The Front Yard

My childhood front yard was very cluttered– very disorientated. Like an untame jungle. Poppies and strange pink flowers with six petals and a smell resembling that of car freshener grew along the discolored stone pavement that led to the doorsteps. Tall, bush-like trees covered most of the yard like strong walls that had small openings to peek your eye in. Patches of fake grass which tried to hide the dirt could not conceal the very obvious brown flooring of the yard. We even had 3 stubby palm trees with thumb-like stems and pink flamingos surrounding them.  

Despite the chaos, there was one tree with leaves that weren’t really leaves but like chicken feet. It stood in the corner of the yard, and its layered, mushroom capped canopy gazed upon the tiny world like a god. And one day, I placed my feet on the feeble, wobbly gray branches, and began to climb. The wind caressed my hair, the golden horizon blinded my eyes, and the tree’s long, delicate branches pierced my hand with splinters I would never pull out. When I reached the top, I could see the rooftops of my neighbor’s houses and even the local park nearby. Not a mess in sight. Not disorientated. Not cluttered. Just peace. Peace and the sun.

The Apple Picking Club

When you live in a house with four other cousins, it’s a given that we would form a super-secret club in the family backyard. We called it the world famous apple picking club.

 We made treehuts with boards of white wood and used all the little nooks and crannies of our backyard to create bases for our meetings. We made our family recipe for chocolate apples by picking jujube from the thin, sturdy trees and melting Hershey chocolates from the liquor store.

And every summer for as long as I could remember, when the first jujube bloomed from the trees, we would initiate that club again. Until one summer day, David said he didn’t want to be a part of the club anymore. My first betrayal. Then in the days following, the apple picking club dwindled. Next it was Tiffany. Then Leyna. And finally, Dana. And I was alone.

Or You’ll Die

Or you’ll die. Or you’ll fail. Or your family will die. 

These thoughts paraded through my head, suffocating every silent second I had. Every second I was relaxed– 

Or you’ll fail– 

was the same second the thought grew inside my head. And everyday in seventh grade, these thoughts persisted. 

Or you’ll die. 

I was a slave to my own mind, and if I didn’t do something so meticulously perfect, like close a door the right way or play with my hands the right way, I would die. 

Or you’ll fail. 

Seventh grade was the worst. I cried and cried, begging to God to relieve me of these thoughts. Or you’ll fail. 

I can’t remember a single day where I didn’t feel this way. 

Sometimes, when the thoughts got too bad, I clasped my hand in a fist and held to my mouth, muttering a set of phrases to calm me down. I think if I didn’t develop those phases, I would have drowned in my own anxiety. 

Or you’ll die.


Once there was a girl I knew with pressed hair as black and as deep as the clear summer night. She was a pink person, with a pink smile and pink words. She was like a cherry blossom. I still remember the distant conversations and walks I shared with her from class to class. The labs we did together in science. I was so glad I could call her a friend. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I’m so, deeply and truly sorry. For my neglect of our friendship. She probably felt so hurt from my silence. My loud, overwhelming silence. I wish I could turn back time and change myself. To be a better friend to you.


My mom used to tell me to stop biting my fingernails. She pulled up all of her nonsensical Facebook articles. Đừng cắn móng tay nữa, nguy hiểm lắm. Làm như vậy sẽ chết. (Stop biting your fingernails, it’s very dangerous. If you keep doing it, you’ll die.) I know she only said that to scare me into cutting that bad habit. And it worked– for two days. The following day, there was a test. And my nails got shorter. Then they grew again. Then there was another quiz. And my nails got shorter. 

Another test? Chomp, chomp.

Another quiz? Chomp, chomp.

2 thoughts on “Immaturity

  1. I especially love your use of repetition throughout these anecdotes because it draws an emphasis on the things in your life that have affected you the most. Your imagery is also precise and helps make it easier for me to reenact the scenarios in my mind, making my experience very enjoyable. Biting my nails was never a habit that my mom would ever yell at me about because it was rather the fact that I didn’t trim my nails that got me in trouble, but I could still relate.


  2. Hello! I really liked your stories. I thought that your story about the dwindling apple picking club was very heartbreaking to read. Do you still pick apples by yourself, or have you found people new to pick apples with, especially now that you are in high school? For your sake, I am hoping for the latter rather than the former. Cheers!


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