I am a stranger in the first home
I ever knew. I have outgrown
Shanghai like the wool sweaters
I’d worn there over a decade ago.
Shanghai has become a city of
fleeting memories, a graveyard of
remembrances. Maybe it’s the smog,
the thick black curtain of smoke
shrouding my own childhood.
There is nothing lonelier than being
surrounded by people you don’t know
who know you. I am a magnet
attracting the pleasantries from
relatives and family friends I
have not seen in years. The ocean and
six thousand miles that separate us
persist even now, two inches apart.
Six years of Chinese school on
Sunday mornings did not teach me
how to say I don’t know who you are
politely. Instead, I am shy smiles
and absent nods, a blank page that
doesn’t know how to fill itself in.
I am a stranger in a home that is
no longer my own.
Sandra Chen is a 15-year-old sophomore in love with the obscure things in life. She currently serves as a prose reader for Glass Kite Anthology, and her work can be found in For the Sonorous.