Changeling

August 6, 2009
By Yiwei Hu SILVER, Toronto, Other
Yiwei Hu SILVER, Toronto, Other
7 articles 0 photos 0 comments

My mother—the biological mother, the glamorous and manipulative one—called last night. I had no choice but to answer to her inquiries, and commiserate with her mundane misfortunes. “He insists on carpet. That’s fertile breeding grounds for dust mites. He can vacuum it, because I didn’t want the carpet in the first place. Do you need curtains? Curtains are expensive here…”

My father—the biological father, the stoic and vengeful one—never calls. Since his discovery of my scandalous love affair, his displeasure at my published work, we have not spoken. Our curt emails, once in a blue moon, are all business. We talk RESPs, we talk money. He doesn’t want me back, and I’m good with that.


The first time I left him, I was five. He had divorced his wife, the biological mother, and was living with the new wife, the surrogate mother. A five-year-old is taxing. I guzzled energy like air conditioning. Perhaps I was too much for them.

The discussion was brief, and very lacklustre, not the least dramatic. “Go to your mother’s apartment,” he said. I said nothing. He opened the door. I stepped out. He locked the door.

It was dark. The apartment corridor had no functioning light. Underneath my father’s door was a bright white line. I stared at it. Then I put my hands in my pockets and ran down the stairs.

My biological mother was surprised. Her plucked eyebrows disappeared into her bangs, and her pink lipstick made an O-shape. She offered me a bowl of raisins. I loved raisins. She put on Looney Tunes. I loved Looney Tunes. We were happy that night.

The happiness quickly degenerated, at least on her part. “Go back to your father,” she shrieked, two weeks later. I cried a lot, but I had no fight. I let her open the door, I willingly walked out, and I let her lock the door behind me.

Since I wasn’t about to be evicted again, I begged my babysitter for shelter. Mrs. W. didn’t know what to make of this. The hairy mole in her left eyebrow jerked up and down. Was this a game between my mother and me? What sort of mother would play such a game with her daughter? She could not understand, and neither could I.

Just then a knock came on the door. “I’m not here,” I mouthed to Mrs. W. Expertly, rapidly, and spurred by panic, I slid under the bed. Please, please, please, don’t let her find me.

My mother drags me out from under the bed. She’s not pleased. I’m terrified. Locking my wrist in an iron grip, she leads me to my father’s apartment building. As I crawl up the stairs, a miserable little maggot, she does not follow. I do not look back.

I am back in the dark corridor again, back in front of the bright white line. The light sears my retinas, but I am transfixed. I do not knock, I do not cry. My mother’s heels click, click, and fade.

Why didn’t I push back? Why did I let them close doors in my face? Why didn’t I stand up for myself? Say something, d*** it. You’re five. They’re your parents. Lonely nocturnal trips and bright white lines, those shouldn’t happen. Stand up for yourself. Fight.

I wasn’t a fighter, but I am now. When no one is looking out for you, look out for yourself. Happiness doesn’t fall out of the sky. You have to work for it. Squeeze out every drop of sweetness, because a lemon doesn’t juice itself.

The second time I left home, I was sixteen. Perhaps I was too much for them; perhaps they were too much for me. But this time, it was my choice, and on my terms. No bright white lines, no closing doors, and no fading heels. Just snow, wind, and a breath of lemon-scented air.


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This article has 35 comments.


on Apr. 26 2012 at 5:58 am
elizabethlong BRONZE, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania
1 article 0 photos 32 comments
Very good, story had me totally amazed!!

on Apr. 26 2012 at 5:58 am
elizabethlong BRONZE, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania
1 article 0 photos 32 comments
Very good, story had me totally amazed!!

on Apr. 24 2012 at 8:47 pm
HaileySanden PLATINUM, Folsom, California
25 articles 0 photos 39 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing."
-Benjamin Franklin

Amazing. You know how to use words.

on Apr. 24 2012 at 5:06 pm
MissInkslinger BRONZE, Lexington, Kentucky
4 articles 0 photos 18 comments

Favorite Quote:
I love argument, I love debate. I don't expect anyone just to sit there and agree with me, that's not their job. Margaret Thatcher

This is amazing, so vivid. I was completely engrossed, hanging on to every word. I love the ending especially, how she left on her own terms.

on Apr. 23 2012 at 9:38 pm
_ella_herondale BRONZE, San Diego, California
4 articles 2 photos 224 comments

Favorite Quote:
"...If the Thames that ran beside them...recalled a night where the moon shone as brightly as a shilling on the same boy and girl... and thought to themselves, 'at last, the wheel comes full circle,' they kept their silence."

