by Lyla M, Chinese adoptee raised in the USA
“What’s that key around your neck?” – I get that question as much as I get questioned about where I’m from.
I wear a golden key around my neck. I’ve been wearing it that way for ten years.
It says, “Togetherness is love, 10.02.62” on one side and “M. T.” on the other.
My mom, being a rebel, decided to skip school with a childhood best friend. They wandered the streets of New York City. They found the key. They tried to find the owner/place it went to. However, it had been thrown into the middle of street, so they were unsuccessful. My mom and best friend always thought it was a lover’s quarrel. Key thrown away in anger.
Fast forward to when my mom adopted me.
When I was little, I had a fear my parents would not come home to me after a date night.
My mom would say, “Take this golden key from this tower, keep it with you. We’ll be home when you’re sleeping and you can personally give it to me in the morning.” It gave me a sense of security. Like my mom and dad were with me and would return.
When I graduated high school, I had chosen to attend college out of state. As a gift, my mom had the golden key strung and gave it to me as a gift, as a promise to always be with me, that my mom and dad would always be there, at home, waiting for me to come home, key in hand (or around neck, to be precise).
A little story about a key shaped like a heart in honour of Valentine’s Day.