Be Sweet and Loving, by Vincent Chu

Dec 18 (4 days ago)

RE: Greetings from Estonia

Dear son,

Did you get my package? Are you even alive? Where is your sister? Two days ago I called Lisa but nobody answered. Yesterday I emailed her. This morning I drove to their house. She would not let me in. She complained I never told her I was coming. She said my last visit stressed her because I cleaned her house without consent! Your sister is very stubborn. Do you trust George, a man from Ecuador, a country plagued with drugs? Do you think he takes drugs? Lisa?

Lisa always accused me of loving you more but actually my love toward my two children is the same. Are you living healthy?

I dental floss my teeth nightly. I brush my teeth after meals and then use the water pick to rinse my teeth. I have cured my gingivitis. Do you keep your teeth clean?

Healthy living is important. Last week I found out the space between my toes was itchy. Now I know the best solution is not the fungus ointment, but to wash my toes twice a day and put my shoes under the sun to dry. Do you ever have rashes or itchy toes?

Please care for your body. Your Uncle John got bladder cancer. There were four tumors on his bladder. He had surgery to remove them. Smoking is one reason to get cancer. I hope you do not smoke anymore! Hair dye is the main reason for women to get bladder cancer. Will you let me buy health insurance for you?

Your father used to have dry skin when he worked at the plant. He told me too much vitamin C made his skin crack. Does that make sense to you? I suspect the chemicals damaged his skin. Please take the vitamin C I sent you. Did you receive them or not?

I believe Lisa was hurt by George in Hawaii. Did you talk to her? I know she loves me very much but she has pushed me away since the trip. I believe Lisa was injured by George or maybe a local criminal did something to them. It’s hard to trust islander people. (Do you remember your girlfriend from college?) Before the trip Lisa was happily asking me to cook soup for her and even thanked me twice for the good soup.

Can you video chat with her to find out her problem? Be sure she and Brie walk around in front of you. George reminds me of your father. Lisa doesn’t sound happy at all. Do you think she is safe?

When will you settle down? Can I visit you? Lisa won’t travel with me because I make her nervous. I really have anxiety illness. After one month sick leave, relaxation has helped me understand what’s wrong with me.

Netflix was my savior. I am going to have another MRI next month and continue physical therapy. My spine doctor was very good. Can you imagine, a lot of wonderful doctors are Indian?

I am cleaning your closet now. You still have a lot of handsome clothes. I separated them nicely. Keep up the neat order when you come to visit. Agreed?

Please try to let go of my past errors. Did you know I was also hurt deeply by my own mother, stepfather, sisters and brother in the past? I was happy to walk out of my parents’ house and start my own life. I made a lot of mistakes. Your father was not loving at all. He had a small heart and temper. I feel so sorry for you kids to grow up with him, I hope you will forgive me. But he has his own life and you don’t need to worry about him or his financial problems anymore. I live alone too, but am not lonely. Believe me, I am not lonely!

Lately I suspect people sneak into my house. One day I looked up at the book case and the Egyptian painting was missing from the frame! Last week someone moved my soup spoon. I am not senile yet, some people just enjoy playing games in the dark. I told the police the other day. But I have no fear. I can live with intruders.

I pray one day you and Lisa can move home. I called grandpa. He agrees. I can occupy one room and the rest of the house is yours. Doesn’t that sound like a deal? Or I can be your tenant and pay rent. George can come and go as he wishes. But if he wants me to move out, I would think George is very suspicious! I can cook for myself, usually I cook one meal and eat it for three days. We don’t need to talk to each other unless you like to. Doesn’t that sound fair?

I can help raise Brie. Did you know I started working nights when Lisa was only three months old? I was a full-time mom during the day and full-time clerk at night. Lisa denies my ability to take care of my own grand daughter! Have you ever heard the saying, “The older the better?” Lisa must let me care for Brie otherwise my years of training are wasted!

After I retire I can move away. I will go to city college to take classes to keep me busy. I went to the senior center today. I enjoyed playing pool and the lunch conversation. People there are patient and friendly. A nice Jewish woman posted an ad looking to rent a room but she has a cat.

I am going back to work Wednesday. I may not write you as often. I must give you and Lisa space to breathe.

Sometimes Lisa looks peaceful with George. But she is always stressed with me. I think it is in my nature to be nervous and restless. Perhaps one day you can find someone that makes life peaceful for you.

Lisa is very content to be a mother. Women are by nature territorial and want to possess. No one can separate the bond between a mother and her baby. Even if you hate the world, you must love your mother.

Be sweet and loving.


p.s. Tell me if you want me to buy you health insurance!


Vincent Chu is a writer from the Bay Area. His short stories have appeared in the East Bay Review, Chicago Literati, The Collapsar, WhiskeyPaper, Tethered by Letters and others. He currently lives in Cologne, Germany. You can find him at vincentchufiction.tumblr.comand @herrchu

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