If you feel pain, it is actually alright!
Mother-in-law sobbed, “COVID is too serious, and you’d better not come back.”
A poem By Christina Yuhong Liu, current student in MA in Leadership Mandarin program
Translated by Jane Zhang, Program Manager for MA in Leadership Mandarin program
The last day of 2020
I woke up in the morning
and looked back upon
this unforgettable year.
In May, Father-in-law finished his journey in this world.
At the other end of the phone,
“COVID is too serious,
and you’d better not come back.”
expanded his business without restraints
And ran out of cash.
Faced with pressure,
He tore apart his splendid mask.
While COVID was still on rampage,
I started my studies in TWU.
I opened my book.
Countless messages rang in.
My 80-plus-year-old parents,
called from the other side of the city,
“are you coming to visit this weekend?”
Came home after overtime work,
And waited until Son went to bed.
Rushed to catch up with studies
while renovation and moving was underway.
Moodle got stuck.
Staring at the seemingly forever loading screen,
I could not hold tears any longer.
I wanted to tell myself,
“I don’t want to be a mediocre student.”
In son’s class WeChat,
numerous messages from the teacher
were still unread.
requests from different subjects’ teachers
and other parents’ detailed replies.
At that moment,
I tasted the mixture of
sourness, sweetness, bitterness, spiciness and saltiness.
I squeezed time to visit the hospital.
Waited and waited,
I was forced to pause,
which was so rare.
An unknown panic suddenly gripped me:
What if I fell down now?
The doctor ended her inquiry.
Printing the check request,
she carelessly said,
“If you feel pain,
it is actually alright.”
There was nothing serious.
Before going to bed on Christmas Eve,
“my classmates argued if God exists.
If He does, why did he allow this virus
to be unbridled?”
I was at a loss for words.
Last day of the year,
On the way home from work,
who was busy registering granddaughter for calligraphy lessons.
Arduous process of shareholders’ rights restructuring
our class motto,
“To achieve the mission together”;
The professors’ warm insistence,
I did not quit.
It is a habit of mine
on the last day of the year,
to summarize the 365 days that are going to be closed.
I realized that I had not given up
trying to answer my son’s question.
I suddenly remembered
the words from that smiling senior doctor.
the last night of 2020,
before going to bed,
I asked my son,
“If you never had pains,
what would your world be like?”
prayed for the New Year!
Christina Yuhong Liu is a current student in the MA in Leadership Mandarin program. She was born in Helongjiang Province, China and currently resides in Shenzhen City, China.
Jane Zhang is Program Manager of the MA in Leadership Mandarin program. She was born in Hebei Province in China. She has lived in Beijing and currently resides in Langley, B.C.