The first three weeks after I moved into the new apartment was a living nightmare. Boxes and boxes of junk piled up in the living room compounded with my mother's care packages. It had always been a mystery to me why does my mother think tampons would ever become a necessity during a time of crisis. But being the good natured daughter that I had always been, I collected every thing she thought was indispensable to my well being, and marked them: Care Package. One night, as I was struggling with the last couple boxes, my mother phoned.
"Zhen zhen-ah, you left something here."
"Oh, don't worry Ma, I'll pick them up tomorrow morning."
"No, no tomorrow morning, come now!"
"N..Now? Ma, it's almost......
"I know, I know, come for dinner anyway. We not seeing you for lo-ong time!!"
Apparently my mother decided not to remember our luncheon at Denny's the day before. At last, I let out a sigh and gave in "...Alright, alright. I'll be there in twenty minutes."
At ten minutes to eight, the apartment structure had fall into a solemn silence that has always been consistent with the rest of the city. On my way to the garage, I saw some of my neighbors still paddling away in the swimming pool, it was probably the only lively place within the structure at this hour. Then I heard a childish voice calling out to me “ Excuse me, do you mind getting that towel for me?” I turned and saw the girl on the farther end of the pool, pointing to the tropical patterned bathing towel hanging on the fence. “Sure, no problem.” I replied. It was peculiar that this girl’s lone presence did not disturb the adults in the pool, so I took courage and asked her“ Are you here by yourself?” “Yep, but my parents are going to be here pretty soon. “ I see. Well, you know what kiddo, I better stay with you until your parents are here.” The girl did not say anything nor did she refuse.
That night the ten minute wait for her parents turned into an one hour conversation that nearly my broke my heart. It wasn't long before June gave me the full load of her unhappy childhood. Growing up, she had always been a quiet and introverted girl. Her father was very skilled at bringing her to humiliation with harsh words. But those were not the miseries that initiated the state of depression that hovered over her. What started all the trouble was the sexual harassment she got from the school bully. The boy did not assault her, but rather manipulated her by means of her own bashfulness. I was more sorrowful than angry. Words came out of my mouth trying to convince June that these were bad bad people in her life, and she should let them make her feel terrible about herself. In the end, I found my own words powerless and weak. How can I make a ten-year-old believe something I know that is never going to be true. Sitting beside her, listening and trembling, my mind wondered back to the days when I, myself, was harassed ....the sensation of the tiny sweaty hand that care caressed my naked skin inch by inch will forever remain part of me. June had opened our Pandora's box.
By the time June was ready to retire to her room, it was well past nine. I watched her ran up the stairs, and gave out sigh. This had been one of the best hour in my life. Together, we lifted the spell that had been cast by the past secrete. Now, we have none.
The next morning, I went over to room 374, hoping that I could get a little talk from June's parents and give her dad a piece of mine mind. But no one came to answer the door.
"Are you looking for the Chan family?" A suspicious neighbored inquired behind the screen door.
"Well, there ain't nobody in that house if you are looking for one "She grunted under her breath.
"Wait, what did you mean?" I was puzzled, but something tells me I should've known."
"Well, honey. The Chan family moved out after their daughter drowned herself in that pool."
I didn't need to know the rest. Half dazed, I managed to hold myself together until I walked into the pool area. Then, I knelt beside the swimming poll and wept. Over and over again, I thanked June in my heart. She didn't need to be saved....she was their to release me! And somewhere in the air, I heard a little girl singing:
Roll, roll, roll your boat
Grandma's waiting on the bridge
One, two, three and four
here goes Grandma's baby girl
Four, three, two and one
One for cookie, two for sweet.
Three, four 'n baby smiles
Grandma, grandma here I come!
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