‘Baba’ by K-Ming Chang

It’s probably just accidental I put this story of a wayward father straight after the previous one. 

It’s a child’s account of her father, Baba, leaving home to live in another city for work. The swirl of all the different emotions is magical, her memory of his aggression dreamy and shocking: 

Baba watched the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, the shots of buildings buckled like knees, schools shaken into loose sand, and among the wreckage, a child’s backpack, pink with a plastic bow on it. That could be yours, my father had said, pointing at the screen. You could be under there. I’d be the one digging you out with my own hands just to bury you again.

When Baba stops calling, the mother – with young son and narrator in tow – travels to find him.

First published in Gulf Coast Magazine and available to read online here