A Dream Fulfilled This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   It was one of those rare times when I could meet my grandfather face to face, and I knew that this time, I would get him to tell me what was in the old wooden box that he treasured so much. One day, while he was resting, I peeked into his room and caught him holding an old piece of paper and smiling, as if this paper brought back his greatest memories. When I entered and asked him what he kept in his wooden box, he told a story that I will never forget. It was the story of his personal journey to freedom.

During the times when feelings of democracy were just beginning to enter Communist China, my grandfather caught the spirit of freedom. He knew that he could no longer live under a government that held his spirit captive. He had to leave. However, the government was aware of the new threat entering its borders, and under China's tyrannical system, it made emigration extremely difficult and dangerous, promising retribution against those caught escaping. It feared that its hold on power would be challenged by fresh ideas of life and happiness granted in other democratic countries.

Despite the ban on emigration by China, my grandfather knew that if he succeeded in escaping Communism, the life of his children would be free of the pain he had to endure. They would not need to know the suffering that comes with suppression. They would live with the idea of freedom permeating society, not contradicting it.

With Communism getting stronger, he knew his time to act was limited. Gathering his meager savings, he bought a ticket for a plane bound for America. My grandfather knew the trip was forbidden, the price of the ticket very high, and the risks steep. He boarded anyway. At night, the plane took off in secret, and my grandfather began his journey to freedom.

With little to take with him except pocket change and high hopes for the future, he knew that he had done the right thing, for through his suffering, his children would find happiness. At the end of the perilous flight, which seemed to last forever, he landed in America and was granted entry. It wasn't until many years later, under the ethics of hard work and freedom, that he was finally granted citizenship.

Almost every day, he looks into the old wooden box, and admires his naturalization papers. I don't think he ever regrets his decision to escape oppression. Seeing his children living in freedom made his suffering and hope worth their dangers. Through his unrelenting spirit of freedom, his hope became his dream fulfilled. And through his story, the wooden box and its contents became a part of me, no longer an object deserving only my curiosity. c


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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