Monday, November 16, 2009

Just Like Old Times

It's 7:15 when I hear Franco yell up the stairs, "Marjie - there's someone here to see you!"

It's just like old times. I know it's Nam, here to non-communicate with me about Jessica's visit. I had hoped he would bring Minh by earlier so I could write an itinerary; however, that didn't happen. Of course, he is here now, right when I need to be gathering all of my stuff together and heading out the door.

I run down five flights of stairs to communicate with my ex-mother. "Hello, Nam!" I say.

"Mari, hi, see you again!" he says. Very sweet, this man.

"My friend?" he asks. Nam says "my friend" for everything concerning friends, whether it is his friend, his friend's friend, or my friend. To him, it is just one word.

I make the Vietnamese negative gesture and say, "Not today. She comes tonight." To which he responds with his own Vietnamese negative hand gesture and an "I don't know" - as in, I don't know what you are saying.

I spread my arms like wings and pretend I am an airplane. "Tonight," I say, then when I know he still doesn't get it, I just say, "Minh?"

"No Minh," he says. Then he points to his phone; he wants to exchange numbers again. Knowing Nam, he has probably lost five phones since we last communicated with phones in June. I sigh because I have left my phone charging upstairs (and I have been too lazy to memorize my number that I have had for over a year now) - all five flights up. I tell him to wait and sprint up to get it.

I bring it back down, find my number and hand the phone to him so he can enter my number into his phone. His freakishly long fingers still shake when he handles the phone; he is not used to it yet. He enters a number and tries to call. The "no number" recording sounds. He enters another number. Same thing. I gesture to him to let me try, but of course Nam can do it himself. He won't let me try.

Katherine comes in from her morning market run and I roll my eyes at her. This is taking so long, and I wanted to get out to the market...it's Vegetarian Day (Full Moon Day) - my spring roll lady sells sweet potato spring rolls only on this one day per month. Believe me, Katherine rolls her eyes right back at me. Remember, she is my physical extension when it comes to Nam irritation.

Finally, on the third try, Nam gets the number right. I save his number. Then he asks again, "My friend?"

"Not today."

"My friend, when?" he asks.

"Tonight. But you will drive her on Thursday." Of course he doesn't understand.

"Minh," I say. Get Minh to call me, I gesture. I will explain it to him.

This transaction takes fifteen minutes. I still have to climb the five flights again to get my gym bag and the pants I still must iron, plus trek to the outskirts of the market for the sake of sweet potatoes.

When Nam leaves, I look over at my bike and feel like kissing it.

7 comments:

Carol said...

It's been a while since your blog has made me chuckle. But this one did. Nice to have Nam back in the picture -- for a couple of days anyway.

The Norris Clan said...

I agree with Carol... I sat here laughing at the "freakishly long fingers." I can just imagine it... :-)

Brian Bowker said...

I'm trying to imagine my whole family, riding on the backs of an army of mototaxis while Marjie is working, with Nam leading the charge...

Man, that will be a sight.

Who will ride on Nam's bike?

marjie said...

Brian, I have been picturing that, too. I'm not sure if it's the lucky or the unlucky one who will lead the pack with Nam in charge. I'm thinking Nolan would complement Nam's personality best for some reason.

Angie said...

All my kids say they're scared of riding with Nam!

Cecilie said...

Trust me, Angie, it is fine to ride with Nam! His driving skills is not the problem, the language is! :0)

Mungommy said...

Somehow, I missed a couple of posts... I love my Nammy.