Crossing, by Andrew Xia Fukudo

Location: Mr. Hall's Office

Emanuel McDonald
Gage Thurston
Lydia Ruetty
Gina Robertson
Danielle Evers
Ted Hall

Questions to start off with:
What did you think of the book?
Favorite part?
What didn't you like about the book? Why?
Did any passages/characters stand out to you? How/Why?
What passages had an impact or made you really think about what was going on in the book?

List of Characters:
Mr. Blair
Discuss characters:
~Talk about each character and their importance to the book.
~Which one stood out to you the most.

- Read a significant passage and describe your thoughts on it.
- At different points in Crossing, who did you think was the killer? Were you satisfied with the identity of the real murderer?
- What did you think about the ending? About Naomi's loss of faith in Xing?

Creative Pieces

I wrote an additional chapter at the end of the book to give more insight on what Xing may have been thinking and because the ending of the book was left very open-ended...

Maybe I confessed to a crime I didn’t commit because I knew I was going down anyway. I had given up the second Naomi started doubting me. Once the accusation had suddenly broken out, everybody at school was so quick to believe that I was the one that had inflicted all that harm and all those fears. Never would I have thought that Naomi would believe her too. Why would Jan do this to me? I saved her. I saved her from her psychotic, abusive, midget of a father. I wanted to talk to her, but there was nothing I could do. After the police had trampled over my bedroom door, pinned me to my wall and searched me and my surroundings, I was brought to the police station. On the way there, the lights were flashing, the sirens were blaring and we were in a locked accelerated speed as if there was a life-or-death situation we had run into that I had somehow missed. I didn’t understand the dramatics, they already had me.

At the station, I was walked and cuffed to a bench while being told to wait here while they contacted my mom, as if I had a choice. Looking around me, in a New York City police station, I saw many rugged criminals, “enemies of the state”, possible murderers, et cetera. They all seemed to fit the profile of any lawbreaker, and then here I was- some little Chinese boy, pretending to belong here, pretending to be what they are. When my mom got there she didn’t look confused , mortified or surprised; she just walked over and sat next to me, reassuringly putting her hand on mine to tell me everything’s going to be alright. What I did next, I regret.

My mom’s just poor enough for me to get appointed a pro bono lawyer, but we weren’t able to meet with him until the next day. Based on the evidence against me, such as: the pocket knife Jan slipped me, Jan’s dead father, and Jan’s preposterous lie. The police wanted to get an unofficial statement from me to decide whether or not I could go home tonight instead of a juvenile detention center- at least that’s what they told us. My mother’s no fool, but when it comes to Americas laws and citizen’s rights, her judgement can get a little shady. The officer that had approached us had a name-tag addressing himself as “L. Sheldon. M.D.” He seemed honest enough with aged, tired eyes and a trying smile. Out of ignorance, me and my mother agreed. Since I was under 18, they said that my mother could come with me, but I told her that I wanted to do this alone. Of course she was skeptical of me being in a room alone questioning officers who thought I had committed several murders, but she never would have guessed my intentions so I went alone. I was escorted to a bare room with solely a table, a chair, and a tape recorder. “I did it all,” I lied. L. Sheldon looked at me quizzically and asked me endless questions. I wasn’t listening, after my false confession, I went silent. Since my lawyer wasn’t present, the Lieutenant couldn’t probe me too hard. I left the police station two hours later with a required promise to meet with my lawyer the next day. I thought they were going to hold me in a cell right then and there at the station, but my mom fought hard for me to go home that night. She knew nothing of the confession. Maybe I confessed because I just wanted my name out there. Maybe it was because I wanted to give my mother a chance to leave her deranged, imprisoned child in America so that she could return to her preferred life in China.

Now here I am, sitting with a John Wolfe telling him about Jan, her father, Naomi’s lack of faith in her best friend and the confession that may change my life. I didn’t know how I was going to get out of this, or if I wanted to. I have a weak will and it was broken the moment I read that life-shattering text message from a stranger’s cellphone. My broken will to fight completely left me the moment Naomi looked at me with her new-found fear. Mr. Wolfe of course didn’t understand, but simply said to me, “I’ll do my best to get you out of this. Jan Blair is a very mentally unstable girl. There’s still time to turn this around, Xing.”
I just shuddered and nodded. I wonder what my father would have thought.

