Hey guys~! I felt like updating you guys with news on Andrew. For those who aren’t too familiar with characters in my journal, Andrew is a boy a grade below me. He volunteers at the same Vietnamese Saturday school dubbed Giao Ly. So far, I’ve submitted three (I think?) entries about him titled as the following:

Burning Housewife
Housewife Ashes
Ashes Sealed

These titles are meant to remind me about which entries are related to each other, so ignore the absurdity, haha.

I met Andrew briefly last week, if I remember correctly. I wanted to write an entry then, but this past week has been hectic what with progress reports being compiled. Quarter two starts on Monday and I’ll be a bit busier than usual as I’m enrolled in an online course that starts then. Wish me luck!

Anyhow, about Andrew, yeah, I had a short conversation with him last week. I don’t know if I can recall all the details, but I’ll try my hardest. After that, I might talk about my encounter with him today. He’s quite an interesting fellow.

For the weeks prior to last week, I’ve not seen Andrew despite being a TA for the same class. Last week, after Saturday school was over and the kids were either leaving for home or preparing for evening mass, I saw him sitting in the classroom adjacent to the staff room. I immediately approached him, starting the conversation by saying, “I don’t see you that often anymore. Did you transfer to a different class?” or something along that meaning.

He then said something about grade four. I didn’t expect an actual explanation for a simple yes or no question, so I didn’t tune in accurately. I thought perhaps he was a TA for grade four, but I never heard of TAs being transferred. Then again, this year, Giao Ly has a surplus of youth volunteering for them.

“How’s grade one been?” he said, or at least something similar to that. I am a TA for grade one, the same grade Andrew used to be a TA for. To this day, I still don’t know if Andrew is one of my TA buddies.

“Oh, it’s alright, I suppose,” I said, realizing I might’ve just killed the conversation. “It’s a bit lonely,” I tried to guilt him, applying as much desperation in my voice as possible. Perhaps desperation is the wrong word. I’m trying to explain a tone of voice I use to add emphasis on trivial matters, whatever that’s called.

Did he laugh at my humour? I don’t recall. We continued talking for a bit and then I jumped the gun.

“Did you ever go camping?” I asked.

When I think of Andrew, I’m reminded of a boy in my memory that I revived a fire with. I have mentioned all this in previous entries, but I thought you might want a refresher.

Way back when, I was on a camping trip with the church. I don’t know if I mentioned the church thing before. Back then, I believe I was part of the student body of Giao Ly. We used to have (and we probably still do have) annual camping trips. During this particular trip, I met a boy whose name evades my mind and together we revived a campfire. The weeks following, this same boy would say to me when he passed me by, “Are you the girl I made the fire with?” to which I’d respond affirmatively. His name allegedly starts with a V.

When people from Vietnam move over here, they often adopt an English name for ease of communication. Following the tradition, they often give their kids both an English name and a Vietnamese middle name. Andrew’s name starts not with a V, but I didn’t know his middle name so I suspected him of being the boy in my past.

“Yeah,” Andrew said when I asked him if he ever went camping, “with the church.”

So, you see, this is where I was extremely interested.

“Did you ever make a fire?” I said. I didn’t bother with transition words to smoothen my dialogue. I was just... so eager to get my answers.

“Yes,” he said. At this point, he started smiling. Something was odd with this smile, dear readers. I felt like he was holding in a laugh, but what was funny? “Why?”

And then I burst out into a synopsis of my story, telling him about the boy and the fire.

“I only first met you when we were TAs for grade one.” But there it still was; that devious smile of his! What was he hiding, dear readers?

“Oh,” I replied. I’ll admit I was a bit disappointed by the time he finished his last statement. I was disappointed, yes, but I possessed a little spark of hope. “Do you have a Vietnamese name?”

Although Vietnamese-blooded children born here usually have both an English name and a Vietnamese name, I’ve met a few with only English names and a few with only Vietnamese names.

“I do,” he said.

“What is it?” I ask him, probably way to hyper to seem normal. Oh wells, I abandoned normality ages ago.

“Andrew Vinh Tran,” he said.

