Uncle Chao, No Longer The Big Bad Wolf | Teen Ink

Uncle Chao, No Longer The Big Bad Wolf

January 19, 2014
By Eugii SILVER, Brooklyn, New York
Eugii SILVER, Brooklyn, New York
7 articles 10 photos 12 comments

The time I knew my uncle best was the time I knew the least about him. Up until the time I was six years old, my Uncle Chao was like the big brother I never had. It never occurred to me as unideal that Uncle Chao, twenty-something years old, would spend his days at home playing computer games, sleeping in on weekdays, and bringing home a new girlfriend every two weeks. In fact, I never really thought about how old Uncle Chao was. All I saw was my mom's awesome little brother, who had my back whenever I got in trouble at home.

He taught me how to play tetris on the old PC computer, picked me up from school on days when my mom was running late from work, and brought home pretty girls that liked to pinch my cheeks. My grandpa would scold him for his lack of commitment with women, but I never minded it. I looked forward to the young women who put on makeup and spoke in a girly voice, all to impress my cool uncle.

My nickname for Uncle Chao used to be “Big Bad Wolf,” as he would chase me around the house, with me running for my life. Our strange bonding activity was inspired by Little Red Riding Hood, the story that used to give me nightmares.

One day after school, the rain was pouring so hard that my feet felt bruised by the raindrops. As my classmates waved goodbye to me and scurried away with their mothers and fathers, I stood shivering, gripping my teacher's hand. When the sky thundered and darkened, I began to mentally prepare for the worst case scenario in which I would never return home, along with all the terrible things that happened in movies when the sky turned black. But when I saw Uncle Chao approach with his soaking pants rolled up, saying to me, “Haha, you must have been scared, weren't you?” I was relieved that nothing catastrophic had occurred.

I never paid close attention to how Uncle Chao looked, despite how close we were. We just lived together, sharing silly, purposeless moments. Perhaps things would have gotten a bit sentimental if I had looked into his eyes for more than a second, but I never did, and we got along fine.

Once I moved to the United States with my mom, bond between Uncle Chao and I began to fade. One day, my mom insisted that I give Uncle Chao a call on the phone, as he was about to get married. “Hi Uncle, congratulations on your wedding…” I greeted him awkwardly.

“You sound like a young woman now. How come your voice changed so much?” He responded.

And so just like that, the days of Uncle Chao, the Big Bad Wolf, and I, the Little Red Riding Hood ended. Soon, he would get married, forget about his computer games, and become a father with responsibilities.

Last Spring, Uncle Chao flew all the way to the U.S. with his son and his wife to visit us. I should have known his face well having lived with him for so many years, but when I looked at him then, it was as if I had never really seen him before. I always knew he was tan, but I didn't never noticed that one of his eyes was bigger than the other. The weirdest part was when I saw him on the couch, with his hands firm on his knees, sternly scolding his seven-year-old son to “stop fooling around with your cousin's stuff.”

The author's comments:
This was a senior writing assignment in which I had to describe an experience when something that was familiar became unfamiliar.

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