Only later, at home, on the wooden bed we shared, did Mama weep. It did not matter that other aunts and uncles gave me red envelopes, although when I compared mine with my cousins’, I discovered that my sums of lucky money were but half theirs. That’s because you’re half-blooded, said one calculating cousin. You’re a bastard. When I asked Mama what a bastard was, her face inflamed. If I could, she said, I’d strangle him with my bare hands. Never in my life has there been a day when I learned so much about myself, the world, and its inhabitants. One must be so grateful for one’s education no matter how it arrives. So I was grateful, in a way, for my aunt and my cousin, whose lessons I remember much more than many nobler things that passed before me in school.
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