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My grandmother has a certain look in her eyes when something is bothering her she stares off in a random direction with a wistful, somewhat bemused expression on her face, as if she sees something the rest of us can't see, knows something that we do not understand. It is in these moments, and such moments alone, that she seems remote from us, such as a quiet observer watching from afar, her body present but her head and heart at a place just she is able to visit. She says , but I know, and deep inside, I think they do as well. She wants to be a part of our world. She needs us to be a part of hers. But we don't belong. Not anymore. Not my brothers--I don't think they ever did. Maybe I did--once, a long time before, but I can't remember anymore. I really like my grandmother. She knows that. I know she does, even if I'm never able to convey it adequately to her in words. The scene is always the same: the three of us sitting in a room together, talking. I see her from the corner of my eye, glancing for only a second or two, but always long enough to notice the look on her face, the expression I've come to be so painfully familiar with over the years. I am forced to turn away; the conversation resumes. She's a few feet from us. She hears everything, and understands nothing except what she can gather from the expressions on our faces, the tone of our voices. She pretends not to be bothered, smiling at us and interjecting random questions or comments in Chinese--a language I was raised to speak, a language I have slowly forgotten over time, a language that is now mine only by blood. It's an earnest but generally futile effort to break through the invisible barrier that separates her from us, and regardless of all her efforts to hide it, that sad, contem...