this may have been the wrong selection to read at a wedding ceremony full of white people. so i made sure i hid behind the coloured folks as i read it. i also had people drinking shirley temples with fervor-you’re welcome. but in all seriousness, i’m great-full for the reunions that the matrimony spawned. i found a copy of sellevision on the street and gave it to nadia, who lent me her lovely dress for the wedding (that i wore inside out like the fresh prince to showcase its beauty-full lining). then, i read the final dedication of this book. coincidence? i think not. bigups to mister su for penning such a heartbreaking and cathartic memoir. he’s kinda my hero right now. this is the story that stays with me, the one that takes my breath away:
“One morning Ma and I walk downstairs to ask the building manager why our plumbing won’t work. While Ma labors to communicate with him, I scurry to the open door and snatch up a long red balloon from the mangy carpet. As we walk upstairs I blow hard into the hole but can’t inflate my testy balloon. The outside is as sticky and filthy as the carpet I pulled it from. I can tell someone else has been blowing on my balloon because the inside is moist and tastes salty. I wonder if they had the same problem blowing it up that I’m having, but I won’t put it back. I love my red balloon. I pull it from my lips to smile at Ma as she opens the door to our apartment. She smiles back and seems happy that I’ve found a toy to play with.
I play with my balloon for days on end in absolute bliss. I still can’t inflate it, but I bite, suck, and chew on it enough to remove the grime and restore its bright red luster. It’s my most cherished possession until Pa comes home one evening from figuring it out and spots me playing with it.” (23-4)
“I stuff my toothbrush and some mouthwash into the side pocket of my suitcase. I walk into the office to find my headphones and throw them into my backpack along with my copies of XXL, The Source, and Psychology Today for the flight. My cell phone buzzes loudly against the surface of the dresser. There are still too many things I need to do before my flight, so I don’t answer. I wander about the house, searching for my passport and worrying about the trip. My thoughts race. Will Vietnam recognize me? Will I remember her?” (233)
and that is the last straw that made me believe that we’re sharing a camel’s brain.