I grew up in a loving family. My parents were friendly and seldom quarrelled with each other. They were kind and friendly to me. Even their eyes were full of kindness. Like all the parents around me, they give me a lot of love. Like all the children around me, I never even left home before I stepped into the university’s gate, let alone having the ability of independence. Separated from my parents, living an independent life was a huge temptation for me, something that made me yearn for.
A few years later, I finally went to university in another city. When I left home for the first time, the loneliness in my heart suddenly came out. I remember that at the beginning of school, the students in the dormitory cried when they called home. Every holiday, everyone rushed home without stopping for a moment. There were students who had to take a whole night’s train ride back home. Even that which could not stop us from going home. The happiness of going home and being surrounded by family affection had infected me. I wish I could fly to my parents right away, and reunite with them.
The holiday was finally here. I called my parents and told them that I was going home. But my mother said that they were busy recently. If there were nothing [important], don’t bother coming back. Read a book at school or find a part-time job. My mother’s words made the homesickness which had been brewing a long time disappear in an instant. I couldn’t understand my parents’ unusual [behavior], and secretly grumbled that my parents didn’t empathize with me. After a few days of listlessness, I had to start to plan how to endure the long holiday.
During the holiday, the campus was very quiet. I read at the library and wrote drafts for the magazine publisher. I found that it was so nice to work in the silence that is hard to come by. In the third year of college, I went home. When my mother saw me for the first time, her face was full of deep sympathy [lit. the heart hurts, meaning that you deeply sympathize with someone’s hardship, or that you are afraid that someone is vulnerable to danger], but in an instant, her emotion was covered up, and a little doubt flashed through my heart: What was it that they were hiding?
That night, I couldn’t sleep. In the middle of the night, I heard my mother nagging to my father: "The child is much thinner than when she was at home. She must have endured hardship. Nevertheless her change is quite gratifying to us. "Then there was her father’s voice: "one day she will understand, how can one grow in ability without going through hardship? [Our] society doesn’t need people who only knows how to enjoy themselves.
I quietly walked out of the bedroom and saw, under the light, my parents’ unwilling-to-let-go-of-their-daughter looks in their eyes, the new gray [lit. white] hair on their head and deepening wrinkles on the corners of my eyes. I immediately understood everything and couldn’t help but burst into tears.
Adapted from the Beijing Youth Daily article "Pretending not to worry about you so much" by Zhu Xiaoqian