Jun Lei

United States of America

confuzzled, questioning, and painfully mediocre

Message from Writer

my avatar is a piece painted by qing han, an artist who rose to fame on instagram.
on february 8, 2020, she passed away after losing a war with cancer and surviving four open heart surgeries.
her legacy is kept alive by her brother. help him and the rest of the world remember her. she was @qinniart.

the first time i saw her art, i fell in love. she sketched like a dreamer. like a writer. girls crouched in teacups. girls scattering stars and sowing dreams. whales soaring in the skies as if it were the sea. stardust freckles dancing across skin, forming constellations. flowers bursting and blooming from rib cages and wounds. inspiration dripping from ivs. she was innovative. creative. unique. magical.
she was extraordinary.

the aloha letters | #inquarantine(1)

March 24, 2020


dear hana,
when i first read your writing, my breath was stolen. you haven't returned it. i cannot comprehend the way you write. like the world depends on you for hope. like there are shadows, waiting when the twilight falls for you to light up the dark. to scatter sparks in the sconces holding the stars that line the hallways of the heavens. 
you write of stars and dreams, mythology and man, of subjects intertwined. of things heartbreaking and breathtaking. you inhale pain and exhale hope, and i do not know how, but i am in awe of your strength. of your will to believe. your faith. you. 
you are the blossom that unfurls, petals peeling away to reveal enough light to illuminate a galaxy. 
i wish you only love and light, as always. 
ai li. 

dear hana, 
and i am afraid that life is a gauntlet we never cease to run, as if we're fleeing. but perhaps we're simply flying to hope. to peace. to that solitary ray of light at the end of the tunnel, that glimpse of joy after all this pain. after all these demon-infested shadows. 
but though we're running a gauntlet or we're wandering a tunnel, we're doing it together. our hands are clasped and our hearts are entwined from across the oceans. countries are nothing. continents are specks. 
we will bridge the distance the way we always have. with love. 
and who's to say that we're not closer than two strangers on a subway? our hearts are in the right place even if our bodies are not. that's more than many can say. 
and i am here, a few oceans away. you have only to reach, reach out your hand. 
i love you, soul sister. 
ai li. 

dear hana, 
i am sorry if my words are unspooling like a journal entry, but i walked in the woods today. the wind nipped at my ears and her daughter, breeze, dragged her gentle fingers through my hair. the sun found the courage to reach from behind the clouds and caress my face. and i looked up. and i smiled. and i saw golden leaves, gilded, really, flitting through those blue, blue skies. for a moment, i thought that they looked like koi, darting through an atmosphere aquarium. but then it alighted upon the forest floor, and when i glanced up again, there was nothing but bare branches, stark against the sky. they were almost the fissures of my shattered allusion. 
and i don't know why i'm writing this. i simply am. i'm pouring my heart onto this page and hoping it brings you even an ounce of beauty or a drop of joy from here in the united states. 
maybe i just want to show you a world that's beautiful, not broken. the parts of it that were tucked into away as if mother nature was trying to protect and preserve, hiding without erasing. 
maybe there are snatches of things like this, waiting for us. the dreamers. to look. we always seem to find it, don't we. but we can't help but uncover the agony as well. 
i suppose that's part and parcel of dreaming. of gazing at the stars and knowing they're already dead. 
i miss you. 
ai li. 

postscript: and you tell me that endings are never really endings. so here's to the beginnings and their inevitable endings. to the endings and the beginnings they birth. to the endless cycle. 
but this love of ours, it's immortal. even if we aren't. it dawns with "dear hana" or "dear ai li" and sets upon aloha. a hello with a vow of an inevitable goodbye and a goodbye with a promise of another hello. an endless cycle. 
after all, they're the only eternals. they begin and end to begin again. like we do. 
here's to our little infinity. love and light. always. 


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