-Danielle Evers

I created a soundtrack to certain scenes in Crossing in order to further evoke emotion in key events...

1. “Letters from the Sky” by Civil Twilight
On page 155 and 156, as Xing envisions a future with Naomi and finally admits his love for her, “Letters from the Sky” will play softly in the background. This song by Civil Twilight has a very sorrowful and desperate texture, a sensation which is exactly how Xing feels as he professes his affection to a girl whom he knows does not and will not return the gesture. The lyrics of this soundtrack are quite fitting for this scene, as well. For example, the words, “You and I were made for this, I was made to taste your kiss, we were made to never fall away,” and, “Until that day, I’ll find a way to let everybody know you’re coming back for me,” express how Xing genuinely believes that--although Naomi may never know it--the two friends were meant to be; besides being the only Asians in their school (which Xing repeatedly distinguishes as considerable importance), Xing and Naomi also grew up together and understand one another more than anyone ever will. Civil Twilight will prompt this moment in Crossing to be all the more woeful and will hopefully attract tears as it is the sole reason of Xing’s loss of hope in the final scenes of this book.
2. “Subway Song” by The Cure
“Subway Song” is a perfect soundtrack for the moment on pages 21 and 22 as Justin Dorsey is walking home, about to be slaughtered. This song, by far, is one of the most creepiest ever heard; it tells of a woman walking alone through a subway station, all the while becoming increasingly more paranoid as she feels someone watching her. Although Justin Dorsey is neither a female nor in a subway station, he is walking home in the dead of night at a time when a serial killer is on the loose, and Justin does indeed sense someone following behind him. The sound of this tune is perfect, too, for translating the eerie perception of these couple pages. Furthermore, the moment that Justin Dorsey turns around and finds himself face-to-face with his future murderer matches precisely with the final note of this soundtrack: a long, drawn-out scream that seems to resonate with fear and ominousness.
3. “Losing Your Memory” by Ryan Star
In the final scene in which Xing decides to submit a false confession to the murders of four teenagers, “Losing Your Memory” will resonate in the background of the setting. Although this song tell the story of a suicide, the lyrics may easily be interpreted to apply to Xing’s loss of faith and loss of desire to continue living his misjudged life; instead, he chooses to confess to crimes he did not commit. For example, the lyrics, “‘Cause this is the end, pretend that you want it, don’t react,” refer to how Xing tries desperately to convince himself that he’s making the right decision in taking the final fall; he’s trying to pretend that he has the courage to become what everyone already believes he is: a killer. Furthermore, the lyrics, “The damage is done, the police are coming to slow now,” directly address the fact that Xing has already made up his mind and that the police are on the way to grant his arrest. The tone of this song and moment are of desperate resignation; Xing comes to terms with the sad truth that his innocence was compromised entirely by the word of a young, caucasian female whom many would trust over the denial of an isolated, Asian teenager in a sheltered town.
4. “Meds” by Placebo
On page 180 and 181 when Xing is carrying the near-lifeless form of Jan Blair to the police station from her house and the house of the serial killer, her father, “Meds” will drown all other sounds from the scene. This song is significantly related to Crossing in various ways, both literal and metaphorical. The chorus of this soundtrack listing, “Baby, did you forget to take your meds?” may be seen as a direct reference to the murderer of this novel. Jan Blair once referenced this connection when she mentioned to Xing how her father was no longer taking his medication and how this fact was taking a toll on her relationship with him. By not taking his medication, Jan Blair’s father transitioned from a loving dad to a bloodthirsty avenger. Other lyrics from this record appear to mold perfectly to the solitude that Xing felt as he singlehandedly rescued Jan Blair from the wrath of her father: “I was alone, falling free, trying my best not to forget what happened to us, what happened to me, what happened as I let it slip.” Xing felt as through he were desperately free-falling through a whirlwind of chaos, all the while “trying his best not to forget” the happenings of that fateful evening in the hopes that he may pass his knowledge on to the police. Finally, the quality of this song is very hectic and muddled, just as this scene appears to be in Crossing.
5. “Porcelain” by Red Hot Chili Peppers
This track by the Red Hot Chili Peppers will play during the late evenings shared between Xing and Miss Durgenhoff. Miss Durgenhoff, a boarder at Xing’s house, often spends her days alone, cooped up in her room; however, when night comes, she drifts into the kitchen and cooks for Xing, a novelty which he is not accustomed to. They spend hours together, talking through the dusk of Xing’s past, future, and life in high school. The lyrics of this song reflect Xing’s thoughts concerning Miss Durgenhoff: “Porcelain, are you wasting away in your skin? Are you missing the love of your kin? Drifting and floating and fading away.” Xing often notes that Miss Durgenhoff, a very elderly woman, often “wastes away” her time by contemplating her past, drawing upon those memories linked to her “kin,” or family. She appears to “fade” through the days, living for those evenings spent in the company of Xing as they discuss whatever comes into their minds. However, not only the lyrics seem to mold to these scenes of the book perfectly; the feel of the song matches Miss Durgenhoff and Xing’s relationship, too. This record has a very relaxed, comforting texture, just as Miss Durgenhoff is comforting to Xing. Their nights spent together are mellow, and, thus, this tune may create an even more soothing atmosphere as it lulls in the background of a few sections of these chapters written by Andrew Xia Fukuda.

