Pronounced “zinc-see.”

He looks me in the eyes, not saying anything for a long time.

Finally, he speaks.

“Who are you?”

I smile. “I am me. Just like you are you.”

“True. We are all who we are. But what would you like me to call you?”

“If you feel the need to paste a label on me, I am Xinxie. X-I-N-X-I-E. Pronouced ‘Zinc-C, as in two of the vitamins and minerals crucial to one’s wellbeing.”

He smiles back at me. “I wouldn’t call it a ‘label,’ Xinxie. It’s just handy to be able to call you by your name. You know, in case I need to tell you get out of the way of a falling piano, or something along those lines.”

“People don’t really move pianos by hoisting them up the sides of buildings anymore. Might be a more interesting world if they did.”

He laughs. “Hey now, you’re not old enough to remember when we used to do that. Your mother says you’re just fourteen.”

“To her, I am. In reality, I am all ages, all at the same time, just like everyone around me.”

“How exactly do you manage to be all ages, all at once?”

“I don’t ‘manage to be’ anything. I simply am.”

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