Cultural Revolution: Red Scarf Girl

November 2, 2008
Confusion these days has been anything but un-familiar. I eat a steamed bun yet, I feel so empty, so hollow. I slip under my quilts and still I am cold. I sleep and still I am tired. I am tired of everything that’s happening. Everything is happening so fast, yet changing so slow. I want to awake from these times and put my family back. I want to bring back An-Yi’s grandmother to fill her eyes with happiness instead of tears. I want to get yuan from father and read all the books I can. I long to flood my mind with the happiest of times, instead it remains drained. I walk to the market getting all I need, I cook, I clean, I wait. I wait for what is to come next. I wait for the next sounding of the gongs, the next man at his knees, and the next sweep of the broom. For a moment, I can almost smell the smoke of father’s cigarettes leaking from the bathroom door and dancing through the apartment filling the heavy air around us. I open my eyes and awake to my mothers hand on mine. She is telling me how she feels, how she misses my father and loves me. I pretend I am still sleeping as she continues on. I am hit with the guilt of not talking to her lately. I realize it is hard on all of us. I no longer blame my mother. I feel her kiss my forehead and hear the sound of her footsteps. I whisper; I love you and think I have never felt more thankful for the feeling of comfort my mother brings. I realize I am not as alone as I have been feeling. I will do my best to keep this family together, to stay strong for them. I want to make my family as well as Chairman Mao proud. I awake to the smell of mother’s cooking, I must have fallen back to sleep. As I get up to help I am distracted by the sun shining at what seems her brightest. For a moment I feel the suns rays swim through my body. I think to myself how the sun makes it through days of rain and still finds the courage to shine. One can only hope to be as brave.

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jims said...
Aug. 24, 2010 at 7:56 pm


I enjoyed reading your words about The Red Scarf Girl.  I know the author and her family as personal friends of mine.  Some years ago, I encouraged the Ji Li to contact Harper Collins..and long story short, the book was published! 

As a gift from the author, I was presented with one of the first copies of The Red Scarf Girl signed by the author and dedicated to my teenage daughter.  Ji Li's story is moving. I trust ... (more »)

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