-Gina Robertson

Emanuel McDonald
Junior English: Summer Reading
Mrs. Tommaso
9 September 2011
Alternate ending
Scene from the book page 181:

Snow on my clothes and boots flowed down in melted rivulets. I saw my reflection in the mirrored window behind the officers. I was wispy, ethereal, shivering in my sweatshirt, barely holding onto Jan, her arms dangling limp like willows. “ What the hell is this?” the officer ask in a uncertainty and fear. I answered “ We’ve been hurt”.

Alternate story:

Jan Blair was in the hospital unconscious. The police officer wanted to ask questions about the incident. I explained to them, what had happened and that I was innocent. I had told them that the murders and disappearance were caused by Jan Blair’s father. The police officer had examined the evidence once more, and the police officer found finger prints that match Jan Blair. The officer came out of the investigation room with a surprised look on his face then I approached him but he nodded his head and didn’t say a word back to me. He left, then went to see Jan Blair at the hospital to ask questions about her fathers intentions so that they would clear my innocence. Few days later, the police told me that I wasn’t guilty of any charges, and that I was remarked as a hero.

I wrote three poems depicting various scenes in the book....

“Love” Shack
Jan stands:
lips bright, smile brighter
Kris walks:
nervous steps, confused thoughts
Jan spots Kris:
anxious to put her plan into action
Kris finally spots Jan:
predicting her next move
Jan says nothing:
she wants to trap him
Kris gets mad:
he’s risking his life
Jan pounces:
like a feline after a mouse
Kris responds:
enraged with Jan that this would happen again
Jan states:
“Don’t you like me?”
Kris thinks:
cringing over the fact
Jan calls out to Kris:
she wants a second chance; she loves him
Kris doesn’t think twice:
he can’t do it; he’s gone.

The Edge of Glory
Mr. Matthewman looks at me with his warm eyes
I knew it was my time to shine
Hesitant, I wait
So many faces
So many people
I am overcome with nervousness
Alone on the stage, I look up
The audience waits for me
For me
It was something I could not describe
The feeling that I was the star
The feeling that I was invincible
I opened my mouth
And before I knew, I was singing
The passion in my voice was something I could not pinpoint
I had finally sang again
The thoughts in my head roamed
I thought of China, my mother, Naomi
And when I was done: applause, and lots of it
Cameras flashed as I stood solo on the still stage
All the people, all the lights, all the work.
Worth it
And that moment?

A Secret Adventure
My head was roaming
The noises grew louder
In my head, I heard Dorsey’s screams, and Barnes’s cries
In reality, I heard the police kicking down my door.
I reached for my father’s painting
It drew me in, almost begging me to touch it
My eyes shut themselves as I began to caress the painting
Flowers and sea salt began to fill the air
It was China
My fingers pressed harder as the police got closer
I instantly was reminded of the night we left for America
I hear my father’s voice, “hang on, don’t let go”
It’s almost like he’s right here
The sting of the salty air is identical to the real thing
We were going to America, the promise land
How did this happen?
How did I let this happen?

- Gage Thurston