The end of June sees Chris starting his summer break and the family having sold their house in Mount Oak. Zina is still searching for a private school for Chris. Unfortunately those sought after schools always suspect Chris of being a troublesome kid, and they don’t want to accept him. Fortunately, one school accepts Chris, which is located in Metuchen, a township about 6 miles from Piscataway, where the family now lives.
Zina’s husband let out a sigh of relief and Zina’s friends are all happy for her. Finally, everything is settled. And best of all, when September comes, Chris really loves his new school–the teachers are especially kind, students are very gentle. Not only that, the school has more solemn ceremonies regularly, more music activities. And Chris’ teacher even invites him to his home while they talk about history and religion and politics. And better still, Chris even publishes an essay on the school newspaper, talking about his journey of transferring from one school to another. Chris really loves the school.
Towards the end of the semester, Zina meets her friends Pammy and Lulan in their regular water hole.
“Zina, you are not as happy as I thought you would be. I mean Chris loves his school and your stores are doing well. If I were you, I would grin from ear to ear.” Lulan says.
Zina sighs. “Let me tell you. Chris loves his school too much. Now he not only makes friends with his peers in his class and in his music club, he also makes friends with two teachers. I am really worried.”
“What are you talking about? Aren’t you over-worrying?” Her friends are puzzled.
“Chris want to become a Catholic. The school is a Catholic school and two of his favorite teachers are all Catholics. But I don’t want him to become a Catholic. His father and I are both Buddhists.” Zina says.
“Oh, Zina, Buddha doesn’t care. He would be happy if Chris is happy. It doesn’t matter. I see so many people wearing Buddha pendant and praying in Christian groups here.” Pammy says.
“You know many famous writers converted to Catholicism, like Graham Greene, G.K. Chesterton, and Everlyn Waugh, C. S. Lewis etc. I bet Catholicism have helped their writing.” Lulan says.
“Oh, my goodness. Lulan, you are right. Chris is very fond of writing now since he admires this teacher who loves writing. Chris keeps a diary and starts to write poems every week, if not every day. That is very very worrying to me. I can’t stand it.” Zina says.
“What are you saying? I thought it’s a good thing that Chris is growing so well and thriving. How can you say you can’t stand it?” Pammy and Lulan ask.
“An Asian boy should do engineering or math. If those are unachievable, he should choose business. That’s the only proven track for Asian boys. I can’t let him become a writer or poet. He’s going to starve himself to death.” Zina says. “This is actually more worrying to me than those days when he couldn’t find a friend.”
Her friends are speechless and don’t have any suggestions for her. After careful consideration and extensive information searching through the local grapevine, Zina forms a new plan. She wants to transfer Chris out of the private school back to the public school, but not in Piscataway. This means they will need to live in a better township than Piscataway.
Now she wants to buy a house in a township with a school system that’s not as savagely competitive as Edison, but still with a sizable Asian immigrant population. The problem is that such townships don’t build many houses–and families like hers would have to compete for the meager scrap of available sales on the market. Often these coveted houses don’t even get listed–they are snatched up before their availability becomes public knowledge.
Zina connects with various realtors, in a frantic attempt to get some insider information on house sales. And it pays off. One day, one of these realtors calls her. Zina is so excited that she thanks the realtor all the way when they drive there to view the house.
“So here it is. Your new home.” The realtor says as they step out of the car and stand on the driveway.
“What? What is this? This is a …” Zina is dumbfounded.
“Your future home. Isn’t it beautiful?” The realtor says.
“Beautiful? Are you out of your mind? It is a burned house.” Zina’s husband Kit Lee says.
“Yes, you are basically buying the land and building a new house here. You look unhappy? Don’t be so picky. It’s a seller’s market. There are many people lining up to get this deal. I give it to you since you sound the most desperate and I feel you deserve my sympathy.” The realtor says.
Kit Lee is furious at the turn of the event and he says to his wife Zina, “I am not buying a burned house, OK? It just looks so unlucky. Zina, can’t we just enjoy our life? Can’t you just take a rest? Why do you always have to be so worrying and scheming and aspiring? I mean we work so hard to get where we are. And just when I start to enjoy myself a little bit, you come out screaming that we should move here and move there, that Chris should do this and do that…”
“My goodness, Kit, you have no dream for our family, no dream for Chris. You are content to be who you are and what you get. You don’t look to the future.” Zina says.
Kit looks at his wife, wondering if she is the craziest woman.