A Thousand Pieces of White Gold

Anna Ding

© Copyright 2022 by Anna Ding

Photo by David Mark from Pixabay
 Photo by David Mark from Pixabay

The early years of my life were blurry and unclear. It was like living in a dream, uncaring and unknowing. I canít really remember anything, only little pieces of my puzzle. 

But, sometimes I get hit hard with deja-vu, the memory of the field.  Rows upon rows of white gold standing in casual slumps waved in the wind, a shriveled reminder of what they were. Elegant grids planned out for enjoyment, artificial paths contrasting against the surrendering  nature. The steel wires shackled and contained the defeated stalks, a wondrous playground for the children, a jail for them.

 I donít remember the dinner afterwards; my mind drew a complete blank, the corn maze too exciting and the dinner too bland. I only remember the crunch of a slightly sour apple, the warm buzzing in my chest, and the rare smile on my momís face.

     Mom was stressed, and at that time, I didnít even notice, or maybe, I didnít want to. She was alone, in a brand new country, in a new environment where she didnít have anyone, not even any friends, or family. She had to support a child while trying to expand her business, and while at the same time learning a brand new language 20 years too late.  

    I wasÖa difficult child.  Not difficult in the sense that I was picking fights, but difficult because I was different, didnít fit in, was more of an outcast. I wasnít hated, but wasnít liked either. I was too brazen and too timid at the same time.

   It was these days he missed his homeland, deliciously cool and windy at all times, where he could lie on the grass and listen to the birds sing, the sun never blinding as it is always obscured by either clouds or heavy mist in midday. It was never too chilly in the day too; it was always balanced delicately as it was warm enough you never needed to wear a sweater, but not cold enough to make the winds feel like they were cold, freezing tendrils that stuck to his skin and got under his clothes. There were no misty mornings where he couldnít see his hands when he was sent out to fetch a pail of water. Summer was different here.

It was awkward, since I was new to everything. The neighbors a bit too kind and the world a bit too big. Change was all around me, and the fragile house we lived in:  too afraid of change.

The sun shone brightly in all its midday glory as he labored away in its heat, sweat dropping off his hair like dew in a misty morning. He glared at the field, the suns swaying gently in the hot wind stared back. He stopped when the bright yellow was seared into his eyes, effectively blinding him like a cursed version of revenge. He ran a hand through his sweat slick hair and bemoaned his existence of being a dark haired human, the little streaks of gold not enough to resist the all consuming black. Summers here were dusty,  the sun boiling. 

The rare times when father would visit us was filled with tension and childish pretense. My mom felt more relaxed but a too tense at the same time.They were almost always arguing about something, whether it was about my education or about the neatly stacked bills on the kitchen counter. I didnít know how to act around my father. He was intense, but gentle. He didnít have a way with words, but he always showed it through his actions. I remember a day in winter when it just stopped snowing, the white piling up,  blocking the lower half of the front door. Giving me a little plastic bag of nuts, he ushered me away to feed the squirrels. I returned with a red face and scraped knees.

He turns around again, tracing the mountain range with a thin finger blemished with scars. ďI heard the view is wonderful up thereĒ the winged boy said, halting his finger and letting gravity take hold on his arm, his other hand finding hers  (they were so shaky) and clutching it like a lifeline. 

    ďDo you think Iíll make it?Ē 

 But now, all I remember is the fight that day where the snow was just covering half of the front door, I donít remember how I got in, or how I managed to scape my knees in such a short time, or if I actually caught a squirrel. But in my mind I can still see the frightened birds waiting for a clearer path to take flight, to leave the trees behind.

    He wanted to continue his journey, but the scene was too good to be left with the dust he raised in his travels.  The looming mountains in the background acted as a perfect backdrop for the lake. The lake was alive; it shifted, moved, rippled without any care for this world, the mountains, unmoving, seem to look over the entire plateau, strong but gentle. As the mist set in, the sun gradually blurred into a haze of red and yellow, as it spilled over like an orange and drenched the whole skyline. He tasted the water, hoping it would change after the metamorphosis, but to no avail. The lake was still the same. It didnít taste like oranges. 

      Now, many years later, when see birds taking flight,  all I can taste is the scent of warm corn and the apple I picked too early to be sweet.

Anna Ding is a 14 year old aspiring writer who reads way too many fantasy novels in her free time. She has been traveling back and forth between China and America for many years, and wants to share her experiences through her writing, while staying true to her fantasy roots.

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