Momma Loves Me

December 8, 2010
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I didn’t want to do it. “It was too girly” was my excuse. But really, I was too nervous and scared.

“I don’t want to Momma!” I kept on telling her. Yet I was standing there, looking myself in the full length mirror. I was wearing a red Vietnamese traditional dress called on ao dai, which means long dress. It was a lengthy, flowing dress that went down to my knees with a lot of buttons on the side and long sleeves. Under the dress layer was a silky, white, long pants. There was a beautiful golden design of lines and circles on the dress that I absolutely adored.

“Why not Phuong Anh?” Momma asked in Vietnamese because Phuong Anh was my Vietnamese name. “Are you ashamed of your culture that you won’t wear the dress and go to the festival?”

My parents had signed up both my sister and I to be in the Asian Fashion Show at the Southeast Asian Festival. I’ve never been in a fashion show before so I was really nervous. I twiddled with the soft silk fabric at the end of my dress as my mom helped my sister into her dress which was identical to mines except it was yellow instead of red.

While I didn’t want to do it, my little sister was unsure. At the time, I was eleven and she was eight so she’s do anything my parents told her to do. I wasn’t sure if she wanted to do it or not; she never told me. But by the way she stood silently, I thought no. Finally, when she was all dressed, my mom moved back to me to tie my hair.

“This is a beautiful dress and you are a beautiful girl, why do you refuse?” She asked in a soft motherly voice. When she used that voice, I felt guilty. I didn’t want to let Momma down and yet I didn’t want to do it either. I had fears of how I’ll make a mistake on stage and everyone will laugh at me. In school the boys and older kids laughed at me a lot and I didn’t like that feeling. They bullied me because I was small and lower than they were. I absolutely hated that feeling because it made me feel lower than them.

“Momma, I just don’t want to be laughed at. What if I mess up?” I told her. I winced at the pain as she tried to comb all the knots out of my hair.

“You’ve been practicing for more than a month now. You know what to do; you won’t mess up,” Momma reassured me and it worked too although I still had doubts. It was only fifteen minutes until we all would go up the stairs and on stage. Well, all of us except Momma.

Before I went downstairs to change, I saw a whole crowd of people, mingling and milling around. There were young and old, little and big but mostly people I didn’t know. As I recalled the sight of the ginormous crowd, fear had overcome me. I started to sweat like crazy; my palms soaked the ribbons of my straw hat I held.

Momma gave me a tight squeeze and kiss on the cheek right after she finished tying me hair. “Phuong Anh, d?’ng lo.” I translated those words in my head, don’t worry. “You will do great.” I tried to let those words sink in but my brain just went blank.

“What about me Momma?” My little sister piped up in her high-pitched voice.

“Of course you will too Phuong Linh,” Momma said kissing her cheek as well. That made my sister’s face light up with a big bright smile. Seeing her smile made me smile as well. Then I thought to myself, what do I have to be scared of?

“Okay, I’ll be watching from upstairs. Good luck my loves,” Momma called out.

After she left, we were quickly put in line and I thought about what Momma said. While being herded up the back stairwell, I realized that I don’t care. I have to do this, for Momma. Others can laugh at me all they want but Momma will always love me.

Finally, as we walked on stage, my eyes squinted in shack at the sudden change in bright lights. Then I saw the crowd again through the cracks of the curtains; it was bigger than before. My heart almost burst in fear because of the fact that there were more eyes that would see me. The fear was so strong that I had not even heard when the host called out:

“Next will be Phuong Anh and Phuong Linh.” She called my name and hadn’t even heard the speaker that was booming right next to my ear.

“Ready Chi Hai?” Linh asked tugging me into the center stage. I saw my sister smile that smile big smile from before which suddenly appeared on my face as well.

I took a deep breath and said, “Ready.” We walked out together, hand in hand, standing tall in our ao dais, smiling wide.

Suddenly, in the middle of the stage, my heart stopped. I tried to keep the smile on my face as long as I could but it hurt for it was too forced and too fake. Sweat returned to my palms and I let go of my sister’s hand turning to the left and she turned to the right. I spun in a slow, full circle, utterly lost and about to burst into tears. Suddenly, I see Momma; she’s in the crowd like she promised. She gave me a thumbs up, mouthing “I love you.” With that, I wasn’t lost anymore and the tears dried up before they left my eyes. Momma’s love guided my way. ?

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SaMiLoVe97 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Dec. 10, 2010 at 2:59 pm

I love this!!! And im vrey sad im the first to comment. Amazing work dear(:

              <3 Sami

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