“It’s like something’s always missing, isn’t it? A piece of a puzzle everyone else can see that you can’t. Or an instruction everyone else is following that you didn’t catch. You’re always out of place, but you don’t know why or which place you’re supposed to be. You belong somewhere else, but you don’t know where . . . ”
As the woman spoke, An An’s heart began to pound — faster and faster. It seemed to her as if the room they were in was stretching and multiplying, segmenting into angular facets, which would expand and divide again into more facets, and more facets still. The woman, whom she had been standing next to just seconds before, was moving farther and farther away as if she were on a high-speed conveyor belt. Yet to all appearances both she and the woman were standing completely still.
“What’s happening?” cried An An, reaching out to steady herself against a nearby exhibition case. But it had receded into the distance like the woman, who by now was nothing but a tiny speck on the horizon.
Then, with a jolt, everything contracted.