The Hug, The Night

by Luna Min Cheng

——————————

She gives me a hug, and cries.

The snow is cold, but the tear burns my face.

I stand there doing nothing but feeling this belated hug.

***

I have been waiting, waiting for it since the day I was born.

I have been expecting, expecting it since the moment I opened my eyes.

I have been imagining, imagining it since the first time I saw other kids hugged by their parents.

***

The wind is so sharp, like a knife.

The night is so dark, like a black hole.

Under the dim yellow road lamp, I see her.

Two feet taller than me, big brown eyes, and pink cheeks.

“Welcome back, little sister,” She says with a smile.

I should hate her, my mind tells me.

Her smile is fake, I assume.

***

It has been eight years that I did not get to see them.

It has been eight years that I was not close to them.

It has been eight years that I could not even speak to them.

Eight years, I signed.

***

Year 1990 in China.

One child policy, I was the second child in this family.

Patriarchal society, my gender sinks me in the first place.

Yelling, crying, and begging.

“She cannot stay here!” the door slammed.

Crying. Screaming. Tears did not help with my situation at all.

No one came, no one cared.

That night, I slept with darkness.

***

I shall hate the world, I said to myself.

***

It was a quiet early morning,

I got relocated to a basket.

Chill wind, steps, and shaking.

“Here is your payment.”

The blanket was open.

Wrinkles, half closed eyes, yellow teeth, gray hair flying in the air.

At the second, I did not know that this old woman was going to spend eight years with me.

***

“I should cry.” My mind tells me.

The wind freezes my body.

The tear burns my face.

I stand there doing nothing but feeling this belated night.

***

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