Earlier in the year, my oldest sister, Chi Nhung, asked me to get some seeds.
“We need some seeds, Buoi!”
she said (Buoi is my Vietnamese nick name)
, “You kn
ow,really big seeds that you can see from far away. You know,
like, really big? Do you
know what I’m talking about?”
ou mean lima beans?” I said.“I don’t know. I just need really, really big seeds.”
“I think they’re lima beans.”
“Are you sure?”“No.”
“Buoi, you need to be sure. This is for
!” She looked at me desperately.“Yeah, I’m pretty sure.” I said. It had been ages since I had ever touched a lima bean. The
last time I remember dealing with them was when I accidentally broke the stem of my middle
plant. After four weeks, it had grown into a thick green stub with no leaves, like adiseased finger poking out of the ground. I tripped over the pot one day and sent the thing to itsdoom. After a thorough preaching from my sister, I never touched lima beans again.Chi Nhung stared at me with her eyebrows furrowed to
gether for a while. “Okay then.Why don’t you get the beans? I don’t think I know how to get them. What are they called again?
Okay, get the lima beans and bring them to church next week so I can make thevideos of the kids pretending to plant the seeds and pray for them. After that, do you think you
can grow them in time? You’re really good with plants!”
“Yeah, I’ll plant them.”
“Great!” she said, and then looked at me again, “Are you sure they’re called lima beans?”
“Yeah,” I said, a bit unsure, “I’m sure.”
When we finished the rehearsal the week after, I went home and started my project. Itook out a small plastic bag, placed a wet towel in it, and then, one by one, placed the seeds onthe inside. I had done this before in the tenth grade when I grew a bunch of lettuce seeds for thescience fair. I put the seeds on the table, where they could soak up the light from the big window.
“I’m growing some lima beans,” I told Lisa
, an older friend at work. She wore some dark blue scrubs and
had a pin with the words “I ♥ CHURCH” stuck to her left breast
. We were eatingchicken wraps
. “They’re for church.” I
was waiting for her to tell her how great it was to growlima beans.
“That’s so great,” she said.“Yeah, I know
,” I said. “I hope they grow.”
grow. Almost a week went by, and none of the seeds had even germinated. Ieven
tried praying for the seeds, but unfortunately that didn’t make them grow any faster, so
when the day of the performance came and the pots were still bare and black, my sister and I juststuck celery sticks in the soil.We handed out the pots to all the kids who would come up, and to my disappointment,they asked me if these plants were for them. I knew that the plants would die under their care.Since I
bear taking prized possessions from children, I let them keep the pots.That was why, when my sister handed me a bag full of the same pots I had given away
earlier, I was quite surprised. I didn’t ask how o
r why she had gotten the plants, but I
I was glad to have them back.