Word Count: 777
I never understood the point of reading. My parents first introduced my siblings and I to its world at the early age of two. We were familiarized with letters, taught to link sound the visual and formed words with a stuttering start. We became accustomed to the quiet of Tuesday nights when my father would sit huddled on the sofa – my mother curled up in bed – his long nose buried in a novel, a black curtain cascading from her head to the pages, morphing into one with their respective books. As the night drew close the browns of their eyes would light up, while my mother’s red lips would quiver with excitement and my father would flash a lopsided smile. “Reading is an adventure,” they’d say. I never believed them.
Even though I was surrounded by books, it all felt foreign. I could never make sense of why my parents placed such importance upon reading, which for me, was always sidelined for advancing technology. I received more entertainment and interaction from television, video games, texting and computing than I did from a book. The visuals were provided so all that was required was looking and listening; it didn’t take much effort, and in this sense reading became a chore. I continued to look at the fables, the fairytales, the facts, the figures - but I read in the dark.
It wasn’t until we embarked on a routine holiday - this time to Shenzhen, China – that I began to appreciate the passion for reading that my parents spoke with.
The mugginess of the winter’s day was choking me as my mother’s hand clutched mine and my sister and I complained about the long walk back to our four star hotel. The noise of the traffic was oblivious to the homelessness right amongst it. The side of the road was not lined with the trees we fail to appreciate, instead with outreached hands and strained voices, crying for money, for food, for anything. Too fatigued to be standing - or living - in their torn, dirty clothes. As...