Flash Fiction #107 Continued. The Previous Part Is Here.
After high school, Nia went to Middlesex Community College in Edison for two years, which in her parents’ opinion made them “lose face” every time other people made inquiries. She finally managed to help her parents “keep up the appearance” when she mastered enough good credits to get transferred to Rutgers University. She has been in constant battle against depression, isolation, language issues, but somehow she pulls herself through. Because of her accent and her reserved manner, she hasn’t done well in job interviews. This is why she felt very lucky that this marketing company in Jersey City could hire her.
“I look a little Asian, don’t I? You know I am half Asian. I grew up in Peru before my family and I moved to Trinidad, and then New York City.” Lydia told Nia in their first meeting in the company’s cafeteria. Lydia is a beautiful girl.
“Are there Asians in South America? Where is Trinidad? You look half East Asian and half Indian or Sri Lankan to me. I am sorry. Are these offensive questions?” Nia couldn’t contain her curiosity.
“I am a mix of Sub-Saharan African, Middle Eastern White, Indian Subcontinent, Malayan, and Cantonese. That’s the information I get from my parents and Ancestry.com.” Lydia says, her beautiful dark eyes shining brightly.
The two became friends. The rent in Jersey City is not as high as Manhattan, but very nearly as high, and most single people cannot afford to live alone. Eventually the two became roommates. Lydia has had similar experience of language adjustment, fitting in etc. The two have a lot to talk about. It is just natural that Nia invited Lydia for the Luna New Year gathering at home since Lydia’s parents are back in Trinidad visiting friends and relatives.
The dinner goes well. Lydia’s presence has curtailed Nia’s parents’ inquiry and censure on Nia and her brother Anu, who’s attending college in Boston as a freshman and comes back for the purpose of this annual festival.
“What do you mean I drove Nia’s boyfriends away? Nia was so bad in school and she needed to concentrate on her study. That’s why I drove all her boyfriends away. And I can’t rely on you to do this tiresome job. I work so hard for this family and all I receive is blame, blame, blame.” Nia’s mother Jan says to Nia’s father Dang in the kitchen when they are sure the rest of the party cannot hear them.
“Why do you say such a thing, as if I don’t contribute? I work 12 hours a day and 6 days a week, like a dog, just for this family.” Dang says.
“Give me a break. Dogs don’t work. Not in Edison.” Jan says.
“Very funny. All I am saying is that I work harder than everybody and there’s not a word of appreciation from you. One day I will run away. OK? I’ve had enough.” Dan says.
“Oh yeah? If you could run away, you would have run long time ago. Well, I don’t have time to talk about you today. It’s about Nia. Is she dating this Lydia or not?” Jan says in her usual blunt way.
Lydia overheard their conversation. She went to the bathroom. And when walking back, she lost her way and detoured to the kitchen. Hearing this, she forms a plan. She comes to the dinner table and talks to Nia and Anu,
“Your parents are having a fight in the kitchen. Should we go to make peace?” Lydia says.
“No, leave them alone. I’m not interested. My philosophy is to stay away.” Anu says.
“Well, young man, your big sister Lydia loves interaction. There’s no staying away in my vocabulary.” Lydia says. Nia laughs. She doesn’t know what Lydia has in mind, but she has an inkling that she will enjoy whatever Lydia wants to do.
“Come on, Anu, let’s go.” Lydia comes over and jokingly put her arms around Anu’s neck. Anu is pleased and is happy to be led by Lydia to the kitchen.
Nia’s parents are a little surprised to see the three of them standing in front of them.
“Yes, you are right, Mom and Dad. Actually not only Nia and I are lovers, but the three of us are lovers in the most unconventional way possible. Look, I am kissing one and then the other right now.” Lydia says in her sweetest voice while hugging Nia and Anu.
“No… No… No…” Jan screams. She thrusts herself forward forcefully to stop them. However she does it too forcefully that she slides on the kitchen floor and falls down.