The House on Dunklee Street

The Snakes and Friendship Necklaces

The snakes crawling near the glass display made me shudder.

“Wow, the snakes are even bigger in person,” Nenny exclaimed. If it wasn’t for her strange fascination with reptiles and all sorts of weird creatures, I would never have chosen to be in this particular zoo exhibit. Alas, I couldn’t have my younger cousin know that. As the elder, I was supposed to be braver, smarter, and overall, far superior in every way.

“I’ve seen scarier snakes,” I lied, “Come on, let’s check out the gift shop.”

“What about the adults?”

“It’ll be fine. I’ll find them afterward.” Inside the store, the rack of colorful friendship necklaces dangling drew my attention. “I’m going to buy a pair of friendship necklaces!” I told Nenny proudly. I gave the twenty dollars that my mom had given me prior to the cashier. Nenny was in awe.

“So, who are you going to give the other half to?”

“Probably my friend from school.”

“Shouldn’t we get back to the adults now?” I looked at my watch and realized Nenny was right. It was almost lunchtime. I took her hand and ran to where we last saw the adults sitting. Uh oh, they were gone. 

“I thought you knew where they were!!” 

“Calm down, I do! I just need a minute to think.” I had no idea what to do and I was panicking at the thought of never seeing my parents again.

“This wouldn’t have happened if we stayed in the snake exhibit!” Nenny whined and she gave me a push.

“Snakes are slimy and gross!” I shoved her back. 

Behind us, we heard shouting, “Hey!! Where were you two?” I had never been happier to hear the sound of my family’s voices. Nenny and I didn’t speak for the rest of the day, but when we got in the car, I gave her the other half of the friendship necklace.  

“I’m sorry for leaving the exhibit and getting us lost,” I said sheepishly.

“It’s okay, I know you were scared of the snakes,” Nenny replied. She may have been my little cousin, but in some ways, she was older than me.

Image by Goatfemur

The Bad Word

Sally was my only friend at school. We played handball and found ladybugs together. I even went to her house one time. That’s how you know we were good friends. One day, we decided to roll a ball on the ground during recess.

“My big sister told me that hardened lava is called magma,” she said.

“Wow, I didn’t know that,” I told her. I tried to think of anything smart my big brother told me. “My big brother said there’s a really bad word worse than H-E-L-L that starts with F and rhymes with duck!”

“Woah really?” I was proud that I taught something Sally didn’t know about. The next day, Sally wasn’t at the large tree we always met at. Instead, I found her with the kickball kids.

“Sally! Where were you?” 

“I told my mom about the bad word you taught me and she said to stop playing with you.”

“Oh,” I turned around to run as fast as I could before my ex-only-friend could see my tears.

Image by Goatfemur

The Large Man

I am someone who lives in a nice little house surrounded by more nice little houses. We moved here because it’s safe, my Dad said. Here, the streets were quiet. Everybody was inside. I did not have much experience talking to strange people, so when a large man who smelled like greek yogurt dressed in a white hospital gown approached me at Jamba Juice, I froze.

“Excuse me,  do you have any money to buy me a drink?” He asked.

“Sorry, I don’t,” I lied. He scoffed and walked to the cashier.

“Excuse me, can you make me a smoothie?”

“Sorry, you need to give me money first,” The cashier said. He proceeded to argue with her for a while. But when he had nothing left to say, he gave a large primal scream and climbed onto a table. I hadn’t been at that place for a very long time.

Image by Goatfemur

The Possum

Whenever my brother drives me to school, I sit back in my seat and pray to God that we won’t get in an accident. He has a unique way of driving. He plays his music so loud that you can hear it outside, he repeatedly honks at cars, and he drive  fast. Last month, he was slow to get ready to take me to school as usual. When we backed up from the driveway, there was a THUD!

“What was that?” I got out of the car to look. It was a possum. At least it used to be. Its body was flattened by the car.

“We should bury it,” my brother said. I agreed and we got shovels from the garage and used it to carry the body to the backyard. After ten minutes of digging, the hole was big enough for the possum.

“Goodbye possum! Have fun in heaven,” I said.

Image by Goatfemur

The Crime of my Ancestors

I’m Catholic. Or at least, I say I am. I don’t like the hateful things the church preaches. My mom doesn’t really like the church either, though she says it’s good to have a religion to follow. I don’t know why I would follow a religion if I didn’t fullheartedly believe in the teachings. Don’t get me wrong, I want to believe that there is Jesus and a God. That’s what I was taught all my life. I think about what my aunt told me. She said that our Buddhist ancestors in Vietnam were so poor, they resorted to stealing food from the neighboring villages. When the French missionaries caught them, they were forced to convert to Catholicism or be killed. It appalls me that the reason they became Catholic wasn’t for faith, but for survival. I think of an alternative life without my ancestors converting to Catholicism (if they survived). In this life, I wouldn’t have a religion that has had a past of atrocious actions. In this life, I would fullheartedly believe in the teachings. In this life, I would be Buddhist.

Image by Goatfemur

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