Last night, right before I went to bed, mom burst into my room, tablet in her hand, and told me sadly my grandfather had passed away. I stared at her awkwardly. I supposed I should feel sad. I should cry. I waited but no tears came. I thought he would visit me in my dreams, to tell me but instead, I spent the entire night scratching my hands in my sleep. I’m allergic to something.
Last night, I spent the night harvesting snow peas in the backyard. As I looked to the sky and watched the clouds roll in, I could feel something was off. Something wasn’t right but I was in too much of a hurry to care.
I didn’t want to listen. I didn’t want to know. I wanted things to go back to normal. I still want to but mom was insisting I email my aunt, someone I haven’t talk to in 14 years. I told her no. I wouldn’t know what to say.
This morning, 6 am, mom once again burst into my room. “You have to call your aunt.” She demanded.
“No,” I moaned. The last thing I want was to revisit someone in my past but she was insistent and then she pulled the money card.
“There might be some inheritance.” Oh no, she didn’t just do that. So reluctantly, I sat up on my bed and she handed me her tablet and I punched in the number.
“Hello?” I spoke in my native dialect. “Can you hear me?”
“Yeah,” my aunt answered and I suddenly had no idea who I was talking to, my elder aunt or the other aunt. I couldn’t recognize the voice. “Who’s this?” I told her who I was. “Oh,” she sounded surprised hearing from me. “How are you?”
“I’m fine, you?”
“I’m good. Did you hear about grandpa?” I said yes. “It was about time, he was eighty-something.” She sighed and switched topics. “Are you working? Going to school?”
“Part-time?” I was surprised she knew the words “Part-time”.
“Yes, two jobs.”
Then she switched topics again. “Hey, how come you don’t have WeChat?” It’s sort of like twitter combined with chat room except most of the people on it are Asian. Mom joined WeChat to keep up with the gossip among her former high school classmates.
“I don’t know anyone,” I told her. I went to school there up until the fourth grade. I didn’t have friends, only frenemies and bullies.
“You have us,” That’s true but still, if I couldn’t keep up with a phone conversation, what can I talk about in WeChat?
“Maybe later,” which is my speak for maybe never.
“Have you talked to grandma?” I told her I didn’t have my grandma’s number. So she gave it to me. “So when are you coming back?”
“Maybe next year,” I answered which as of an hour ago became definite.
“Come visit us,” I assured her I will and we said goodbye.
Then it was on to grandma. I became very nervous because the last time we talked which was a little over a year ago, we fought. So hoping my grandma had put it behind us, I slowly dialed the number. When I told her who I was, she didn’t sound happy to hear from me. After I told her the same thing I told my aunt, she repeated herself over and over. “It’s okay now. Don’t cry. No need to grieve.”
“I understand,” I told her the first time and she just kept repeating it over and over.
Then after three times, she said, “When you visit, don’t forget to give me a call and then we can go do some stuff.” I told her I will and we said goodbye. After that, I thought over her words. Was it me or did she sound relieved? What I’m trying to say is this morning has not been my usual morning. My routine is broken and now I have to fix it with a couple of stories.