Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Fiction Assn #4

This week we focused on voice. Today I introduce you to Li's mother.

I wait for my daughter. It be our last conversation. I so sad, and grow more weary waiting. Morphine drip into my blood. I watch ugly, cruel clock on wall. She be here soon though. I try be patient. 



Footsteps coming, like fancy shoes she wears. I try not weep now.


“Mom!” She runs to me, kissing my head. “I’m so sorry I wasn’t here sooner. My flight back from New York City was completely hellish. I missed a connecting flight. Then it took forever to... Oh, it doesn’t matter. Why didn’t you tell me you were sick? How long have you had this pain?”



“Wasn’t so bad,” I lie. She be mad if she knew. “Doctor take it out anyway. I good now.”



Her face no believe.



“Mom, I spoke with the surgeon.” My daughter comb through my hair while she speak, like my mother comb when I a child. “It had to be painful in your tiny belly. The tumor was bigger than a grapefruit.” 



She sigh hard and stop combing. I see tear fall down her pretty face.

“The cancer has spread to the lymph nodes, Mom.”



I be strong now and sit up. My belly split, but I ignore.



“Li,” I touch her face. “You everything to me, you know? I love you more than I supposed to love you. But I tell you truth now. Truth about your family. About your father.”



“My father? The truth?” Li ask me. 

Her eyes confused. I hold her hands and try take deep breath.

“You know picture I give you? Of your father?”



“Of course,” Li nods and smiles at me. “I keep it on my desk. It’s the only thing I have of him.”



“Li,” I squeeze her hands, “he not your father.” 

She pull her hands away and stand up. I know she be upset. 



“Not my father?” She throw her hands up. “So, the Vietnamese militant is just some stranger, sitting in my hand-carved mahogany frame?”



“He no stranger! He your uncle, my brother. You not waste good picture frame.” I explain, but she not care.



“But what about my father? Please tell me he really was in in the Vietnamese Air Force, and all those stories you told me are real?”



“Li, Peanut. Sit down by me.” I soothe her, though fire burn in my belly. She sit and I take her hands again. “That better.” I hear clock tick. Time run out soon. “You come from wealthy family in Saigon.”



“Wealthy? Rice farmers?” 

This make me laugh, but pain stop my laugh.

“No rice farmers. My father, very rich exporter. Ancestors make friends with French people long time ago.” I lay back. “Baba love me. Though I only a girl. Oh, how he spoil me!” I close my eyes and see Baba’s treasures. I now in my beautiful bedroom is Saigon. “He make Mother so crazy.” 



“Mom?” Li squeeze my shoulder.



I open my eyes. I must finish. Soon. 


1 comment:

Suzie Mages said...

Keep it coming Stef, you have me captivated... I need to know this story!!