I was on my way to visit my grandmother in Pasuruan, a five-hour bus ride from my tiny hometown Caruban. Every school break, my mother and I spent a few days in the countryside. My father took us to the square, dropped us off at the gate, and reminded me, while my mother was busy buying snacks and water for the ride, to protect her and myself on the bus…

On the day my grandmother turned sixty-seven, we found her sprawled in her living room—eyes wide open, mouth gaping, hands half-clutching the golden knob of a wardrobe she was trying to open. Her floral blouse was smeared with coffee stains, and her body smelled of stale urine. She did not budge when we barged into her house…

“Bienvenue de chez moi!”

The tram doors open to a blustery Wednesday evening. My Malaysian friend has brought me to an Asian supermarket because she wants to taste her way across the distance to home and because I have very little money to eat…