A Moment | Maximillian Stella

Remember what matters.


A Moment

Maximillian Stella

The Audition Retribution Award


Every time his fingers are snaking down my shirt while I sewing, I thinking one thought only:

Huan…Huan…Huan…

I say her name a thousand times a day because she is what matters.

Her going to school is what matters. Me having money to send her matters. This job matters.

His hand on my chest does not matter.

My name is Jun and I am nineteen. I write in scraps of English I remember from school long ago because I am scared the company will end me here if they can read what I write.

Today I guess he cannot do it. Today the owners from America are coming to inspect the factory. He says that today it is like an audition for us: if we not performing good in front the American men, then bye bye to our jobs.

And I know what he means by performing good: head down, hands busy, sewing.

And even if I read that a woman’s body is her own, I know that in the factory today this is not true, and that either way it does not matter. What matters is Huan. What matters is doing a good performance, so that Huan can end school.

Huan…Huan…Huan…

I am thinking this when the Americans arrive.

He walks the Americans down the production lines. He points at the jeans, he points at the hundreds of girls with their heads down and their hands busy. He is speaking fast and the Americans are nodding.

He is approaching me and just as he and the Americans are about to pass me, he stops.

I can feel him standing behind me. I can feel him and the Americans looking at me. I want to turn and see what they are doing. I want to turn so bad because my neck has turned cold.

Huan…Huan…Huan…

My head stays down, my hands busy, sewing.

He is talking to them in English, but too fast for me to understand. The Americans are laughing.

A hand grasps my neck and I stiffen. More laughter. A hand is sliding down my shirt, moving under the bra, pulling the ends of my breast.

Not today, I think to myself, not today can this happen. 

Huan…Huan…Huan…

A second hand slides down my shirt.

Huan…Huan…

A third hand reaches under my jeans

Huan…

A fourth tears my underpants open.

I am yelling.

Just as a I feel that the fingers are going inside me, the hands stop moving. The hands pull back. Suddenly, my body is alone.

I hear men grunting and turn.

There, on top of the four men are hundreds of girls. They are clambering over their work benches to get to the men. They are so small and thin, like little pale spiders. But they are quick: their legs kicking, arms punching the men away from me.

His face is bent. The Americans no look American anymore. Their faces are wrinkled like squashed paper.

Huan.

I think of Huan and I am smiling. She is always saying how the American men are the most handsome. Now I can tell her exactly what an American man looks like in real life.

 

 

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