Lucy Zhang

It has been two years since we’ve been to China because nonessential travel isn’t allowed, and we’re still not going back for Lunar New Year

Popo is going crazy. She texts Han every day, asking what she did wrong to raise an inconsiderate son like him, one who doesn’t ask how his parents are doing, who behaves so distant to the folks who raised and fed and sent him through school. I tell Han she’s gaslighting him, making it all about herself, but deep down I wonder if that’s what happens to women who have children. Popo seems normal in our extended family chat, chatting about Zao Tang (灶糖) and how you can find those candies in any store in Shenyang and how she’d buy it every New Year for Han when he was little—even though it’s too sticky, too sweet, Han tells me. I don’t like sweet things: gag on the Fujis, tolerate the Granny Smiths. I try to play peacekeeper because I don’t want Popo thinking I stole her son when I suppose I did if you squint under dappled sunlight, so I reply sayin