11169 Li XX, 9th grade, Male

Translated by Laurice Shern

My grandmother passed away much too early, as my father was only ten at the time. He had only attended elementary school before this change in family circumstances forced him to go work at Gejiu instead. On the other hand, my mother is illiterate for she has only had two to three days of primary school education. Because her family was poor, my mother had to work as well. As such, my father worked as a water courier and my mother as a cleaner. While they were poor, they still lived happily.

However, my father changed when I turned three. He became bad-tempered and no longer worked as hard as he used to, and thus his wages were often withheld from him. Plus, he gambled with his neighbors, drank till he was drunk every night, and often quarreled with my mother. Our happy home turned into an unhappy one.
     Because our family had difficulties and since my grandmother
s home was closer to school, my mother sent me there when I turned six and had become old enough for school. I studied at Pingzhai School for four years, but while there a single unforgettable, horrifying incident occurred.

It was a sunny afternoon and I was walking out of the classroom door during a rest period. I was next to a window when BOOM! My left eye got hit by something. Before Id closed my eyes, Id seen a girl crouching at the window sill. Shed been opening the window, and while doing so, had accidentally let the window hit my left eye with great force. Consequently I crouched down in pain, my hand clutching at my left eye. Water or blood flowed down my face I did not know which. The pain couldnt be described with words.

My older male cousin saw me, scooped me up, and ran towards my grandmothers home. He called my mother to return from the fields (from time to time she would return from Gejiu to my grandmothers home). My oldest uncle advised that my left eye be treated, or else the eyeball would pop out of its socket. He mended my eyes, leaving only my right eye to see. I was afraid that Id be known as the one-eyed boy, but fortunately my eyesight returned.

Yet I seem destined to suffer. One day, I was able to return home with my father, mother, and younger brother. But on the second morning, my father suddenly suffered a stroke. After a week of treatment, he passed away. My family incurred a debt over ten thousand dollars. Not soon after, my grandfather also became sick and passed away. Although my life is full of tragedies, I am not willing to admit defeat. I want to study hard and change my destiny.


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