Chopsticks
Spider Magazine for Kids|September 2021
Shay can never hold her chopsticks properly. When she uses them, they crisscross and make an X, and sometimes she cannot quite pick up the slippery pieces of tofu. Her mother laughs.
By Grace Kang

“Jia Jia.” She calls Shay’s Chinese name, holding out her own chopsticks. There’s a soft noise as she clicks them together, no crisscross at all. “Zhè yàng.” Like this.

Shay tries, but it’s clumsy, even worse than the crisscross. She makes a face. “I don’t want to,” she says and reaches for a spoon.

“That’s cheating,” her brother says.

Shay pouts. “No, it’s not! Everyone at Abigail’s house uses spoons and forks!”

“Yes,” her father says, “but you live here. It’s traditional, Jia Jia.”

“I don’t want traditions,” says Shay. She’s too annoyed to see the twinkle in his eye. “I want to use a spoon.”

The next day, Shay’s mother packs noodles for her lunch. Chopsticks, too. Only chopsticks.

“I have an extra fork,” Abigail says. “You can borrow it if you like.”

Abigail can’t use chopsticks at all, not even the crisscross way. But she doesn’t have to. Abigail is pretty and blond and has a last name that isn’t Chinese. Sometimes, Shay wishes she lived like Abigail. Just sometimes.

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