O was totally and completely engrossed in this. The story is so awfully sad, but it is delivered beautifully. Good. Job. Keep. Writing.

Ayame BRONZE said...
on Apr. 19 2012 at 2:22 pm
Ayame BRONZE, Monroe, Georgia
2 articles 0 photos 4 comments

Favorite Quote:
All that we are is the result of all that we have thought.
Buddha

This is extremely well written. Though the story behind this is absolutely horrid, it shows us the unglamourous side to life..and how good people- the brilliant ones always get hurt.

FULLSTOP GOLD said...
on Apr. 19 2012 at 5:13 am
FULLSTOP GOLD, Skipton, North Yorkshire, Other
13 articles 7 photos 103 comments

Favorite Quote:
forever and ever and ever and ever will never be enough

 she shouldn't. it wouldn't make sense otherwise, would it???? and besides, its her article she can do whatever she wants with it

. said...
on Apr. 18 2012 at 10:45 pm
I love the ending. Its kind of fjll circle. Or at least thats how i see it

on Apr. 16 2012 at 9:11 pm
bearsfan654 SILVER, Elmhurst, Illinois
7 articles 8 photos 49 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Feb 20, 1962, The USA launches John Glenn into Earth orbit. Something America could do fifty years ago.... but not today." - Neil deGrasse Tyson

Whoa... this is very very vivid. I like it! Good job.

on Apr. 16 2012 at 8:22 pm
gottahaveadream BRONZE, Lafayette, Colorado
2 articles 0 photos 5 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Each man had only one genuine vocation--to find the way to himself. He may end up as a poet or madman, as prophet or criminal--that was not his affair... His task was to discover his own destiny--not an arbitrary one--and live it out."

Wow... wonderful work. I enjoy the small details you used to make it filled with precise imagery.

Keep going!


on Apr. 16 2012 at 7:21 pm
SophiaCross SILVER, Plattsburgh, New York
7 articles 3 photos 89 comments

Favorite Quote:
To love, to be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and vulgar disparity of the life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never to forget.”

This is an incredibly written piece that is so real I could feel it myself. You should be proud, not only for this work, but for the strength acquired through the the experience. Good job and keep writing!

butterfly123 said...
on Apr. 16 2012 at 7:44 am
butterfly123, Banglore, Other
0 articles 0 photos 408 comments
hey ! this very very well-written. it is extremely sad though. i'm sorry for what happened to you but at the same time, i'm happy that you decided to stand up for your self.i sincerely hope that you are happy now :) . great work and keep writing! XD

on Apr. 10 2012 at 6:15 pm
shapeshifter56 GOLD, Cave Creek, Arizona
14 articles 0 photos 140 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Instead of waiting for the storm to pass, learn to dance in the rain."
--Unknown Author

This is an amazingly wonderful and well-written article. I am very sorry that you had to experience this, but it sounds like you were able to grow from it, and that is truly admirable.

on Apr. 10 2012 at 10:57 am
imawriter828 SILVER, Parker, Colorado
8 articles 0 photos 11 comments

Favorite Quote:
Dare to be different, Dare to be disliked by people your own age, critics, and friends eventually.

I'm sorry that happened to you. My parents might be divorcing right now and it gave me an idea to help my brother out emotionally. Than you.

jonnathang said...
on Feb. 9 2011 at 2:32 pm
jonnathang, Bronx, New York
0 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
the question is not who's going to let me, the question is who's to going stop me.

you should make shorter


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