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  • Writer's pictureJulie Chen


“Good night,”

My grandmother stood in the doorway

light from the living room spilling in

golden rays falling softly

on the polished wood floor.



“I’m hungry,”

I squeaked in my four-year-old voice

as I had yesterday and the day before that.

Exasperated silence,

then a defeated sigh.

“Fine. Try to eat more at dinner, okay? Waigong will take you to the noodle place.”


“Two bowls please,”

my grandfather requested as we reached the front of the line.

I looked around,

taking in Zunyi at night.

My grandparents were always complaining

about its nonstop noise and blinding lights

that swallowed the stars above.

But for me,

the honking and construction

were lullabies I couldn’t sleep without,

and the neon signs and streetlamps

constellations in their own way.

We sat down at the table in the corner

like we always did

with our orders.

Spicy for my grandfather, regular for me.

He handed me the small bottle of soy sauce on the table,

and I drizzled it over my noodles

while watching him add chili powder to his.

“Is it good?”

He smiled

as I slurped and finished the soup.

“Mhm. Did you like yours?”

“Yes. Are you ready to go?”


We left the restaurant

and stepped outside.

“Let’s go home.”

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