Shengliver’s Note: A Chinese teen shares with us what happened at a family dinner party during the Spring Festival.


My father is good at cooking so he decided to make a big meal to treat all my family and close relatives during the festival. That day we invited over my grandmother, my uncle, my aunt and her husband, and my cousin. As you know, my aunt has been pregnant for some time. Very weak, she even vomited on the way to my home. Hardly had they entered when her husband shouted, “Fetch her a glass of water. Quick!” To tell you the truth, I only met with this man twice. I could hardly recognise him. Being shouted at suddenly pissed me off. I stood there, staring at his old ugly face for a while. Then I walked away. In the end, mum helped me give my aunt some water. Soon I forgot all about this matter.


When we were eating, my uncle praised my dad for his cooking skills. We all laughed and agreed except that stranger. He said, “I know I can’t cook well, but I do well many other things.” His words chilled the air like ice. My cousin and I left the table soon after the dinner. After a while, that man said similar words again when they were playing mah-jong. My uncle got unhappy at his words. We all noticed that my aunt had been getting thinner and thinner since she got married to this man. My uncle thought the man was to blame for it. In the end, my uncle and the man started to quarrel.


The day could have been peaceful and pleasant if the man had not attended the party. I never thought I would have such a relative. Since I was born, people around me have all treated me kindly. Seeing my aunt’s unhappiness, I decide that when I choose my man in time I will not make the same mistake as she did.


This incident reminds me of Leo Tolstoy. He said in one of his works Anna Karenina, “Happy families are all alike; yet each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”


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