Kyle’s Column: A Revelation


In the latest installment of Kyle’s Column, WSPN’s Opinions Editor Kyle Chen reflects upon the lessons that come with having a cold.

Kyle Chen

Last Saturday morning, I woke to the rude beeping of my alarm clock. Pushing aside my blankets, I squinted at the crisp LED display resting on my nightstand – 10:30 a.m. Stretching leisurely, I slowly elevated myself from the warmth of the covers. My feet padded over the soft wooden floors as I sauntered down the stairs and into the kitchen. Sitting on the table was a plate of crispy bacon and scrambled eggs accompanied by a note from my mom informing me that she had gone out to take my little brother Easter egg hunting. Still yawning, I plopped down on a chair and began shoveling food into my mouth.

After I finished eating, I threw on a hoodie and a pair of jeans and strolled outside. My dad greeted me by tossing me a pair of work gloves and pointing a finger at the collection of severed tree branches littering the yard. With a groan, I rolled up my sleeves and got to work.

I was in the middle of lamenting the loss of a beautiful Saturday morning and wallowing in self-pity when a gray, worn Toyota sedan pulled into the driveway. Looking up from the pile of sticks, I noticed a young African-American man emerge from the driver’s seat. He was tall, skinny and looked no more than a few years older than me. Clutching a thin, brown package in one hand and a small slip of paper in the other, he walked over to where I stood, a pine branch still dangling loosely at my side.

“Sorry, sir, but is this the house of Mr.-” The man squinted at the paper and spoke with a heavy Bostonian accent. “Yung-how Chen?” Seeing as this was one of the better pronunciations of my dad’s name, I laughed. “Sure is. That’s my dad,” I told him. A look of relief passed over his face. “Thank goodness,” he said, handing me the package. “Took me forever to find this place.” Hastily, I dropped the branch and took the small brown box from the man’s hand. “Thanks – that happens a lot,” I told him apologetically. I live on a secluded private drive in a corner of north Wayland, so people tend to get lost trying to find my house.

“Oh, I’ll bet,” the man joked. “Not easy to find your way through this forest. Have a good day!” His job done, he smiled and turned around, walking briskly back to his car. With a start, I noticed there was another person in the vehicle. Looking at me from the passenger seat was a young boy who couldn’t be older than seven or eight. Must be his brother, I thought. Only his head and shoulders were visible, the rest of his body being blocked from view by several large brown boxes balanced upon his legs. Upon close examination, it became clear that the whole car was stuffed to the brim with boxes. The man got into the car and sped off, the wheels bouncing over the bumpy dirt road with a squealing noise that slowly faded as the car disappeared. Bewildered, I turned back to my pile of sticks, trying to process what had just happened.

Living in Wayland, I often find that it is easy to forget how privileged I am and how easy my life is. I woke up on Saturday having slept well into the morning, getting out of bed to a hot breakfast premade for me by my mom. The man I saw – when did he have to get up that morning? With the mountain of packages in his car, I have little doubt that he had to wake up early, probably earlier than I would wake up on a normal school day. Did he and his brother have time to enjoy a nice warm breakfast? That day, I lost maybe two hours of free time doing spring cleaning. How much free time did the man have to sacrifice – just to earn a livelihood?

The conversation I had with the young man lasted no more than half a minute. But through even that small time frame, I got a glimpse into his world. The young man delivered more than just a package; he also brought me a dose of reality. And I’d be sure to ask him his name, too.

Opinion articles written by staff members represent their personal views. The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent WSPN as a publication.