by Ping Huang
Words Checked: 3328 Words in Oxford 3000: 93%
About the author Ping Huang, born in Los Angeles, America, living in Taiwan. Grew up like a normal Taiwanese girl with lots of love from the parents. She discovered her talent in language when she was 12. In junior high, she self-taught English by reading “Let’s talk in English” magazine and watching “Magic ABC” program on TV for three years. At the age of 15, she went to Wenzao Ursuline College of Languages to major in English and minor in French. In the mean time, she continued developing her interest by attending various competitions e.g. English story telling, drama, speech contests and received several awards as well. This novel is her first piece. She hopes true stories bring true reflections from the reader. Further contact: email@example.com
CONTENTS ONE .............................................................6 TWO ...........................................................15 THREE .........................................................17 FOUR .........................................................35 FIVE ……………………………………….….38
To Jo in the story and my dearest family. Thanks for supporting mein all times with a bunch a of love. At last, thank you, my father in Heaven. Youâ€™re my inspiration and my strength when I am weak. Without You, this novel would not be true.
I was standing far; I could see Jo finished his second cigarette. He threw the cigarette but on the ground and stepped on it. He kept talking on his mobile. It seemed that he wasn't very happy. No wonder he was unhappy, he just had a big fight with his parents. He rushed out with his father shouting his name. I walked by, patched on Jo's shoulder. He sighed, and hung up his phone. "Glad to see you," he said with a low tone. "What happened? Do you want to talk about it?" I asked. "No, maybe another time," he glanced at 6
me, "sorry, I'm meeting Chris at the Crown's cafe, I'll talk to you later." He jumped off the scooter he was sitting and walked toward to another one. He put on the helmet and started the engine with the key. I stood there and watched him left into the dark streets. I stretched both my hands into my pockets and left. ďźŠ At Jo's home, Mr. and Mrs. Wang were sitting across the dining table, blank and speechless. The dishes 7
were getting cold. No one touched any of them. Ester was sitting beside the table. She quickly finished he dinner silently; crabbed her bowl and dish to the kitchen sink. She slowly walked upstairs and entered her room. Downstairs, Mr. And Mrs. Wang were still quiet. "What happened to him? Is there an evil spirit inside of him?" Mr. Wang murmured to himself. "I don't know. You shouldn't mention about the grades or anything that he has done by the dinnertime. See, quarrels again." Mrs. Wang argued. "What do you mean I shouldn't 8
have mentioned the grades or anything? We're his parents, shouldn't we care about him?" Mr. Wang began to shout. "I didn't say we shouldn't care about him. Don't blur the point alright? It's just we were supposed to have a peaceful and nice dinner together but look what happened after you asked about all the stuff? He doesn't like to talk about it! You knew it wasn't the right time to talk but you still got into it. You spoilt the whole dinner!" Mrs. Wang fought back.
you're talking, you mean it was all my fault now?" "To be honest, yes. And 9
look at Jo's attitude. He has become more and more rude to us! I'm the one suffering all these. You always work, work and work! Can't you be at home earlier to discipline your son?" Mrs. Wang complained. "I'm out there working for who? For the whole family and now you're not appreciated but blame me?" Mr. Wang stood up and patted hard on the table and walked out of the dining room. Ester was in her room alone, weeping silently. She heard what her parents were fighting. "I don't want them to fight like that! What can I do? 10
God, help us. And where's Jo?" She thought while drops of tears fell down on her cheeks. She sat there for a while, and then she dried her face and began to read her Bible. Ester had been a Christian since her childhood and she was taught to rely on God when she encounters any difficulties. She read the Bible and wrote down something on her notebook. â€œDear God, I don't know why this struggle happened to my family. Is it because we had been so blessed and had lived smoothly all the time? Now you want us to experience something that other families are going through? I don't
understand. Show me your will and give us you great strength in order to let us know how to handle the whole thing with Jo. Give Mom and Dad wisdom to know how to deal with Jo. Pray in Jesus' name. Amen. ďźŠ Jo was driving very fast on the road, the wind swept over his face. He could barely open his eyes. It was 2 am in the midnight. Jo arrived the Crown's and parked his scooter. Chris was already there. He had ordered a cup of Latte. When he saw Jo, he made a sign and Jo 12
noticed it. Jo came to sit down beside Chris and said nothing. "Hey, do you want something to drink? Espresso?" Chris asked. "Maybe a beer!" Jo answered. "Sure," Chris turned his head to the bartender, "a beer, please."
