The Spaces Between Your Fingers

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This memory  was deemed one of the most significant of Alex's childhood.  He remembers it specifically for the  feeling of talking to tons of people in a language they didn't understand at only 10 years old. Apparently they politlely applauded afterward, still unaware of

Deep breaths, I can do this. Most of them probably don't even speak English. They won't know if I mess something up.

I step out. This is the first time that I've ever been in Taiwan. I've come with my family to surprise my grandfather, or as I call him, Agon, for his 70th birthday. Somehow, I got saddled with giving a speech in his honor in front of a whole bunch of people. Like, a hundred of them, probably more. My dad is currently standing, telling all my relatives something that I don't understand. I don't actually speak Chinese. 

He motions to me with a smile on his face, a sign that I need to stand up. He concludes his speech, the crowd laughs, I gather my papers and stand up. They go silent, a few scattered faces smiling in my direction. Agon in particular has a huge grin stretched across his face. I can feel all their eyes trying to get a read on what I'm saying, considering they cannot understand my words, only my facial expression.  I begin, totally in English, and focus all that I can on not stuttering.


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