reprinted from The New Yorker ca 2011
(Winner of the __year___ __literary award__ )
I had not seen ___Foreign Name___ in many years, not since our parents were __nationality__ immigrants living in ___posh suburb___. Life was very difficult. My father had a doctorate in __medicine, law or engineering__ from __Ivy League college___. His name was _foreign name___ but we called him __nonsense word___. My mother’s name was __foreign name___ but we called her __gibberish__, which is a sign of respect.
My mother had a difficult upbringing in one of her country’s wealthiest families. Imagine the hardships they faced coming to America with only one post-graduate degree between them. And she never truly got used to America. It was difficult for her to be a stay-at-home mom with one child in such a large, opulent house. Back then, of course, they lived in __upscale urban neighborhood__ and my father taught at the university.
Fitting in was difficult. My mother would not let me wear the stiletto heels and fishnet stockings that my junior high school classmates wore.
“Please, mother,” I would say, “I want to look like a whorish American girl.”
“No,” she would reply, “These Americans are __insulting undefined nonsense word__. You will wear the __made-up article of clothing__, a modest and traditional garment.”
Also we ate strange foods. It was so embarassing. I just wanted the lardburgers and sugary cereals that my obese, spoiled classmates ate. But my parents insisted on serving __made-up food__, a bitter, pungent, traditional dish made of __ingredient___ , as well as __made-up food__, which is similar but really, really spicy. And it was difficult being the only child in my elementary school who had memorized Virgil’s Aeneid or Pi to 10,000 digits, so surely I was doomed to a life of wealthy, tedious, intellectual privilege.
But adolescence was difficult. I met __someone’s name__ and everything changed. I started following them around and imitating their wanton American customs. I entered puberty and my __body part (plural)___ grew larger. My __body part___ began sprouting hair, which made me feel like a real woman, just like __older woman’s name___.
I kissed a boy – with tongue. Instead of calculus camp, I took a college class in __artistic field of study____. And at a graduation party for __typical slutty, meaningless American girl name____, one of the heavily made-up American trollops I befriended, I drank a beer.
Today I am happily married and have __number___ degrees and __number____ lovely children and __giant number___ dollars.
But I was shocked to learn that when I was ___age_____, a poignant tragedy happened to __name of close friend or relative__. It was difficult. I will now end the story here so the tragedy will be fresh in your mind when awarding the ___literary prize____.