Flushed Grapefruit

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about how silly things can be so profound.

Today, there's another substitute in English class. He's a tall, balding, middle-aged man, who is yet to be another one of my victims. Once the tardy bell rings, he begins calling roll.

"Rachel Baker... Stephanie Carson... Uh, Di-Din--"

Here we go again.

You see, it's my name -- Dingyun. Dingyun Chan. My name plagues my whole existence. It labels me unmistakably as an Asian and singles me out wherever I go. My name alone creates a world of stuttering substitutes. It is an automatic, never-ending generator of ridicule and nicknames: Ding Dong, Dig-a-noo, and Dingyay, just to name a few. My name is universal -- it can be pronounced in absolutely every way that you please.

It all started in middle school when I found myself constantly dreading a teacher's absence. My stomach would twist and churn when the substitute began calling roll. I would flare up with a hundred and ten degree fever. Large beads of sweat would gush from my forehead. The back of my head would burn from the silent stares of my classmates.

What new pronunciation would I discover today?

"D-Den-yuen..."

My face flushed into a seasoned grapefruit.

"...Here."

An explosion of snickers and...

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