Today I went to the market to get some meat. I walked bent over myself and at a hasty pace, poking at people with my cane when they got in my way. I muttered curses under my breath, and constantly talked to myself in a crazy fashion. I have come to prefer being rude to caring about other people’s emotion. This is not the right thing. I sometimes act like her even when I’m supposed to be me. I think it’s partly because my husband is never home anymore, and I’m not near any people who act formally. On the contrary I am surrounded by my maids all the time. I love them, and couldn’t live without them, but their mannerisms are much like hers. I am surrounded by her, which is something that I can’t say I am too unhappy about.
I also love going to Chinatown; New York Chinatown, filled with old ladies who yell at random people on the street. The streets are crowded, and I don’t have to watch myself, or be conscious of everything I do. It reminds me of home, a home that I can barely remember, but starts coming back to me. I left China with my mother when I was ten, I have so few memories. In Chinatown, filled with culture and language and art, disguised as an old lady, I feel like a little girl again.
Today, as I was walking down the street I stopped in my tracks. I felt terrible, because I should never do this, not ever. I was trained to never stop walking, to always keep my actions focused on whatever my alibi was. But this time, I couldn’t help it. I had to stop. I don’t know why I knew, but I knew. I saw my dad walking down the street. The truly absurd thing is, I haven’t seen him for over 30 years, yet I positively knew it was him. He knew me too. He didn’t know it was his daughter, but he knew it was me; I saw a flicker of recognition in his face. I had the strongest urge to just run up and reveal myself to him, but I couldn’t do that. I would have been violating at least 23 policies. So, I did what was drilled into my brain, rather than what I so strongly wanted to do. If I had gone up to my father and just hugged him, and told him that I missed him, he would, understandably, have thought me completely crazy. I would have had to explain, which would mean going somewhere private, which could in turn raise suspicion. I may seem somewhat paranoid, but I have learned that there are always eyes watching every action every person makes, and being cautious never hurts.
So, instead of straightforwardly going up to my father, I followed him. I couldn’t do this right away, because I had stopped in my tracks, if you recall. Normally when a person simply stops walking, it is because they have forgotten something, so I had to pretend I had. As it so happens, I had just passed a meat market, and I figured I might as well shoot two birds with one stone; my mission for the day had been to get meat. I went into the market and acted hurried, and was as rude as I could be without causing a scene. I tried not to look too nervous, and made it clear that I was not to be messed with. I walked out of the meat shop with a pound of beef in my hands. I realized this wasn’t necessarily the best choice, because it was heavy, but figured it could come in handy if I was being attacked by dogs who were craving fresh meat. I walked hurriedly in the direction my father had gone, which was crazy. I had been in the meat shop for at least 3 minutes, and he should have been 10 blocks away, and he could have gone down any number of side streets. But, perhaps by fate, he was only a block away.
I followed him for another 20 minutes, down crowded streets and mysterious back alleys. We ended up in a park, which could have been lovely, had it not been surrounded by tall, looming buildings. When I walked in the park, I let out a sharp gasp.
“Your first mistake, you were doing amazingly well, I almost didn’t see you there.”
I hadn’t been sure it was him, but after he spoke I knew it was. Michael, Michael who I hadn’t seen for over 3 months, was here, meeting up with my father. What are the chances? Does Michael know that the man he is meeting is my father? Does my father know that I am married to Michael? Does he know that I am his daughter?
“Why did you follow me here?” This time, my father is the one to speak. I guess I was either a bad tracker, or my father is amazing at catching people. I had been trying particularly hard this time to track well, and I wouldn’t know why he would be able to figure out I was tracking him, and I’m one of the best trackers I know, even on a bad day.
“Dad, how did you know I was following you?” I ask this, already knowing the answer.
“Linda, is that you?” I hadn’t realized that my father didn’t realize I was me. That’s understandable, considering how I looked, but still I thought I had seen a flicker of recognition. I was able to put the puzzle pieces together and understand that what I had seen had been recognition, only it was his recognition of my face. I had been a face he had to study, I was the enemy. But I was on the same team with Michael. Why would my father be meeting up with the enemy? He had walked into the park without any protection or backup. Why was my father so comfortable around Michael? “Linda?” I had forgotten that I had been asked a question. I had lost my composure, overwhelmed by feelings; the opposite of how someone in my position should act. I just couldn’t believe it, how could I have not seen this before? I had heard his name so many times in the news, even though I had tried to make myself as distant from any reminders of home as possible. But here was the closest thing I had left to home standing near me, and I knew exactly what I had to do.
“Yes, it is me, Linda,” I proudly state to my father, “It is me, who you have not tried to contact for over 30 years. It is me, who you sent away when times were difficult for you. It is me, me who came here with only my mother as a child, and a mother who was killed by Chinese Intelligence. It is me, a woman who has settled down in America, but always missing home. Married to Michael, I became a spy. I tried to get back at Chinese Intelligence, for killing my mother. They are all terrible people, who deserve the worst type of punishment. It is me, who will do whatever it takes to avenge my mother’s death. It is me, your daughter.”
With that, I shot both my father and my husband. I killed my father more for my personal revenge, but also to help protect my country. I reported my husband as being a double agent, working with Chinese Intelligence. I was given high praise for killing my father, the most notorious of the Chinese Intelligence. I was offered a high position with the CIA, but I refused. I didn’t love having to watch myself all the time. I had grown to love my relaxed life as an old woman, and decided that was what I would be. After little investigation, I found my husbands stash of money payed to him by Chinese Intelligence. I used this sum to buy a brownstone in the East Village, not far from Chinatown. I invited all of my maids to join me, and we all live together, happily ever after. Maybe there’s not prince in shining armor, but that’s fine with me.
Age 12, Grade 7
The Dalton school