away, sir." The bar tender gave them a big smile. Chris turned back and looked at Jo, "wow, you look like shit. What's wrong?" Jo shrugged, "nothing, my dad was pieced off. And I don't want to stay in that damn house." 13
Chris lit a cigarette and gave Jo one, "say, you know Fred is preparing a pizza shop and he needs some help. Want to come?" Jo blew some smoke out of his nose. "Yeah? When?" "This Sunday, I'm going' to buy something. You can come with me. We can give him a gift, you know." Chris sipped his latte and put the cup down. "Really, sure." Jo said.
I went home and sat in front of my desk for a while, recalling Jo's story. It was two years ago. Jo was 14 and studied in a private school. He was a cute boy, whoever met him would say so, but he has changed quite a lot. "Hey, Jo, come here!" one of Jo's classmates said to Jo. Jo went to them without doubts. "What's new?" Jo asked.
"Well, just wondering if you
have tried some cigarettes yet." Kung, a big guy who always fooling around. "No, I don't think I should try that. 15
It's not healthy." Jo insisted.
we have a saint here. Jo's too saint to smoke" Other people chuckled. Someone added, "yeah, he's such a saint little boy who should never try smoking like us. Let's give a break. Hahahâ€Ś" They started to talk about where to go that night. Jo was embarrassed so he said, "Give me one. I'll show you guys I can smoke." "Well, you're the man, give him one." Kung commanded to another boy. When Jo tried the first smoke, he coughed. Others laughed and gave him some applause. "Shit, this smells like shit," thought Jo. 16
"Ester, Mom and I are going to China for a week. Do you think it's ok to leave both of you at home?" Mr. Wang asked. “Dad, I'm already eighteen. I can take care of myself." Ester grinned and said to her father. "But we have never left you guys for such a long time you know." Mrs. Wang added. “Mom, I can handle it. But I think you should talk to Jo, he's the one always fooling around. He might burn the house while you are out." Ester teased. "Ester!" said Mr. Ester. “Just 17
kidding, dad." Ester spited her tongue. "Anyway, I asked May and Anna and some ladies at church to come over night so don't fool around." Mrs. Wang added. "Sure, mom, I'll be very good." Ester answered and went into her room. Mr. and Mrs. Wang looked at each other and had a bitter smile. Mr. Wang began, "do you think it will work? I'm a little worried." "Yeah, you're right. I think something might happen to Jo." Mrs. Wang said. â€œWell, anyway, we keep 18
praying for them. God will discipline the children he loves." Mr. Wang confirmed. Mrs. Wang still had the strange feeling inside of her heart. ďźŠ Saturday night, Jo and Chris are in the supermarket. "We need some chalks and poster paper. I'll go for the chalks and you go take some black papers, Jo." Chris commanded. After ten minutes, they met in front of the main gate.
"See, there's no chalk here. It sucks." Chris said.
"Well, maybe we
can try somewhere else. I remember that there are lots of chalks all over the public schools. Do you think we can take some?" Jo suggested. People kept passing them so they moved to outside the supermarket. "Right, there's a school in a block. Let's go." Chris said with excitement. Then they went to the school. It was ten o'clock already. It was all dark in the school campus. They sneak into the school building. "Damn, they're all locked." Chris 20
murmured. Jo said.
"What? That's too bad."
"Hey look, there are chalks
on the table." Chris couldn't hold his voice.
"That's right. It's so close.
What are we going to do?" Jo asked. "Mmâ€Śall the windows are locked but maybe we can knock it out and take some gorgeous chalks." Chris said. "Yeah, I'll get the stick." Jo offered. At this moment, the school's security guard already noticed Jo and Chris from the monitor.
just want to find a toilet, that's all. Gee, why they come just before I'm leavingâ€Ś" thought the guard.
