It was the busiest time.
He sought good fortune in small things. Mostly because it was absent from the big ones. There was always some disaster to contend with: illness, sorrow, loss.
He was born unlucky. His mother pushed by the side of the road because he’d come so quickly. He was blamed for his rash emergence. For her illness. For her early death. Blamed in the not-so-subtle ways that used words like blades.
“You always were impatient,” his grandmother would say. “Show too-little respect.”
He knew his grandmother resented his emerging like a peasant in the dirt when she had clawed her way out of the rice-fields. He had no response.
“Be grateful that you have enough to eat,” she’d frown. “Unlucky boy.”
Xinhua offered work. He fled.
The letter said that his grandmother had died.
New Year approached. His good fortune was to spend it alone.