Gon-Gon, My Grandpa Who Tied Me Up and Cooked Like a Tornado and Died
One afternoon when I was four I was home alone with my grandpa. I heard loud music. I wanted to find out where it was coming from. I left my apartment and went downstairs. I got stuck in the little space where the mailboxes are, between the gate to the building and the door to go upstairs to the apartments. My brother Andy was at school. My parents were at work. The building manager found me. He brought me upstairs. He said, “Where is your apartment?” I led him there. My grandpa said, “There you are.” I told him what happened. He tied me with a rough, bumpy rope and twisted a knot on my dad’s door. He tied my hands and stomach. I cried. My grandpa went out to pick up Andy. I cried and cried until they came home. Then Andy untied me. I felt free now. The day went by, but I didn’t tell my parents. It’s complicated why. I didn’t want him to be punished and he got cancer anyway. I also loved my grandpa’s cooking! When he cooked he would whirl through the kitchen, rattling pots, clattering plates, shaking soy sauce, chopping Chinese sausages, cracking eggs, and steaming rice. The food smelled good but it was more interesting to watch Gon-gon work. My grandpa died January 11, 2010. I miss him even though he tied me up that one time because I loved his cooking so much.
Judy, My Sister Who Walks
My baby sister, Judy, was born on September 19, 2010. She is one now. She crawls through the jungle of our apartment, roaring. She slides on hands and knees across the table like an ice-skater. Judy is learning to walk and here’s how: she squats down. She lifts her hands and wobbles toward me. She falls. I take her hand, pull her up and she walks. Now she walks everywhere. Whenever I give Judy something to eat, I run away and she follows me because she thinks that I have more.
Andy, My Brother Who Broke his Wrist
My earliest memory about Andy is when he broke his wrist when he was eight. He jumped up and down on the bench at school. He fell and broke his wrist. An herbalist wrapped a cloth around his arm. The cloth smelled like garlic and onion. It felt like a bumpy road. The herbs didn’t work so he went to the hospital and got a cast. Andy probably felt weird with a broken wrist but I felt excited because it was the first time I saw a cast! Andy is a graduate of Room 2 and he wrote a book about his experience called My Broken Wrist.
My Mom and Dad Who Got Divorced
My parents got divorced. They used to silent fight sometimes. They argued so much that they got divorced. It was scary when they fought. One day my mom and my family (except my dad) moved to a new apartment in Chinatown. I wondered what was going on, but I didn’t say a thing. I left things alone. I like that I moved and I don’t like it too. I like that my mom and dad don’t have to fight anymore, but I don’t like that my dad is alone. He says, “I miss you and why don’t you come home?” I feel sad for him. I think there is a silent wall between my parents.
The Lady From Beijing Who is Demanding
A lady came from Beijing to live in my dad’s apartment. I don’t even know her name. The first time we met, her pretty dress swirled, defying gravity. In the car, she doesn’t like to wear a seatbelt. In the house, she doesn’t like messes. She doesn’t like to take off her shoes. She is demanding! She makes me get out her slippers from the shelf. I saw a picture of my dad and the lady holding hands and staring at each other. He was wearing a tuxedo and the lady was wearing a wedding gown. I think they got married and didn’t tell me.
Here are three things I wonder about her:
1. Is she a model in China?
2. How old is she?
3. Is she my dad’s wife?
She looks mean, but pretty. I am scared. I’m not even going to ask my dad if they are really married. My plan is to keep wondering and running away from my fears.
About the Author
Hi! My name is Wendy and I am nine years old. I live in San Francisco, sometimes in Chinatown with my mom and grandma, and my brother and sister, and sometimes on Polk Street with my dad. I speak Chinese at home. My family came from China, somewhere I have never gone. I would like to go there one day. I like to draw and I am good at running. When I grow up I want to be an astronomer. If I were to have one superpower I would choose the power of transformation because if I were falling I could turn into a bird. If I were to go back in time I would choose to go to the year 0 because I want to see Jesus Christ being born. I am also the author of Stung and Election Day