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We send you cash in envelope. You better spend on useful. Why you don’t call? You don’t pick up. We leave the voice mail. You don’t listen. Please check voicemail. Clean dorm room. We hope you cook own food sometime. We hope you laundry. We hope you read Bible and go church. We hope you stop go hippie hike and start focus more school. We hope you try read Chinese and still study lawyer. Uncle say hi. Tell girlfriend we say hi. Hope you two get marry. We want grandchildrens. We find you nice girl if girlfriend don’t work.

It’s been while. Still haven’t heard you. We text you. Why you don’t answer? We try send you dorm mail. They say you no live here. We call girlfriend. She say you not with her. She say you don’t want the marry or the children. We hang up. We disappointing you. We thought you knew more after educations we give you. We call dorm-mates after. They say haven’t seen you now, but that normal. We hope you not giving away money to other people. Give make no money. We could save for retire but we spend on you. If don’t call soon, we stop give money. You don’t care about us.

We sit in house lots. We eat meal together. We think meal nicer if you here. We pour glasses orange juice for you. We place on offer altar next to your play cards and old teddy, but you don’t drink it. It sit so long it stink. We drink until we dizzy. We say no words. We don’t like talk because we don’t like think about what happen to you. We think house quiet now. Remind us of when we visit Grand Canyon and look down but not see the bottom. We don’t give away you old clothes. We don’t reuse of your room. We don’t sell snowboard gloves boots helmet goggles. We don’t like snow, you do. We never sell your piano or your guitar. We hope you play them extra one day.

We pick up phone fast now. We hope you. We jump at telephone rings that shake house. We yell at many phone advertises. We say we don’t want the solar panels or the refinance. We don’t want new credit cards or the computer repair. We don’t want enter sweepstake for family cruise. We learn not respond them. We pick up and hang up when we hear voice not you. We wait by phone. We sleep none.

We try go work. Boss say we don’t have go work cashier if we don’t want. They pat on shoulder and tell us they do the understand. They don’t. We sense Boss the pity. We don’t want go work and we don’t go. We put many poster up for you around your college and favorite places, by diner and park. You look nice in photos we put on posters. You also on news yesterday. There were picture of you and description. They got height wrong. They say you 6 foot not 5’11. You sometime say same thing. You look tall in the photos. You look handsome. You look tall than us in photos. People see you photos and think you like handsome CEO. They know your face. They help us because police don’t do the help. They don’t help poor Chinese because no understand. No care. They say you want run away. They say American child don’t want Chinese family. You not kid anymore, but we look for you.

We don’t care if you no read the Bible or don’t be the lawyer. We don’t care if you don’t do the marry or don’t have the grandchildrens. We want take you to snow so you can the snowboard, even if we hate the snowing. We want hike with you on mountain springtime. We promise no complain allergies or feet hurt because weather nice and you point out flowers you like. We still wait by phone. We still jump when phone ring. We wish you play guitar again. We wish undo.

Mother’s Helper, Sarah Becker. Image courtesy of Young Arts.

Bianca Zhou, 17, is a 2018 YoungArts winner in Writing. She is a recognized California Arts Scholar and the National Grand Champion of the Walt Whitman Poetry Contest of 2016, Silver Winner of the Bay Area Book Festival Young Author’s Contest 2017, and a recipient of 5 Gold Keys, 5 Silver Keys, and multiple honorable mentions from Scholastic for her writing and photography.