Chapter 25 CONG’S MOM
While Marney was struggling with her feelings after surgery, Cong was struggling with his feelings for me. Only, I didn’t really understand it or know it, yet. Maybe he didn’t either and that’s why it was so hard for him.
In class, he wrote a poem. It was an assignment that everyone had to do, but, I know it was about me. In fact, I think the whole class knew it was about me.
“You Don’t Know
by Cong Foo” Everyone laughed as he recited.
“Be quiet!” I called out.
This made Cong even more embarrassed and he blushed. But he went on...
You don’t know how I feel
You don’t listen to words
You make it hard to speak
You don’t let me be real.
She knows me better than you
She sees me just so true
You don’t know how I feel
You don’t look at my face
You make it hard to say
You don’t let me say
How she knows
She knows me better than...”
The kids kept laughing and interrupted throughout and it got louder and louder until he just stopped. He stopped reading his poem and folded it back up and sat down in his chair with his head down.
“Class!” The teacher finally brought order, “That’s enough! Very nice Cong. A plus.”
“Cong!” I tried to whisper a shout to him. “Cong!”
Cong looked back slowly.
“I really liked your poem.”
He blushed and turned his head forward but I’m pretty sure I saw a smile grow on his face.
We spent lunch together again, as we did most days. I decided I would ask about the poem. “Was it about me?”
“A little bit,” he replied, “but mostly about my mom.”
“Oh,” I said. “That’s a little sad.”
“Yeah, it is,” he said, “but those are our ways.”
“It’s tradition to stomp on someone’s hopes and dreams?”
“Chinese tradition is your parents’ hopes and dreams are your hopes and dreams.”
“Oh,” I responded somberly. “But,” I defended, “what if you go against those dreams and make your own dreams?”
“It’s not possible.”
“What do you mean? Everything’s possible, Cong.” I pushed him further. “This is America. You were born here. You’re American. Your dreams count.”
I could see he was thinking about this. I hoped I wasn’t going too far, but I wanted him to know that I did see him for who he is and I appreciated him. He was my friend, a real friend and he was there when I needed him. I couldn’t abandon him or allow tradition to cut our friendship. That wouldn’t make sense.
Finally he said, “You’re right. I shouldn’t be afraid to talk to my mom. I should just tell her. I can’t live her dreams anymore.”
“Go Cong, ” I said. “Only, don’t tell her I told you all that stuff, ok?” I worried she would get mad and not let me see him again.
“Don’t worry about it,” he said. “I’ve been thinking about this a long time.”
“How long?” I asked.
“Years,” he said.
“But, you’re nine,” I replied.
He had a point. Look at me. I am seven and I can’t stop thinking.
After school, Cong and I studied in the library, as usual and then Cong’s mom came to pick him up. She actually came right into the library to get him. She stood there for quite some time before we looked up from doing our homework and when we did, she didn’t look happy.
“Hi, Mrs. Foo,” I said and waved.
Cong got up quickly and grabbed his backpack, “Later, Sam!”
“I thought you were gonna...” I yelled.
As they walked away together he called back, “Later...”
Then all I heard was Cong’s mom speaking Chinese and Cong speaking back in Chinese. I wish I knew what they were saying.
I decided I would call Cong later and see how it went.