick out of it.

So let’s get that straight, I’m not some sort of hero or something. I did what I did, like all things I do, out of personal interest.

Most of my things I left in the apartment, the landlord should be happy about that. Now he can put it on the market as fully furnished and charge twice what he was charging me. Go him. My duffel contained just enough clothes to last me a week, some toiletries, other miscellaneous electronics, passport, wallet, and of course my essential three: laptop, atlas, and notebooks. These three items would get me through any day. After some consideration, I also slipped in the picture of my first win.

Yes, it was sentimental. So sue me, I have feelings. But that was the first time I felt like I had taken on the world and won. Never mind that I was only in third grade, and never mind that it was just a spelling bee. I had won when no one had really believed I would. That was the day I stood up to the world and introduced myself. “Watch out for me!” I promised the world.

The day I left my life behind in Chicago is the day I revisited that promise. I was done being stuck in an office building, I was done with the emails and the phone calls and the deals. They were all so meaningless to me.

I arrived at ORD equipped with my life savings, and the first world atlas I had ever owned. I nervously thumbed the worn pages of the atlas as I looked up at ever changing board of flights. I told myself I was ready for adventure, eager for it even, and steeled my resolve. I was ready for the unknown and the unconventional. And though I might have been ready, nothing could have prepared me for what was about to happen. Looking back now, you could say I was really, desperately asking for it.

Castor Lee
Inmate #4891
June 2025


Yes it has been over a week, that was because the prompt for day 5 was really giving me a hard time. Part of that hard time was the very notion of the prompt was horrifying to me but I didn’t want to write about a horrifying experience. I tried to think of what I could do to make it clever and funny, but I don’t really think I am either clever or funny so I sought to move on.

Day 6 helped to reposition my thinking a little bit with the result being this weird blend of both days 5 and 6. I began writing with just the idea of exile after the reply-all event and it turned into this self exile, prologue-sounding piece. I might try and experiment with Castor and his story a little bit more. I also love the name Castor. 🙂

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642 Days of Writing Day 4: Family

Day 4: Think about your weirdest family member and write one short scene that depicts why he or she is such an oddball.

Warning: the following post is not fiction. It is a cheesy personal reflection of the author’s thoughts.

The prompt asks me to write about a weird member of my family and to demonstrate how they are weird through a single scene. Couple things: a) like a scene could be enough and b) I don’t have a weird member of my family.

Now, statistically speaking, considering thing ‘b,’ it could very well be that I am in fact the weird one in my family. But it seems awfully self centered to write a scene about myself. So I thought I would use this post instead to talk about family; about a yet mentioned thing ‘c.’

I don’t know much about my family.

Presumably, what the prompt was asking for was for me to think about that “crazy uncle” or “wacko grandparent” or “hippie cousin,” and not a member of my immediate family. The problem for me is that I don’t know enough about my distant family to be able to categorize them as ‘weird.’ They are virtual strangers to me.

My mother once told me on a long train ride south in Taiwan that I had 18 cousins. ’18,’ I thought, ‘wow, that’s a lot.’ Of those 18 cousins, I know the names of four—three and a half—oh wait, maybe four and a half. You get the picture. Because my family lived overseas, we did not have big family reunions. I did not grow up with my cousins, and my aunts never came over with gifts. What’s more, my family lived in an English speaking country, my sisters and I went to an American school. The few times we did meet up with other family members, I was unable to communicate with them, language and culture barriers looming high between us.

It makes me sad and a little envious of those who have had their distant family close. It makes me nostalgic for the big families, or as they say in Chinese “三代同堂,” three generations under one roof of my parents’ past.

But it also makes me realize what different shapes and forms family can come in.

As an expat kid growing up in Singapore, my family consisted of the handful Taiwanese families who got together for every holiday to eat far too much food. It was the Jang’s, and the Ngo’s, and the Tsao’s, and the Tsai’s, and the other Lins. The list could go on.

Because we were not blood related, most would describe us as a community, not a family. So I want leave you with something to think about: Is one of the requirements to being family not being able to choose it? And thus why there are weird family member tropes?

Let your brain munch on that.


P.S. So I realize I might have been a little ambitious trying to post something everyday. We’ll call this a Tuesday/Thursday thing I think…

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