The Bold Red Letters This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

May 31, 2010
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This is it. The paper in my hands holds the fate of my future. I slowly unfold the white sheet and the first thing my eyes lock upon are the bold red letters. A tear trickles down my cheek. It’s over. This paper was my last chance. Sadly, it does not only hold my future but also my mother’s, and my father’s, and my sister’s and my brother’s. They all depend on me. How am I to tell them that I was not able to obtain a home for us? How am I to tell them that we will have to live on the streets? How am I to tell them that this is all because we are Caucasian? This is not justice. That selfish Asian man did not stop once to think what this means for me, for my family. The look on his face is still fresh in my mind. His merciless pitch black eyes and his dark full face haunt me. I scan the bold red letters once more hoping that I had misread the words, but they still convey the same message. The somber ring of my shattered hope resonates within me. As I slowly make my way back to where my family stands, the weight of the world becomes heavier with each step. All I can see in my mind are the bold red letters. They circle behind my closed eyelids until I become dizzy.

Finally, I come to stand before my family. My baby brother, pale and gaunt as a skeleton, runs to me as soon as he sees me. His smile with his dimples and pearly white teeth could light up the world, but all I can do is look away. How can I tell him that he will have to go hungry once again? Next, my younger sister focuses her piercing green eyes at me. I do not look at her either. I still feel her penetrating glance at me, but how can I look into her cadaverous face and tell her we will not have a place to stay? Lastly, my mother and father seek my eyes. Mother bursts into tears as soon as she sees the expression on my face. Her flaming red hair flies free from its bounds in the fierce wintry wind. Father, in his wheelchair, turns away. He does not even bother glancing at me. His bleak blue eyes spill tears. I imagine the tears streaming down my family’s face sinking an anchor. I imagine the anchor being immersed in water until—thud. It strikes the bottom of the ocean. I imagine a rickety white ship on the way to nowhere.

The bold red letters flash through my mind again. My thoughts then drift off to the promises I had made to my family. Now I wonder how I could have lied to them. How I could have reeled in the anchor while their hopeful eyes watched and wished me to be able to make true on my promise. How could I have let the anchor drop—once, twice, so many times. It is always the same; every time we go to a new place, a new person, we are turned away. The world of nineteenth century Asia is a cruel place. My eyes are glued on the bold red letters. A tear trickles down my cheek. The anchor has sunk forever.

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