The World Ends Today

Mama used to say I was the most beautiful person in the world. She’d say it while she fed me breakfast, always steady and slow because I used to always wake up early. The sun in Shanghai rose at what seemed like the middle of the night. If only I could wake at six in the morning and see the sun now.

If only days were bright now. If only days were as simple as school uniforms. I wish I could say I simply woke up on the wrong side of the bed that morning; I wish I could say that that was the reason why everything went south. I woke up that morning expecting to hear the sound of people in the streets like I always do, but that day was quiet. I remember rubbing my eyes, slowly sitting up, and seeing Mama crying. I felt the air slowly begin to leave the room, my knees losing their strength. I felt the world ending.

“We’re going to the states,” she managed to say through tears. After that remark, I could not comprehend why on Earth this situation was a sad one. At the time I hadn’t known, I didn’t understand.

I do now.
I do now. I wish I didn’t. But I do now.

My best friend’s name was something ridiculously cool at the time like dragon or knight or whatever. I suppose I can’t say best friend, considering I had forgotten his name within a few years.

The day she told me we were coming here, I hadn’t known I’d be leaving all of my life behind. I was from messy, chaotic streets in Shanghai. I was from the humid summers and busy lives.
I was not meant for easy living and steady-paced life. I was made for being spontaneous.

Mama always said the world would end when I began to fall in love. I thought about that each morning when I woke, though I didn’t have time for thinking. The sun doesn’t rise so early here. If only I could wake before the sun now. If only days were enough time for everything. I woke up that morning contemplating, no longer missing home. No, this was home-- a little broken down house in San Francisco.

Mama always said I was the most beautiful person in the world. I had lived long enough to know she was wrong somehow, though I took pride in being the most beautiful person in her world. That day was the day I learned I was not. If only I had known what that meant. If only I had known.

I do now.
I do now. I wish I didn’t, but I do now.

I walked to school that morning, through the busy streets of Chinatown, barely reminiscing. As I walked towards the gate, a girl with raven black hair began to walk beside me. I felt air surround us, felt my lungs being crushed by a growing heart. I felt the world ending, perhaps in the most beautiful way it could end.

By Cath Lei


  1. This. Is. Art.

  2. This might be so weird but as soon as I saw this piece your name popped into my head Cath! Maybe you mentioned it in the chat before but I just got this zingy feeling in my gut that it was your piece and it's amazing!!

  3. This is so amazing... you have a such a way with words.