My family toasted my father on his sixtieth birthday, but I looked into my rice bowl—suddenly, I was no longer thirty, but ten, coming home and seeing my dog hanging from a tree in the yard, its skin already peeled. I was now the little girl looking at the dog stew in tears.
Dinner over, my father said, “You haven’t been home for a year. Can’t you stay tonight?” I shook my head, remembering how he’d enjoyed the stew. How, when I’d confronted him twenty years ago, he’d said, “Your grandfather did it,” and I’d replied, “But you let him.”