He got up, moaning, and took a torch. He started to follow Jo and Chris to check if they were finished. "Okay, I got it. Do you want to do it or me?" Jo asked.
"I'll do it." Chris
took the cane. Jo and Chris didn't realize the guard was in a few feet away. Chris raised the cane and knocked the window glass. The glass broken but they heard a whistle blowing. "You nasty boys; how dare you!" shouted the guard angrily. Jo and Chris looked at each other, said nothing and began to run. The guard 22
chased them immediately and shouted, "Stop, don't think you can run away, I'll get you." They ran for about the whole campus in different directions. Jo finally stopped to look back. He saw no one in the dark. He gasped hard. His legs were shaking. "Damn, I'm toasted. How come the guard was behind us and we didn't know? And where's Chris?" At the same time, Jo's mobile rang. He picked up and hear Chris' voice. He suddenly knew he was totally in trouble. Chris got CAUGHT. 23
ďźŠ It was the fourth day since Mr. and Mrs. Wang were out. Ester was quite happy because she was going to swimming with some friends In the afternoon, Jack, a tall guy arrived at Ester's and Ester asked him to come into the house. While Jack was watching the family photos hung on the wall, he asked, "Where's Jo? I haven't seen him for ages." "Oh, he's been out for the whole day. Actually I have no idea where he 24
could be. He's always like that. Never tell us where he goes." Ester sighed and took her swimming bag. "Shall we go?"
"Yeah, the scooter’s in front of
the lobby." Jack said when he was putting on his shoes. When they arrived the swimming pool. Another friend, May, was already there waiting. She waved to Ester and Jack. ”Hey Jack, I didn’t know you were coming together.” May said. “Oh, I didn’t want to ride my scooter so I asked him to pick me up.” Ester said. They all went into the swimming pool. 25
ďźŠ Mr. and Mrs. Wang were in China and they had a good time working with the people there. At night, they took turns to take a bath. After Mrs. Wang came out of the bathroom, she said, "Isnâ€™t it wonderful, dear? I didn't believe we could work so well with them." "True, though we have different nationalities but we could still work well by God's love." Mr. Wang lifted his head from the book he was reading. "By the way, why don't we call 26
Ester and Jo to check if they're doing ok."
"Okay, I'll get it." Mrs. Wang
agreed. She took her notebook from her bag and began to dial. "Weird, it's the answering machine. It's almost ten o'clock. How come they're not at home yet?" Mr. Wang frowned and said, "Really? It IS weird. Is it Saturday?" "No, it's Sunday and they have school tomorrow." Mrs. Wang answered and left a message. "Hello, Ester and Jo, this is Mom and Dad to check if you're doing okay but you're not home yet. Behave well. Bye." Mrs. Wang hung up the phone and frowned. "I have the 27
strange feeling again. I think something happened." Mrs. Wang said to Mr. Wang.
"Don't worry, God will
protect them. Come on, let's go to bed." Mr. Wang pretended to be calm. He secretly prayed before he went on sleeping. ďźŠ Jo and Chris were taken to the police station next to the school. An officer asked, "You guys have any IDs? I need to inform your parents." Chris took out his driverâ€™s license. Jo also tried to find his wallet but he didn't find it. 28
"Damn, I must lost it when I was running on the campus." He thought. However, he stayed calm and said to the officer, "Sir, may I borrow your phone to call my family?" "Yeah, sure. It's over there on the table. Don't talk too long." ďźŠ Ester had a good time swimming with her friends. After she got out of the bathroom and was drying her hair with a towel. Jack patched her shoulder and said, "Jo called May and I think there's something wrong. You'd better check 29
with May." Ester ran to May, "What did Jo say?"
"Well, he said he was in the
police station and he needs you to go there right away." May said seriously with her big eyes.
