Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The Family Reunion (06/05/08)
TITLE: Six Years, Ten Months, Twenty-Eight Days
By Cindy Posey
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She had been waiting for the bus with her friend We Blu when Ken drove by and waved. We Blu motioned for Ken to stop, so the American quickly pulled a U-turn, parked his car, and ambled up to the bus stop. After a warm greeting to We Blu, Ken turned his attention to We Blu. With a warm smile, he pointed to himself and said, “Ken!” We Blu tried to explain who the man was, but at that moment Ni Tao began to scream. Quickly the stout American and We Blu helped Ni Tao into Ken’s car, and they sped to the hospital. Lay Bi came into the world just three hours later. Now Ni Tao’s children called Ken grandpa. He’d wanted to be here today, but his own daughter was having her first child.
Now Ni Tao’s watch read 4:18. Only twelve more minutes before Lay Shon would arrive. Ni Tao’s heart raced, wishing her watch would do the same; but the seconds remained steady. Tick….tick….tick. Her children still occupied, Ni Tao allowed her mind to think back to the last time she had seen her husband: six years, ten months, twenty-eight days ago in the Bangkok airport. He had promised that we would come, but month after month, year after year, the government had denied his passage. As she thought of Lay Shon, Ni Tao subconsciously spun the plain gold band on her left ring finger.
Ni Tao sat lost in the memories she’d made the past seven years as a single mother in America. She thought back to her first day of “More School,” a school for adults that brought together ethnicities from around the world. She remembered agonizing again over homework, and feeling the pride swell in her heart when she received her certificate of completion. She recalled smiling for a week after passing her driver’s test the first time. But she also remembered crying herself to sleep because she missed Lay Shon so much. Her heart ached as the memory flooded in of Lay Bi pointing to a picture of Lay Shon and wondering who that stranger was. He’ll know soon, she thought.
Her watch now read 4:30. Ni Tao felt her heart reach a new gear as she saw an older version of the man she’d left in Thailand walk into the terminal. Lay Wah and Lay Key ran ahead of her, shouting to their father, whose smiled spread across his entire face. He hugged them both and kissed the tops of their heads. His eyes met Ni Tao’s as she and Lay Bi walked toward him.
“Lay Bi,” Ni Tao said in her native Karen, “There’s someone who wants to meet you.”
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