A Fork

Write page 217 of your 300-page autobiography. (UPenn's application)

I have encountered a fork. Should I again submit to my father’s demands as I am sent to the kitchen to serve or should I refuse and risk tainting my role as the ideal Vietnamese daughter? I succumb, and fetch a repulsive-smelling platter of duck, over-roasted with a gross crunchy charcoal skin. As I politely weave through the throng of guests, most of whom look at me for a daughter-in-law, I consider dropping the dish, hoping that my father’s cultural inflexibility would shatter along with the porcelain. Gripped by this evanescent desire to rebel, I consider discarding all items that might as well have been labeled “another expectation.” The Rich Dad, Poor Dad Bible of financial success is tossed in the overfilled pail of extracted duck bones, and the piano is broken into kindle. As the ivory keys crumble to ash, the ballet ribbons, the swim meet medals, the forty-dollar SAT guides, the TI-89 calculators, and the fencing foils are all thrown into those flames as well. Maybe, I could seek relief and liberation from my father’s standards that have churned me as if I just dizzily stepped out of the washing machine.

But who would I be without those heartening expectations of his? Along with scheduled college Open Houses and weekly...

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