I Can Change It

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“Get out, and never return to this family.”

Again, Dad caught Mom with her secret lover. It is even more unacceptable in China, a rather conservative country, to have extra-marital affairs. Mom said nothing. An hour later, she walked out with four big bags.

It was her birthday.

My parents were not a harmonious couple, but I never thought they would separate so suddenly. After Mom’s moving out, every afternoon, when I got home, the empty room chilled me. But I could not tell Dad how shocked I was, and burden him; nor could I share this family tragedy with anyone else. I threw myself into scary movies, and looked for stronger feelings to cover my sorrow, and through which to escape. Yet Dad unintentionally wrote all his pain on his face. Every glimpse of that face dragged me back to the truth.

It was a little stray smile that changed all this.

One day after school, a supermarket’s on-sale bread attracted me. I bought a lot. When I told my father, “Dad, tomorrow’s breakfast is ready”, I saw a tiny sigh of delight on his wrinkled face. That was the smile long lost.

I realized then that something so small could make my dad happy, and could lighten the atmosphere. I started to fetch vegetables and fruits more often. Squeezing into a...

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