Chapter 22 GROWING UP
I was back to doing homework again after school with Cong in the library while Marney got daily physical therapy at home. I couldn’t help but think how much more important her decisions are than mine. I mean, what do I do every day besides go to school? And how hard is that? I have definitely taken for granted all that I have.
“I never asked you, Do you have any sisters or brothers?”
“Yeah, I have an older brother. He’s a dentist. My parents are very proud of him.”
“You have a brother who’s grown up already?”
“Yeah, I don’t think they wanted more kids after him, but when they moved to America, I think it just happened, you know, like an accident.”
“I don’t think you’re an accident, Cong.”
Cong smiled at me.
I smiled back and then asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
“I’m not sure yet, but I really like video games.”
“Your parents let you play video games?” I asked.
“No, but my brother sends me video games over my phone. I play them in secret.”
“Wow, I didn’t think you had it in you, Cong.”
“Just...I don’t know. Marney would call it, a rebel spirit, I think.”
“Yeah, my parents are pretty strict,” he said softly. “What do you want to do when you grow up?”
“Maybe I’ll be a doctor,” I said with a smile.
“You’re just saying that.”
“No really. I think I might like it.”
“Well, you better do your homework every day,” Cong demanded.
“I’m here, aren’t I?”
“Yeah.” Then Cong got a text. His mom was waiting outside the school for him. “I have to go.”
“I’ll walk you out.”
“No, I don’t want my mom to see us together.”
“But, don’t your parents know we study together. That was the deal.”
“Besides,” I interrupted while shoving my books into my backpack, “you can tell them I’m going to be a doctor. That’ll make them happy.”
“It might,” Cong said as we headed out of the library.
As we were walking out toward the front of the school, I had a strange feeling someone was watching us. I looked behind me and saw a few girls walking quickly our direction.
“Oh, please, not today, ” I said.
“What?” Cong asked.
“Look Cong, I mean, don’t look now, Cong, but...”
Cong started to turn his head, I grabbed it. “Don’t look, I said!”
“Those are the girls from the bathroom who were harrassing me. I thought I’d seen the last of them after Marney threatened them, but-”
“Your sister threatened those girls?”
“It’s not how it sounds. Let’s just walk faster, ok?”
Cong and I started walking faster and the girls started shouting, “Hey, wait up! Wait! We want to talk to you.”
It was definitely a different tone than what I was used to coming from them. So, I stopped and turned my head to look. They were approaching quickly and then stopped right in front of us. Instead of picking me up and putting me in the trash or calling me mean names, the leader of the pack, said, “I saw you in the newspaper.”
“Um, ok,” I said.
“That was really cool,” she said and then she and her friends walked away.
“That was weird,” Cong said.
“You have no idea,” I replied.
We walked outside and Cong’s mom was waiting for him in a blue mini-van. My Dad was right behind her in his car. I was glad I didn’t have to wait. I said goodbye to Cong and we parted ways. I hoped his mom wasn’t mad at him. It’s not like we did anything bad. I didn’t even get to take the Sex Ed class, so I wouldn’t know anything about it anyway.