Encounters during a walk

When I was in kindergarten, our teachers often took us on a walk in the neighbourhood. Since most of us lived in close proximity to the kindergarten, we almost always encountered some of our family members. Our teacher would say

“Oh, there is so-and-so’s father! Let’s say hello everyone!”


“Oh, that’s so-and-so’s mother and sister!”

I always liked these moments because I was curious to learn about my classmates’ family. But whoever happened to run into their own family members would always turn their faces away from them looking embarrassed. I wondered what there was to feel embarrassed about.

Once during our walk, I heard one teacher say that there was my father ahead of us. When I looked in the direction, my father was crossing the street, obviously embarrassed by being the target of attention of a group of kindergarten children but managing a smile somehow. I was far in the line, and the encounter lasted for only a few seconds, so I didn’t really pay much attention.

Then on another day, we were walking in my community of half-dilapidated apartments, and we came across my mother and brother. My brother was sitting on his ride-on car and my mother was standing behind him. It was their regular walking route. My mother smiled and waived at us while my brother looked at us curiously. I wasn’t sure if they saw me or not.

“She has a brother!”

Somebody shouted in the line.

“Yes, of course I do!” I thought, but didn’t say anything. Instead, I turned away from everyone just like others did upon encountering their family members.

Even after I turned away, I could feel that both my mother and brother were still looking in our direction, but I didn’t waive them back. I was busy looking down on the street. A strange mixture of proud and embarrassment made me act like a cool girl that day.