Welcome to Our ABC Stories!
In 2023, WuKong Education’s “Tell Us Your ABC Story” Global Story Contest invited Chinese families worldwide to share their tales. Actor Daniel Wu and author Vincent Yee, along with the WuKong Judge Team, carefully selected 21 finalists from a myriad of touching submissions. “Fleeting Memory Lasting Love” by Enya Yu, aged 10, has been honored with the “Future Writer Award.” Enya’s narrative invites us into the world of her memories, capturing the essence of fleeting moments and enduring love. Take a moment to be inspired by her incredible story, offering a glimpse into global Chinese experiences.
11:58 … 11:59 … and the clock struck 12. Today was the day that “爷爷” and “奶奶” were coming to prepare for the coming of Lunar New Year. But, only “奶奶” came. I sat solemnly while gazing at the photograph of me and “爷爷” proudly holding a painting we created. Suddenly, my door ﬂung open.
“奶奶 is here!” Lenna, my 16-year-old sister exclaimed.
“Nice …” I responded dully while still thinking about “爷爷.”
“爷爷” and I used to paint sceneries and make dumplings together every Lunar New Year … until he suﬀered a heart attack a month ago. I decided to lie in my room for the rest of the day. I couldn’tstop thinking about the time “爷爷” helped me paint a beautiful landscape of his home. When we ﬁnished, he told me he was extremely proud of me, and that noone else could measure up to my talent, not even him. Tears gushed down my cheeks as I recalled those happy moments; all I wanted to do was to run up and hug him one last time.
Suddenly, my thoughts were interrupted by a cheery voice, “莉莉，我带了你最喜欢的番 茄鸡蛋面!” I looked up and saw my “奶奶” wearing trendy clothing and accessories, but her eyes were blood-red from crying and her eye bags deepened from exhaustion. I wiped the tears from my face and smiled, but I was still adrift in my sea of unorganized thoughts.
After hours of endless cleaning in preparation for the Lunar New Year, wesat down to eat my “奶奶’s” famous egg and tomato noodles. As we ate, small talk and compliments couldn’t disguise the fact that things weren’t the same this year. Without “爷爷’s” goofy jokes and comical personality, a sense of uneasiness and silence surrounded the dining table. My dad was right. “爷爷” was the life of the party.
That night, I had another dream about “爷爷.” I was at the graveyard site during the funeral and it was time to pay our respects. I trudged to my “爷爷’s” casket and stared into his peacefully closed eyes. All of a sudden, his eyes shot open and he stared straight at me, sitting up in confusion.
“爷爷! 爷爷! Oh my God!” My eyes widened and a smile spread across my face. “你是谁?” “爷爷”questioned. My smile wavered. I stared at “爷爷,” in shock.
I woke up in tears and clenched my stuﬀed tiger. Nightmares like those kept me up ever since he was gone. After a night of twisting and turning, I ﬁnally woke up andate breakfast.
We did more cleaning, the weekend eventually came to an end and tomorrow I would have to wake up at 6 A.M. to step foot into the building I now most dread—school. I laid my red Chinese dress (旗袍) on my table for tomorrow. A writing assignment and a practice test that were assigned for homework lay on my desk, waiting patiently to be completed. How- ever, I only did a little bit of both. I was once a stereotypical straight-A student, but recently, Cs and Ds stung my report card.
The next morning, the alarm on my phone screamed. I slipped on my red dress, and put on my red tiger earrings. Red … “The lucky color.” I would need luck today. I packed my backpack with all of my school things, trying not to think about my test and assignment. I grabbed my backpack and slumped downstairs for breakfast, checking my phone for any new messages. None. That’s OK. I ate some Chinese rice cakes and cookies and washed them down with some tea.
At school,a few people looked at me up and down. I thought they were going to ﬁnd me weird, but to my surprise, someone encouragingly said, “Slay, girl!”
“Heyyyyyyyyyy Lilyyyyyyyyyy! I got this phone case for you for the start of the Lunar New Year!” A familiar voice exclaimed in a sweet, sassy tone. It was my best friend, Nicole.
