In park….I see cable car.…. It go
past, not block away. I know when come… it turn corner.
It ring, bell, …, ding, ding. In
park I listen, …, learn then watch cable car, ….., think pick up Rickie….run cable car…. get
away. No can run fast with Rickie, in cheongsam, I need time, get away.
After time, take Rickie to park, man
not watch close, …., he go soup, no watch, sometime he go, get cigarette, go smoke.
I learn cable car come when hear bell. I keep hide money with me. One day I see
okay chance, man, …, he go eat soup, no look. I pick up Rickie, …, walk, …, then
try run cable car. Hard to run, …, hard to run, cheongsam, slippers.
I get to cable car, hold Rickie up, hard get on, maybe not can. Man on, he take Rickie, …, put Ricky on, set on seat, ….., I hold and run, …., no can jump on, …, man, he reach, he pull me up. I hide in cable car, …, so no can see me and Rickie.
Cable car go, up, up, hill, …..,
then go down, …, down, down fast, …, then stop, ….., I see people many people,
pick up Rickie, …, want jump off, …., man
he help me down, …., I go hide in people but easy see me.
White people look, see me, me China girl, carry Rickie. I think someone call police. I have twenty five dollar hide money, go to big store, near cars go into ground. I go imagine store, people stare, boss lady want to know who I am. I run to Paris store. I stop, ask people where Santa Clara? They think I crazy girl. No understand me.
Old woman, white hair, she wear fur
coat, she in Paris store, under glass roof, she look see me, she kind, very kind me.
She hear me ask help. She take me to
other big store, Macy. I cold in cheongsam, slippers. Rickie cold too, crying.
Workmen fixing Macy store. No one notice us.
She buy me coat and Rickie
blanket. Not let me pay. Then I see, out store window, see man watch me. He
look see for me, run crazy. I know get hit if he see me. He look up, down,
street for me. Run one way run back.
I say old woman bad man look see for
me, hit if look see me. When he go one way, she take me, get taxi, take Rickie,
me, to train station. She say, she buy ticket to Santa Clara. I say no. I buy
to Santa Clara but she buy anyway."
"Oh God Mom, I am so sorry. I
never knew how you suffered. Oh God please, oh, God Mom!"
We sat until she calmed with tears
of memory trickling down her face, no sobs, no crying just tears one by one,
silent, drip by drip.
I thought of her in a cheongsam, small step
constricted, trying to run to catch a rumbling cable car on Powell Street at
the edge of the Chinatown ghetto. I imagined her carrying a young boy, a
stranger helping her, picking up Rickie, her jumping, grabbing a railing, and
dangling, the man pulling her on.