By Haolun Xu
You start to grow old so fast, you notice how much you love home.
Home means a local mall, it means a place with a little Thai stand with all the world in the pocket.
You walk in with mystery.
People ask you with curiosity if you’re a student, if you work, if you have kids.
You laugh with charisma. You say you’re looking forward to all your time in the world.
London, maybe, next week. But next week never comes. Today just has too much of you in it.
But you’re adventurous, right? You order a new thing everyday. A meal that can be held in your hands, it is the best part of your day. It’s the biggest pillar of your lunchtime.
One day, you have a beautiful combo. Pineapple and shrimp, rice and chopped veggies.
It’s perfect. It’s yours,
you eat it more and more each next month, every other day, every day. You gorge yourself in it,
you start to smile more and more each time,
they start to cheer whenever you come over. You ask, do you know me, and they say yes! of course we know you! They’re all so happy, you’re family now.
But they stop asking about London. They stop asking where you’re going,
they suddenly have all the jokes of a lifetime to tell you.
And they stop asking for your name,
they don’t need to know what it is to know who you are.
Haolun Xu was born in Nanning, China. He immigrated to the United States in 1999 as a child. He was raised in central New Jersey and studied Political Science and English at Rutgers University.