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A sense of family

By: Haolun Zhang

The vibrantly blue laser bullets that came out of my gun penetrated the hordes of enemies in front of me. My right hand danced on my mouse, clicking as fast as possible, while my left hand flew across the keyboard, controlling the countless actions made by my avatar. I was playing a shooting game online. Video games have always been my source of pleasure: whether to relieve stress from a long day of studying or just to casually hang around, chatting with friends. I’ve never tried to be noticed; I’m Edward, the shut-in middle child in my family. I’m not my prestigious elder brother who is a straight-A student in high school, nor the adored younger sister that attracts everybody’s affection. Desperate for approval, I claw my way up in the middle school test scores, becoming an unsocial person.

The last thing I expected today was for Mom to poke her head into my room to invite me on a walk. “Come on, dear! It’ll be fun!” she said, before leaving my room to prepare to go outside. Stunned, my fingers stopped moving. The gaming avatar on the screen was brutally mobbed by countless enemies, but I didn’t care - Mom never invited me on walks because she knew I disliked them. Surprisingly, I was tempted to accept. Sitting all day wasn’t a good way to boost your mood. So, although begrudgingly, I stood up and changed clothes for outside.

There was a chill summer breeze brushing through my hair and filling my hoodie as I walked with my family, hands in my pockets. As I walked, I contemplated: why would Mom suddenly invite me on an evening walk? Yet the most curious of all were my siblings - they would usually question anything unusual, especially my little sister, who was used to walking the paths with only her eldest brother and parents. I diverted my eyes away from them, secretly fidgeting in my pocket, trying to justify my mother’s reason for this invitation. Fortunately, my mother started speaking, trying to distract me from my worries. “Isn’t the scene just perfectly picturesque?” Although it was a distraction, I have to admit it worked. The innumerable leaves that permeated the trees were colored with the vivid shade of emerald. I felt like I was under a blanket, a blanket made of leaves, and a blanket of a jade hue.

Unknowingly, while admiring the trees, I followed my family into a park, where we all sat down. “So, how is our Edward doing?” asked my dad. I gave him a weak smile. “Trying to catch up to my brother, I guess,” I replied, looking downwards at the grass beneath me, holding in my tears. “Dear, you don’t have to try that hard,” said Mom, encouraging me. “Your brother was lazing around all day at your age!” “Really?” I asked my brother, slight tears dripping from my eyes, unbeknownst to me. “It's true, little bro,” said my brother, giving me a pat on the back. My little sister was after him, jumping up and pouncing on me, almost knocking me to the ground. “Mommy and Daddy are right!” she remarked, hugging me with all her might.

At that moment, I realized that no matter how secluded I am, my family would always be with me, motivating and uplifting me. They weren’t strangers that shared the same bloodline as me, but instead, people that had an emotional connection with me. But most of all, they loved me.

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