"What? In the
police station?" Ester suddenly felt a stream of cold water pouring down. She calmed down immediately and said, "May, lend me your mobile and call him now. I need to know the whole thing." May dialed the number and passed the mobile to Ester. After a few seconds, Jo answered, â€œhello?â€? 30
"Jo, what happened? Why are you in the police station?" Ester asked with anxious. "Chris and I tried to stole some chalks from the school and we got caught.” “What? Steal some chalks? Are you nuts or what, why didn’t you buy some from the shop?” Ester yelled angrily. “Anyway, can you come here?" Jo answered emotionlessly tried to avoid that question. "I’ll be right there." Ester hung up 31
the phone. May and Jack looked at her and asked, “So? What is it?”
to steal some chalks from a school and he’s got caught. Stupid. What the hell was he thinking?”
May asked, “So
are you going to the police station?” “Yeah, Jack, sorry, could you take me there?” Ester turned to Jack. Jack nodded and took the keys out of the pocket, “Let’s go.” ＊ In the police station, Jo sat beside with Chris, silently. There was a sigh on the wall said, "No smoking" but all the officers were smoking in front of 32
the sign. Suddenly, Ester rushed with a very nervous face, followed by Jack. One officer stood up and said, "Are you Jo Wang's family?" "Yes, Iâ€™m his sister." Ester answered immediately, "Now what should I do? I'm his sister." "Well, he's lost his IDs but we need some certifications to identify him. These two boys broke into the classroom and swore to the school guard. Lady, this is very serious crime for teenagers. They might have to stay here until tomorrow then." Ester paled and turned to Jo said, 33
"Jo, what were you thinking? Why didn't you buy chalks in the shops?" Jo answered firmly, "We did look in the shops but there wasn't any." Ester sighed and turned to Jack. "Jack, is that possible that let your parents to handle this?" Jack looked at Ester and pick up his mobile, dialed.
At Wang's, Ester sat in her room again, tears pouring down. She was writing her diary. "Dear Diary, They just fought few minutes ago. I'm feeling so bad. My stomach is hurting. The relationship between Mom and Dad and Jo is becoming worse. Every time they talk about disciplines and manners, they fight. Every time when Jo asks for allowance, they fight. I can't stand the attitude which Jo's having, but Mom and Dad's limitations are different as well. There 35
are so many problems we're facing. When does it end? When is Jo coming back home with a smile? Since when "home" becomes a battlefield for us? I don't want them to fight anymore. Why is God hiding his face of us? Why doesn't He do some thing? I'm tired of listening their quarrels, their arguments, and their different ideas. Why can't Mom and Dad have the same rules? Why is the world so unfair? Dear Diary, would you tell me what to do?" Ester dried her face and closed her diary. Suddenly, a thought ran into her mind. She opened her diary again 36
and wrote, "No matter what happens, God is by my side. God is by my family's side. God never hides his face of us. He has his timing and I shall be His servant. God, I know Jo will be back and a right perspective again. He's coming back by your timing. May your will be done. I shall be still and know that you're God. It' time for us to let him go because Jo's your precious child and I know that you'll always protect him from evil. We sometimes feel sad and angry but we know that You are by our side." Ester finished writing and closed her diary. She smiled. 37
Mrs. Wang just called me. She asked me what I would do to Jo if I were she. I sighed. I couldn't do anything to help her family but pray. She told me everything in her family. I've been very close to Wangs. It is very sad to see Jo has become a trauma in her family. Fortunately, they are Christians. They never give up on Jo. They keep praying for him because we know that some day, it must be some day, he would be a very good testimony of God. He has been through all dirty life 38
and made lots of mistakes. Wangs love Jo even Jo is very rude to them, that is because of God's love. They are so faithful to God. They did doubt that why God has put the trouble in their family. However, they never give up. They cried, they have sorrows, they complaint and they even tell God they rather kick Jo out of the family but they still believe, one day, Jo will be a the right track. They never give up because they know that God never gives up. I, as a story teller, I can hardly believe that the strength from God can 39
make people feel better but now I start to wonder how faith is like. THE END
insistence and perseverance. Jo went into a wrong track in his life. His family tried hard to lead him back. Difficulties, tough times can be met. What may happen in the future? How does the Wangs confront their problems? Who may help this struggling family?