Planted Lovers...Part 2

Sunny wiped her hand on her dress because it felt hot, hoping the heat would rub away.  No, I don’t think I’ve seen him before, she muttered to herself, feeling weird, and started moving her shoulders to the music with her friends.  As she did so, she didn’t see that Lou had turned his head to look back at her and thought to himself that he was so sure…  

The night lasted a few hours with Sunny and her friends shaking their hips to the music and the lights.  She closed her eyes and let the songs fill up the space in her mind that needed to just chill.  Meanwhile, Pa Nhia was hanging out with Lou, the man with the strange vibes, at the bar counter like two thirsty birds perched on a water fountain.  Sunny ignored them and continued to close her eyes.  A peculiar feeling made her gasp for air, and suddenly Pa Nhia’s mysterious boyfriend appeared by her side with a plastic cup of ice water.  “You looked thirsty,” he said.  “Oh, I don’t share germs,” Sunny quickly retorted, feeling unwilling to interact with her best friend’s new boyfriend.  Take the water -you need it, a voice resounded in her head.  She grabbed the cup out of Lou’s hand and drank it like she was a plant in the desert.  As soon as she was done, she had the urge to use the bathroom except now she was limping from a blister forming on her right foot.  Lou noticed and told Pa Nhia that he would take Sunny to the bathroom.  I thought he had drunk more than me, Sunny thought to herself, as she swayed hanging on to his arm.  Lou patted her red-painted nails on his elbow, and whispered something barely audible but Sunny caught it.  He said, “I needed some time with you alone.”  She shrugged him off her.

  “Do you recognize me from somewhere?” she said. 

Lou looked her straight in the eyes, and said, “I don’t know what you mean?”

She repeated what she heard from him.  

He looked away and said, “I think you need some more water.”  

She suddenly felt sick and ran into the women’s bathroom.  

Pa Nhia was waiting for her when she came back out after a good ten minutes.  “Time to go home, girlfriend” Pa Nhia said to Sunny, and they exited Club Escape, running in their stilettos and flaming red outfits toward the car parked in the lot while Lou was no where to be seen.  


Ch. 3

The grey-covered seats were cushioned enough at Sunday service the next day attending with her parents, but Sunny’s quads were aching from the moves she pulled last night.  It was true that Sunny did try to conceal her nightclub life from her parents, but they knew anyway.  Dad was dozing on and off in his chair while the pastor gave his sermon.  Mom was glued to the pastor and smiling like he had delivered a message directly to her heart.  She was also ignoring Sunny this morning for going out last night so she chose to sit more than a few inches away from her daughter.  Rolling her eyes, Sunny excused herself to use the bathroom.  Slowly, she bypassed all the rows of chairs and a hand drew out to stop her.  It was Niam Tais Vam Hawj - Grandma Va Her, one of the oldest elders left at her parents’ church congregation.  A gumless smile, but the best one around, she beamed up at Sunny and pulled her down to sit next to her in the very back row.  “You look so tired today, mi ntxhais” she laughed at Sunny’s expression of trying exasperation, as if she knew about Sunny’s hangover.  Grandma covered her hands with her own, and said, “I have been thinking so much about you.”  The sun has risen and sunk many times since Sunny had seen Grandma Va Her last - maybe last summer, but she always showed compassion to Sunny when she made it to church.  Her heart warmed up like chicken broth when Grandma spoke to her and finally said, “Maj.”  She called her by her Hmong name, “I haven’t told you why you are so special, and what is the meaning behind your name.”  

Last year, Grandma Va Her had confessed to Sunny that she was getting too old, and she needed to find God fast.  With her only child - a son, the two of them didn’t have much of a community so he brought her to church one day.  Grandma was reluctant to attend, but her jolly laugh was contagious and captured many friends into a new support group through church.  She came from a long line of storytellers and a history of practicing Shamanism, but was doing this for her son and a sense of community.  Secretly, she had told Sunny a few Hmong legends of dragons, tigers, and people while drinking instant coffee and eating dry bread in the lobby before service.  Sunny loved hearing these stories quietly being told to her in the corner, but service was going on at the moment.  “Can I talk to you when we get our food later?” she asked Grandma.  Grandma Va Her nodded and smiled gently, her eyes twinkled.

It was the pastor’s birthday, so the church catered a buffet lunch from the local Chinese and Hmong restaurants at noon.  As the long lines formed for the set up of long tables with silver trays and warmers underneath, people filled their styrofoam plates with stirfry, fried chicken, rice, and papaya salad.  While Sunny’s parents chattered with the other members, she and Grandma planted a place to themselves at a round table.

Grandma began by pulling out a piece of brightly-colored cross-stitched fabric out of her large purse, “Maj - this is your name.”  She used her finger to feel the threads on the cross-stitching.  Sunny knew this was her name.  The thread is made of hemp, and so was the meaning of Maj, also having been told to her by her parents.  But, Grandma Va Her continued.  

"A long time ago, there was another young girl named Maj.  At this time, the plant hadn't been discovered until Maj was dancing in it under the sun in the jungle one day.  She felt that it was sticky and brought it home one day to make thread and sew into a blanket for her mother.  The blanket was warm and her mother appreciated her daughter’s hardworking gift.  

After Maj sewed the blanket, she went back into the jungle to retrieve more.  There, she met a young man.  He told her his name was Lou Xeng.  Maj admired his handsome attributes while Lou Xeng was captivated by her quiet charm and beauty.  They immediately bonded.  He helped her reap her newly discovered plant daily and they grew to like each other.  

One day, Maj’s mother had something to tell her daughter."

Sunny stopped her right there and asked, “Is this a love story?”  

Grandma’s eyes sparkled.  “It’s your story.”

Sunny was confused and laughed at Grandma Va Her’s joke, not knowing if she was alluding to something.  As Sunny listened, she had a sixth sense that she had heard this story before, but didn’t remember where from.  Maybe a book I read, she thought. 


*Please feel free to leave me a tip by buying me a coffee if you like the mystery of events so far in my writing on Ko-Fi!  And, I would love to read your comments!



Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published