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Spadina Literary Review  —  edition 34 page 11



by Tiffany Hsieh

I almost stole a lipstick once. Back then, fourteen and not yet a citizen, I wanted to have without having to purchase a thing like a lipstick, which said I was vain and stupid. San-bah. If I had purchased a thing like that, there’d be a transaction, a receipt. There’d be proof that I wanted to be pretty, which I thought was pretty lame. I took the lipstick at Shoppers Drug Mart and held it in my hand. I thought about putting it back on the rack, I put it back, then I took it in my hand again. I must have done that one too many times because the store clerk cornered me and asked to see the contents of my bag. I hadn’t decided to bag the lipstick but my hand was momentarily in my bag and the lipstick was in my hand. I tried explaining with my not-yet-fluent English that I was checking how much money I had. In truth, I knew I had none. I must have sounded overly defensive because I was asked to leave and I did so at once. Red-faced, what bothered me as I was leaving was not how I was caught almost stealing. It was the fact that I knew the store clerk was going to tell people about catching a Chinese girl almost stealing even though I could have been Japanese or Korean. Even though I am not.