17046 Bai XX, 9th Grade, Male
Translated by George Wang
Five years ago, my parents divorced. Afterwards, the burden of raising a family was all upon my father. To provide for us, he works as a migrant worker in other towns. As hard as he tries, we are constantly under financial distress and frequently run out of rice and supplies.
I worry about rainy days. You may wonder why. When it rains outside, ponds build up inside. As the leaks continue to drip down, the puddles expand. When it happens in the night, we all have to stay awake. One time during a storm, my brother and I managed to stay dry in a corner. We put aside the homework and placed pots and bowls to catch the leaks. All of a sudden, a side wall collapsed. Our small room was rendered even smaller.
Dad returned home and cleared up the debris. He boarded up the damaged wall and our house was reduced by half. During windy nights, the wind blew through the cracks and it was impossible to sleep. When it rained, Grandpa would put up a fire and my brother and I would play with the water. Eventually, we fell asleep, my brother huddled in grandpa’s bosom and I against his shoulder. In dawn, the rain stopped, and there were “tasks” for us to perform: tidying up the rooms, disposing the water from the pots and bowls, and washing them clean.
When I wake up in the morning, grandpa is always there beside my bed. With his shining silver hair, he would urge me to get up, clean myself and have breakfast. When I return from school, he is there waiting for us with his rice porridge ready. He loves us dearly and the sweet smell of the rice porridge is a display of his affection. If anyone asks me, “What is it for you to be grateful about when you are so poor?” I will answer with a smile, “Because I have a loving father, grandpa, brother, and a really, really cozy home.”