“Mom, who’s the girl Tess is playing with out back?” I asked.
“Her name is ‘May Lee.’ She’s Chinese-American. Her family just moved here a few weeks ago. He’s some kind of scientist, and his wife is an accountant. They have several children, and Tess and she have become good friends.”
“She’s Tess’s age. Too young for an elderly gentleman like yourself.”
Just then, Tess and May came indoors.
“Rick, this my friend, May Lee.”
“Please to meet you, May. Are you named for the month of the year? Like, ‘April showers bring May flowers.’”
“Not really. ‘May’ in my name is actually the English version of the Chinese word for pretty or beautiful. The same word is used as part of the Chinese term for America…beautiful country.”
“How do you like going to this new school?”
“It’s OK. I am slowly making new friends. Tess is my first and my best friend.”
Mom asked, “May, your English is perfect. How long have you lived in America?”
“Mrs. Williams, I was born here, though my parents were not.”
Tim came in from playing baseball. He tossed his glove on the couch, then took a surprised look at May Lee.
“Hi. I’m May Lee. You must be Tim.”
“You girls go wash up, and we’ll have a snack, just the three of us females.”
Tess and May went out of the room, and Tim turned to me and said, “She looks…different.”
“Yes, but she is very nice and she’s Tess’s special friend. You’ll get to like her, I’ll bet.”
The girls returned.
“Tim, have you seen the tattoos some of the athletes are getting that have strange writing on them?” May asked.
“They are Chinese characters, the way Chinese people write.”
“Would you like me to write something for you in Chinese? Not a tattoo, of course.”
“On my baseball?”
May took a Magic Marker and put a pair of Chinese characters on Tim’s baseball.
“What’s it say?”
“Dee-dee, little brother.”
“Neat. Do you have a brother?”
“Yes. He’s about your age and he likes baseball, too. Maybe the two of you will become friends.”
“Do you have an older sister?” I asked. Tess just rolled her eyes.
Another in a series of fifty short stories that inform, about a small-town American family now.