where the writers are
Launching At Thirty - 1

My name is James Kuai. I am 29 years old, a resident of the U.S., but a citizen of the People’s Republic of China. I have lived and worked in West Los Angeles for about a year. I don’t know when exactly it started, but for a long while, many times when I am driving on the highway, a voice in my head says: it is OK if an accident happens right at this moment and you die here because death wouldn’t be worse than life. At these moments, I know how narrow the entrance and exit routes of the highways are in LA; if I just close my eyes for a split second and turn the wheel 45 degrees in either direction with a good momentum, my car would crash into the concrete sidewalls at 70 miles an hour and everything would have a beautiful ending. Police would think something happened to my 2004 Honda Accord because a young man with a decent job like me should have no intention of committing suicide and I would rest in peace without worries forever.

Similarly, I remember in the fall of 2008, when I first moved to LA, there was a magnitude 5 earthquake that rocked my office building and made it swing left and right for at least ten seconds. I was quite excited because it was my first quake experience but disappointed too because the building didn’t collapse. If it had, I would have happily died and would not be responsible for my death. Also nobody would ever come to know my secret pains and I would get a big funeral with 500 other people. Considering I had less than five real friends whom I think would care to attend my funeral, that would be a great ending of my life too.

Neither of these accidents happened. I am alive; I mean I am still breathing like an animal with heart beats and normal temperature. But I don’t feel like part of humanity. When I see people with their friends or children or lovers who are genuinely happy and laughing, I just can’t understand because I rarely have had those feelings as far as I can remember. I thought life was hurting so much and the suffering had no way out, so how could anyone ever feel that happy? I was jealous of them.