Planted Lovers...Part 3

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.  Grandma Va Her continued to tell her that Lou Xeng and Maj became lovers but Maj’s mother disrupted their relationship by telling her that before her father died, they had already betrothed her to another man that would take care of her securely. 

Sunny was so engrossed in the story that she felt tears tugging at her dark eyes.  

“What happened next, tais?”

Grandma Va Her looked at her favorite young person in their congregation with a look of sadness and hope.  “The two were separated - Lou Xeng went back to his village and she went back to hers.  As some time went by, the heartbreak grew a cold spot in Lou Xeng’s empty heart and he grew very sick.”

Sunny was flooded with flashes of angular hemp leaves and a smiling handsome young man.  She felt like she could almost touch the hemp with her hands, feeling a breeze in the room that shifted her hair inside the church.  Something pierced her heart, and she gasped concluding, “He died.”  Now, her cheeks were wet and she quickly reached into her purse for her small pack of Kleenex.  Grandma said, “Yes, Lou Xeng died of heartbreak.  When Maj heard, she immediately made her way to his village.  Her mother hadn’t heard from her daughter for a whole day, so she traced Maj’s steps to Lou Xeng’s village but stopped in the field of hemp where she found her daughter’s dead body on the ground. Maj’s mother felt remorse and eventually buried the two of them together.  Then, she picks the hemp from the field where the two had met and brings it back to her home to make a skirt.  From that day forward, the hemp plant was called Maj and Hmong mothers began sewing skirts with it for their daughters and their weddings.”  

Grandma looked at her friend Sunny, “What do you think?” 

Sunny was unknowingly really sad as if this story had happened to her, and remained speechless.  

Grandma Va Her laughed and said, “It’s just a story, dear.  But it is the meaning behind your name.”  Sunny was a bit frustrated to hear such a overwhelming story, but she said, “Thank you, tais, for letting me know.  I’ve never heard it before.”  And then she quickly excused herself to dispose of her plate, shaking.  She went up to her parents telling them she was leaving early, and stepped outside to call her friends for a meetup that afternoon as she tried to shrug off the emotions of the story.  

Ch. 4

Sunny let the volleyball fall towards her from the sky and hit the heart of her palm on the backside of it, serving it over the net.  As flustered as she was earlier at church, she was definitely getting rid of the astringent vibes now with her friends in the volleyball game.  Pa Nhia also liked to play and was coming late.  Halfway through their last game, Pa Nhia arrived.  Receiving the serve from another friend, it bounced off Sunny’s arms and flew out of bounds.  She was distracted by the masculine silhouette that followed Pa Nhia close behind coming up the hill.  They aren’t holding hands, Sunny noticed - not like last time.  “Can Lou play too?” asked Pa Nhia.  Immediately, Sunny replied bluntly, “No.  This is our last game for the night.”  Lou looked straight at Sunny and smiled with his charm, “No worries - I’m hungry anyway,” as if he could hear her stomach grumble.  She was thinking exactly that - a dinner outing to her favorite Mediterranean place for food after the game.  Why does he think he can read my mind, she thought and rolled her eyes at him.  She wasn’t going to invite him, but Pa Nhia said - “Great idea!  Let’s go to that Mediteranean place nearby - it’s Sunny’s favorite!”  She winked at her best friend.  Sunny wanted to stick her finger down her throat in response.  I don’t like him, she told herself, emotions bubbling inside her as if he’s tested her before.  But a hot flame lit in her heart and her nerves were prickling and excited with a love-hate burn.  

At the restaurant, Pa Nhia switched seats with Sunny in the round booth since she was claustrophobic and wanted to sit near the aisle.  This plotted Sunny right next to Lou, which made her cringe and ignore everything he said during the table conversation while everyone laughed at his jokes, Sunny put a left hand up to her temple to block him from her view.  No one seemed to notice except Pa Nhia. She whispered to Sunny, “What is up with you?”  Sunny simply rolled her eyes.  Pa Nhia looked at her closer and her own eyes grew big.  “I know what’s going on, “ she said and giggled.  “She wrote on a napkin and passed it to Sunny -  There’s no chemistry.  Just friends.  Then she pushed Sunny lightly, laughed, and winked at her pointing her chin at Lou who was trying to balance his straw on his nose to make the table laugh.  Once again, Sunny rolled her eyes but she couldn’t help but give out a small chuckle.  

The next morning was a Monday.  Sitting up abruptly at 6:59 AM, Sunny panicked, thinking she was late but college was done for the year.  She went back to bed comforted by the thought of no alarms and didn’t wake up until Pa Nhia was in her room shaking her awake.  “Get up, girl!  All the friends are going on a bike ride from Woodbury to Hudson for a day at the beach!”  The riverfront beach in Hudson was one of her favorite places.  Sunny jumped out of her bed to put on her biker shorts,  They pumped their bikes in the garage and headed out to meet their circle of friends, and probably the young man who was secretly making Sunny have vivid dreams at night. 


**Please let me know if you are enjoying my writing and this love story by commenting below!!  I would love to hear from you!  Also, feel free to tip me by buying a $2 (or whatever you like) cup of coffee.  I love creating hope and joy in the form of stories, and I hope this story intrigues you and brightens your day! 


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