Flash Fiction #115
Jan and her husband Tungus have had a wonderful relationship. They live happily together and they have a teenage daughter Cindy. However just like every happy family, there’s a little dark cloud somewhere. For Jan, the dark cloud takes the form of her mother-in-law Artai who’s very old fashioned. Artai looks down upon Jan since Jan hasn’t produced a son and is not likely to produce a son in the future. Worse, Tungus has a brother Ting, and Artai wants Tungus to support Ting’s son who bears the family name. For years, Jan has fought valiant battles against her mother-in-law. So far Jan has succeeded in persuading her husband Tungus to concentrate on his own family, rather than his brother’s family or his mother’s wishes.
However maybe she has been too successful. Now Tungus has been transformed to somebody who is not only going to give Cindy the best he can afford, but also give Cindy something he can’t afford. It all starts with a school recital in Cindy’s middle school that Tungus and Jan attend. Cindy’s peer Lily gives such a beautiful solo flute performance that Tungus almost sheds tears. He feels so excited, which he hasn’t felt for years. After the performance, Tungus meets Lily and Lily’s parents. How proud Lily’s parents are. And how knowledgeable Lily’s parents are about music, music teachers, music programs etc. Tungus is stunned into silence and reflection when they drive back home. Suddenly, he interrupts the conversation between Jan and Cindy, saying,
“Cindy, I want to send you to Lawrenceville High School in Princeton. Although Lily plays the best flute, my daughter will attend the best elite school in New Jersey. Let’s fill up the forms and apply to it tomorrow.”
“But we don’t have the money. We are lower middle class. Lawrenceville costs $60,000 a year. It’s for upper middle class people.” Jan says.
“My business is doing well and I think we can afford it. Let’s work for our dream. I can work harder. When I have a dream, I am more motivated and invigorated.” Tungus says.
Jan looks at Tungus skeptically. She thinks to herself that Lawrenceville is hard to get in and Cindy is not likely to get in anyway. She doesn’t really need to worry about something that most likely will not happen.
So the father and daughter fill up the application form and submit it online. Two months later, they receive a letter from the school telling them that Cindy is selected as one of the candidates to get an interview.
That’s a piece of news Jan doesn’t like. What to do? If Cindy gets in, how can they afford it? Tungus is too unrealistic.
“What can I do?” She asks her friend Lulan and Pammy.
“I have to say you have really successfully transformed your husband into somebody new.” Lulan says.
“Well, I am too successful for my own good.” Jan complains.
“Well, don’t panic. Lawrenceville not only interviews students. They also interview parents. If the parents don’t make the mark, they will not accept the student. So you can sabotage the parent interview to make an unfavorable impression.” Lulan says, “I know a family who got their son into Lawrenceville last year.”
“Really? Good idea. I want to make a very bad impression. How to do that? Help me, please.” Jan says.
“OK, you can eat a lot of garlic the night before. When you go in, you can stink the interview room. How about that?” Pammy says.
“OK, you can send your husband’s suits to dry clean one or two days before the interview and forget to pick the suit up. So your husband can only wear jeans and sneakers for the interview.” Lulan says.
“Well, you can also get your husband to drink a lot of alcohol the day before so that he has a hangover on the day of the interview.” Pammy says.
“Oh, you can pick a really ugly tie for him. That will make a bad impression.” Lulan says.
“Good idea. Sorry we have to be Ms. Devious, but sometimes we just have to do it to survive.” Jan says.
Two weeks later, the time of the interview is coming. The night before, Jan’s husband Tungus declares that they should not eat anything with garlic or drink any alcohol due to the interview of the following day. Also he brings back his suit and tie from office, which makes Jan’s dry cleaning manipulation irrelevant.
Jan is so panicky that she sends messages to Pammy and Lulan seeking help. “What can I do? Please help!!!!!”
(To Be Continued In Here)