"Mommy!" Shaochung ran in,
eager to tell all about daycare.
Lee walked in, not wanting to discuss school. He had
hit a little girl that day, because she called him a name.
Marina Jenrya, there mother, walked in. "Hi kids.
How was your day?"
"It was great!" Shaochung shouted, running to
her mother. Marina caught her in a hug. "I made two friends! Their names
are Cori and Rena! And guess what, I made a painting, and Lila said it was really
"That's great baby. Lee, how was your day?"
"Just a day."
"Do you have homework?"
"Yeah." He walked off to do it. He hated homework.
Shaochung and Marina walked into the kitchen.
Shaochung picked up Valerie, the teddy bear she'd had since birth, and adored.
"Mommy, can I finish telling you all the stuff I did?"
"Sure baby. While you do, do you want to help me
make dinner? Usually your Daddy helps, but he's running late, and I'd love for
my little girl to help me.
"Okay!" Shaochung took out a packet of rice. "Are we
having rice tonight? I love rice."
"Yes. I'll show you how to make it if you want."
Marina put water to boil.
"Yay!" Shaochung cheered. Suddenly, a question
entered her mind. "Mommy, what do you do for work?"
"I'm an artist. I make paintings. Like the one you
made in daycare, but it takes me more time to do it, and people pay me money
"Wow. Mommy, can I do that to when I grow up?"
Marina knew how hard life was when you pursued any kind of art. But she didn't
want to squash her child's hopes so young. "Sure honey. You can do whatever you
want if you try."
"Mommy, the waters all bubbly now!" Shaochung said,
peering in to the pot. It's like a bubble bath!"
"Yes, it does look like a bubble bath. But it's very
hot, and you don't want to take a bath in it."
Shaochung hugged her teddy bear. "Can I pour the
"Sure. Just, be careful." Shaochung picked up the
box, tossing down her bear. "Like this?" She poured the contents into the pot.
"Yeah. That's right."
Shaochung glanced at her discarded toy. She noticed
stuffing was coming out. "Uh oh…mommy, Valerie's broked."
Marina looked at the toy. "Oh, it's okay sweetheart.
I'll fix it tomorrow."
They finished making dinner. Shaochung couldn't stop
bragging that she helped make the rice. Especially when Lee said he liked it.
"This is pretty good stuff Mom." He said, as he shoveled rice into his mouth.
"I helped!" Shaochung proudly proclaimed.
"It's good 'cause I helped!"
"Mom?" Lee said. "Did she?"
"Yes, she did. Anyway, Lee, you never told me about
"I told you it was just a day." I hope Mommy never
finds out what I did. Lee thought. He knew it was bad to hit people. But
he didn't like being called names. No one did.
"Well, if anything interesting happens tomorrow,
will you tell me?"
They finished the meal. Shaochung and Lee helped
with the dishes. "Kids?" She said when they were done. "It's time for bed."
Lee and Shaochung shared a room. The family wasn't
exactly made of money, so their house was small.
Marina put them to bed. "G'night." She said, kissing
them goodnight. "I love you." She turned out the light and went to work on her
Shaochung felt sort of lonely without her teddy
bear. But it was okay. She knew she'd have it tomorrow night. Mommy said she'd
Eventually the siblings fell asleep.
Sunlight fell in through the window, lighting up the
world. Shaochung couldn't wait to get back to daycare. She loved it there.
Lee had really been hoping something would come up
so he wouldn't have to go to school. But it didn't, so he was going.
Marina came in to wake them up. They all went into
the kitchen and ate breakfast.
"Mommy?" Shaochung said. "You're going to fix
Valerie today, right?"
"Yes. First I have to run a few errands."
"Where's Daddy?" Lee asked, looking up from his
"He's at work sweetie. He has a really tight
"Why can't Daddy work at home like you?"
"Well…he's not artistic like me, and so he does a
job that must be done outside the home."
"I miss him."
"I miss him to, baby."
They continued to eat. Marina drove the kids to
there various destinations. "Bye-bye, Shaochung." She said as she left her at
daycare. "You take the bus home today, okay? Mommy has to do a lot of errands,
and she might not be back in time." Shaochung giggled. She thought it was funny
how lots of mommies talked in third person.
"Bye-bye Mommy, I love you."
"Love you to baby." And she went out the door.
Shaochung went to play with Rena and Cori. She was
having the time of her life. She loved daycare.
Later in the day, Lila, the lady who ran the
daycare, went over to Shaochung. "Sweetie, come here a minute?"
"Um, I don't know how to tell you this…but…your mom
was…well, she was, she was killed, in a car crash."
Shaochung didn't know how she
survived the rest of the day. She was in a sort of shocked state. Her mother
couldn't be dead, not her mommy who loved her. No.
hours ago she'd seen her. People didn't die so quickly, especially not mommies,
especially not her mommy. It just didn't happen
But she was, and it did, and by the
time she got home, Shaochung had accepted the truth.
She walked in the door, no longer
happy as she'd been the day before. She hoped Lee and Daddy would be back soon.
She needed them.
Her teddy bear, still broken, lay on
the table, a needles and thread beside it. Mommy had meant to fix it.
Something snapped. Shaochung went
into a hysterical anger. "Mommy said she'd fix it! But she can't fix it now, 'cause
she's dead!" In her rage, she threw the bear into the fireplace, which
was still going from the morning.
She watched the bear burn, and she
fell on the ground and cried.