Girl in Translation
Jean Kwok
Contributed by Harvey Landy
Chapter 12

Kim and Curt continue fooling around into senior year, and that makes it easier to deal with seeing Matt and Vivian together every day. When it came time to apply to college, Kim only wanted to go to Yale. She gets the guidance counselor to help her waive the application fee, but she still knows that without a lot of financial aid, she won’t be able to afford to go anywhere. Aunt Paula was still jealous of Kim’s school results, but now that their debt to her was paid off, it wasn’t as big of a deal.

Kim was finally old enough to take a naturalization test, and on the day of the exam someone knocks on her door. To her surprise, it’s Annette there, marking the first time Annette has seen Kim’s apartment. Annette is distraught at the way Kim lives, and wants to be able to help. She says she’s going to ask her mom if she knows of anywhere new they could live that’s not expensive.

Mrs. Avery calls Kim one day to tell her about an apartment in Queens that they might be able to afford. There are no roaches, there’s central heat, and even a washer and dryer. The cost isn’t much more than they had been paying Aunt Paula, but in order to get the place they needed a character reference and a salary slip. Mrs. Avery has the idea that perhaps one of Kim’s teachers would be willing to provide the character reference.

Outside of school, Matt comes up to Kim. He’s hurt to see her with Curt, but she follows him in the rain and sees that he’s been crying. He tells her that his mother died. They go back to Kim’s apartment, and she holds him along the way. When they arrive back at the apartment, they begin to kiss and then have sex. Kim insists he wears two condoms, but after they are finished, she sees that they broke. They both decide they are going to date each other and no one else.

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