Chinese New Year


Two tables away is a family who looks to be celebrating.

Their son is a handsome, bright, well put together success story,

The type of dream that made his parents move to this country in the first place.

His fiancé shows off her ring.

The couple is too old to be young, too young to be old.

This is the start of something,

The family is thinking “It’s about time.”

But the fiancé has a different thought.

“What have I done,” she wonders.


It starts to snow. I can see the flakes through the eyes of my own reflection.


One table away is a mother who rediscovered a kind of happiness inside of her two young sons.

The husband has a working class face, the type that screams of physical labor.

Each takes a turn kissing her on the cheek.

In her eyes she thinks back to a time

When none of this was real

Or could ever be.


My mother says, “it’s snowing.”


The focus shifts between the two tables and I try to learn as much as I can as fast as I can about the scenes. Darting eyes, clear body language, it’s all right there. My mother is asking if I would be upset if she changed her last name when she got remarried.


I look through my own eyes into the snow again. I wonder if when I fall, will it be gracefully onto the ground like the snow? An aesthetic dance between earth and heaven? Or will I end up in a restaurant on Chinese New Year wondering what the hell went wrong?





W. T. Paterson is a Chicago writer. Recently nominated for the Pushcart Prize, his other work can be seen in Farther Stars than These, Twisted Vine, and New Bourgeois. Send him a tweet @WTPaterson


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Cover photo: Allen Forrest