Wanli, Taiwan – November 1995
My sister and I walk amid the bizarre rock formations in Yehliu Geopark. Dark clouds hover over the coastline. Waves crash along the shore, flowing in and out of tide pools. A heavy sea mist hangs in the air. It clings to my hair and clothes. I run my hand over one of the rocks. It is porous, but sharp. Not at all as spongy as it appears.
“They look like giant mushrooms,” I say with a giggle.
My sister shrugs and looks down at her feet. This is her second time living in this tiny village on the northern coast of Taiwan. She works as a stunt high diver at Ocean World. She is twenty-three and has spent her entire adult life living all over the world. I’ve always envied her lifestyle and her talent. Her hilarious letters and late night phone calls kept me going through my darkest time. After many years of struggle, I finally lead a similar life. I’m so happy to be with her now, in this foreign place.
But something is wrong. She won’t look at me. Her shoulders are slumped over with a secret burden. We circle around the peculiar little monoliths in silence, orbiting further away from each other. I know better than to come out and ask. The wall would only become more impenetrable. There is nothing I can do except let her be.
“It’s okay. We can go now.”
Without a word, she heads up the trail that leads to the village.
The breeze turns into a wind, and fat, tentative raindrops begin to fall.