Ross Gay, from “Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude,” in Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude
[text ID: I am sorry. I am grateful.
I just want us to be friends now, forever.
Take this bowl of blackberries from the garden.
The sun has made them warm.
I picked them just for you. I promise
I will try to stay on my side of the couch.]
i bet jiang cheng, like, studied for the cloud recesses salute ceremony. this earnest little teen sect heir who just wants his daddy to love him was probably like, "i am going to get a good grade in saying hello to lan-xiansheng, something that is both normal to want and possible to achieve," and i bet he practiced what he was going to say in front of a mirror, complete with choreography, for fucking weeks before they came to gusu. and then after all that hard work, what happens during the actual salute ceremony? he goes last, and who should stroll in just when he's getting started but wen fucking chao, who immediately steals the spotlight, insults his shige, and provokes everyone to draw their swords, in a hall of learning, on the first day of school. like some kind of hooligan! then after lan xichen calms everybody down with his sword-charming, does jiang cheng get to resume his salute? no he does not! wen qing jumps in with her own salute and gift, after which lan xichen declares the ceremony over. but jiang cheng never got a turn! nobody accepted his gift!! how is he supposed to know if authority figures approve of him if the other children don't let him show off the authority-figure-pleasing skills he has worked so hard to acquire???