I turned around and said, “OMG! It’s faaaaantastic! I loooveit!”
Nicole was my favorite person. She was the only person who could get me to stop thinking about “爷爷. ”
A big grin appeared on my face and I put on my new phone case. I went straight to math class, where I would have to take the test I had barely studied for. As Mr. Chen handed me my paper, my heart started beating very fast and my hands began shaking. My breath shook with every question I read. I kept thinking about “爷爷.”
My second period was Language Arts. Our assignment was to write a haiku, which was quite the opposite of what I had written. Although I started writing a haiku, my hands seemingly tookover my mind. As Mrs. Rickeread through the turned-in Haikus, I noticed she suddenly had a puzzled look on her face. I knew she had got to mine. My stomach twisted into a knot as I sawhereyes scanning my poem about “爷爷”.
I look up to you
For everything Ido
You support me
But now you’re lost
Rest in peace
After 45 minutes of lecturing, the bell rang, and the teacher dismissed the class. As I wandered out of my seat, Mrs. Ricke stopped and asked me, “Lily, can you come to my room after school?”
“Uh … Sure,” I murmured. It had to be about my assignment.
After the last period, I was back in Mrs. Ricke’sclassroom. “I’ve noticed your grades have been slipping. Is there anything I can do to help you?” She asked.
“No-no, I’m okay. It’s just that there’s been adeath in my family.” I blinked, trying to hold back tears.
“I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. No one can ever prepare us for the loss of a loved one, but I am here to help in any way I can.”
“Thanks,” I sighed. As I walked out of the classroom, Mrs. Ricke mentioned, “Writing about your loved one can help you grieve loss. It’s what helped me during the death of my mother. Writing helped me live my best life, something I’m conﬁdent your loved one would have wanted for you.” Her advice sounded reasonable, but when I arrived home, it had completely slipped my mind.
Our house was red from top to bottom, decorated with lanterns, ﬁrecrackers, and phrases like “新年快乐” and the upside down “福.” After admiring it all, I needed to help make the dumplings.
Two hours passed by and I got three red envelopes, each ﬁlled with $100. After putting it in my money stash and thanking my family, we all sat around the dinner table and said our prayers.
The night was ﬁlled with laughter and joy. Jokes were being made every ﬁve seconds and conversation was ﬂowing out of my mouth. I’d never been this talkative before. For one night, it felt like things were normal again. The aroma of the dumplings and xiaolongbao ﬁlled the room, but my eyes wandered toward my favorite dish, the noodles.
Soon after, we all raced to the TV to watch our favorite program, while munching on our moon cakes. We watched the CCTV New Year’s Gala. Famous singers were performing the top songs of the year, one being “我们.” When the comedians tookover the show, my stomach started cramping as a result of my constant laughing and giggling. Even my “奶奶” had a smile on her face. That night was the ﬁrst night I slept like a baby, without any nightmares.
Less than 12 hours later, all the fun diminished and it was time to return back to reality. School. I didn’t expect school to be any diﬀerent until Mrs. Ricke whispered after class, “Hey, Lily! Don’t forget about my advice. See you tomorrow!” I nodded.
For the rest of the day, I thought about her advice. Writing … could it really help? Later on, I went to bed, but I lay awake thinking about Mrs. Ricke’swords, so I decided to try out her advice. I sat down and started writing the piece you are now reading. Despite my doubts, writing helped me process some of my ambiguous feelings. As my “爷爷” would always try to say in English to all of my work, “Your writing is a piece of art.” “爷爷,” although I’ll always miss you, I know that you are now in a better place, and I hope you know Iloveyou. You were the best Grandfather I could ever ask for.
Thank you for immersing yourself in “Fleeting Memory Lasting Love,” a poignant exploration of memories and enduring love by the talented 10-year-old writer, Enya Yu. Enya has received the Future Writer Award for her remarkable storytelling.
Enya’s story adds a charming chapter to the collection of global Chinese experiences. We extend our heartfelt appreciation to Enya for sharing her unique narrative and contributing to the rich tapestry of global Chinese stories. May we continue to cherish and celebrate the diverse narratives that make our cultural heritage so vibrant.
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