By Maia Cornish
They are selling sets of postcards: The Gate of Supreme Harmony; the Hall of Unity; the Palace of Earthly Tranquillity. In the Outer Court we pose for photos. I am self-conscious, standing in awe of history before tantalizing glimpses of emperors, concubines and eunuchs. A memory to be encapsulated in a bubble that will never pop.
I focus my camera on an ornate door embellished with Chinese lettering.
“And this one?” I ask, as I compose the photo. “What does this plaque say?”
My guide is inscrutable but polite.
“Ladies Toilet,” she translates. “Do you need to go?”
Maia Cornish is an emerging British writer, born in Cornwall. She has traveled extensively and has visited every continent (apart from Antarctica – yet). Her travels have inspired her writing, and her short stories, poems and flash fiction have appeared in print and online in UK and USA.