My Cousin

I have a cousin who is a month older than me. Technically, she’s my niece, but we’re more like cousins. She lived next door to my house in Viet Nam and so we hung out together. We fought and we made up. She scratched me and I pulled her hair. When we were five, we crossed many big streets to go to the park far from our house to use the playground. I could still remember the shock on her mom’s face when our family was searching all over town for us.

In kindergarten, my cousin left Viet Nam to go to America. I came to class the next day and all I did was cried because she wasn’t there. The teacher made me stood outside of the class. I climbed out of school and went back to the playground. I missed my cousin. When I went home, my mom whipped my ass. I didn’t hear anything from my cousin for a while until I received toys, gums, chocolates and letters from her. I was so happy that she still remembered me.

Six years later, we moved to America. I was anxious to see my cousin again. When we finally met, my cousin had changed. She no longer spoke Vietnamese. We didn’t talk much. She had more conversations with my nephews than me. I felt left out. The good thing was we reconnected again when my family moved to her grandma’s apartment. I remembered ordering pizza, eating instant cup noodles and watching TV together.

Then my cousin moved again to a better school district. She went to white school and picked up the whiteness. I stayed back in black school and picked up the blackness. She was into pop-rock music while I was into hip-hop. Despite our differences, we hung together occasionally. My cousin didn’t know how to ride a bike until she was a little older. One time we were riding downhill, she lost control and slammed into a parked car. The lady who was the owner of the car cajoled us into calling her mom and made her mom paid for the little damage.

In college, we went our separate ways, but somehow we both ended up on the creative field. She took up graphic design and I took up web design. We both graduated at the same time, but she never became a graphic designer. Now I am married and about to become a father, yet she still enjoys her single life. That’s my cousin.

Bonjour Vietnam