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老虎不回家 (The Tiger Didn’t Come Home) serves as an unpeeling of what love looks like to me. Love can be nourishment. Simple acts like preparing fruit, or cutting hair communicate care, without language. It can be hard to not hear I love you or I’m sorry. But, it is powerful to understand protection as a manifestation of those feelings. I have a deep sense of indebtedness to the sacrifice of my family, how they suffered to keep me safe. But, all at once, the protection that at one point was unconditional, became conditional. No more rind, no more curtain of dark hair to warm my shoulders. It's hard to articulate the small things that are gone. I only notice them when they come back, little by little in different ways, in different people. I am mournful for who I was. The space between us is bittersweet, but necessary for our survival. I peel my own rind and I lick my own wounds.

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