“Don’t go out there!” my older sister shouted, “why not” I sneered back, “because…they’re going to think you’re a prostitute!”. I persisted, rolling my eyes back at my older sister, I unlocked my parents beat up Korean BBQ van and dashed out.
Wanting some fresh air, I ran to the open part of the Circus Circus Parking complex; I can’t lie the wind on my face felt good. But I did wonder what if I too had to escort older men, becoming their Asian companion. I looked nothing like Julia Roberts, what with her big eyes, big lips, and big horsey laugh that’s so famously her own. I couldn’t carry a laugh like that even if I were born with luscious lips like hers.
While pondering if I would make for a decent China doll, I couldn’t help but be mesmerized by the glittering lights of the Reno strip. This 12-year-old was blind to the dilapidated signage, the rundown roads and the faded colors of the Circus Circus mascot. The light engulfed me; I only saw possibilities, imagining all those little specs of lights as if they were people hustling. Hustling to win big, so they could treat their kids to an all you can eat buffet, or finally allowing themselves to buy the Russian porcelain doll to add to their collection. But how was I to live out my big dreams, stuck in a Korean BBQ van with my little brother and my snarky older sister always ordering me around.

That's mom, me, and my sister playing penny slots

That’s mom, me, and my sister playing penny slots

I huffed and puffed while walking back to the car feeling a little defeated.

“Well, what did I tell you!” exclaimed my sister, “what?!” I shouted back puzzled. Silent, we gave up on our flight, what did it matter anyways we were stuck with one another, till our parents lost all their money.

Moments later my eyelids felt heavy, and all I could do to keep from feeling like a loser was to dreams big, for me that was the All You Can Eat Buffet. Nothing made me happier than to re-stock my plate high, high into the sky. Mixing salty with sweet, breaking all the rules of formal dining, who’s to say I can’t simultaneously eat desert with my entree. In my head I was filled with power, it devoured me just like the glittering lights outside. If that wasn’t living, I didn’t know what was.

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