Should I have revealed that, I wonder? I just released someone else’s personal information to the public. Andrew, if you’re reading this, sorry! But how awkward it must be to read and entry dedicated to you, haha.

Anyhow, I was shocked. I shouldn’t have been, but I was.

So he had the right name, but our memories don’t match up. The smile he showed me made me think he was hiding the truth from me, like he found it amusing how I couldn’t recognize him. The oddest thing has been happening since this little incident. In my memory, the boy in my memory is now named Andrew Vinh Tran, without question. It feels like I knew his name all this time, but I know I didn’t. If you read my previous entries, you’ll know I didn’t, too! My brain is so convinced that Andrew and this boy are the same. It’s so... peculiar to be convinced this strongly. I don’t know how to effectively elaborate.

I think it’s him, dear readers. I think Andrew is the boy from my past, a statement that, if fact, has opened up many barriers inside of me. I feel like not only am I reconsidering Calvin’s existence, I’m also freeing myself from whatever past I had and forgotten.

And, sorry if I sound redundant in my journals as a whole, but for those of you who don’t keep up with my journal, Calvin is the first boy I had special feelings for. I met and fell for him in grade two, departed with him the following year expecting him to return in sixth grade, reserved my heart until sixth grade to have it shattered by the absence of him. I’ve resolved that he might be dead. That pretty much sums up the character of Calvin in my Gaia journal. Hopefully it made sense to you newcomers, which I’m sure plenty of you are.

I don’t get too, too many readers, but of the ones I am fortunate enough to receive, I’m sure not all of them are the same people again and again. This is why I feel the need to reinforce who the people I mention in my entries are. I apologize to those who frequent my journal only to read about recurring character summaries.

Let’s go back to the topic of Andrew, shall we?

I met him again today. It was... quite nice, actually. I didn’t know I could enjoy a stranger’s company so much. I mean, I know Andrew, and I have a decent idea of him as a person, but I don’t consider myself close enough to him to consider his friends.

Who knows? I’ll leave it up to him. If he thinks we’re friends, so be it.

Today I arrived early at Giao Ly to help out with confetti that will be thrown by the young girls of our church during the parade around our church in celebration of Palm Sunday. Actually, I was required to be there earlier than usual for a “TA meeting,” but I ended up being late for such a meeting. I was able to tune in on the last little bit of the conference, but I focused more on twisting little slits of crepe streamers for confetti.

After the meeting was over and Giao Ly was scheduled to begin, I saw all the TAs walking upstairs. The room I was in at the time was in the basement, the same floor my grade one class is hosted. Among the stampede of TAs, I saw Andrew. Our eyes met instantaneously, and I rushed in a friendly-ish wave. He responded generically, with a casual wave of his own. He headed up stairs while I went to my grade one class.

Along the way there (‘twas a short walk, maybe fifteen steps), I ran into Cecilia.

Cecilia, in this case, is another one of my TA buddies. She, Andrew and I all started as a TA for the same grade one class. She told me that all TAs were required to go upstairs and receive reconciliation in preparation for Easter. I followed her upstairs.

When I reached the area where mass is held, I stood behind the backmost pew for a while. I honestly didn’t know where to go. A few TAs were scattered among the middle pews, but I don’t really know any of them well enough to sit beside. All I knew were my sister, Andrew, and Cecilia. The rest are, even though I’m familiar with most of their names, complete strangers.

I saw Andrew among the pews, but I was not going to sit beside him for various reasons. Cecilia, on the other hand, was not seated at the time. Meanwhile, my sister was nowhere to be seen. I just stood there, behind the backmost pew, and waited for some time.

When my sister finally came into view, she approached me. She hushed to me a few words I couldn’t catch and headed down the aisles to find a place to sit. I obediently trailed behind her, conscious when I passed Andrew.

I’ll just skip ahead until after reconciliation.

I went downstairs to where all the kids where kept. Since reconciliation is a tedious procedure when involving the older population of our church community, the Giao Ly students were confined to the basement floor where they were fed fries, chicken strips, grapes, and honey melon while they watched some random religious film and later Frozen.

The TAs were requested to supervise over the kids, but I decided to continue making the confetti I was working on earlier in the day. It took a while to summon the courage to head into the elite staff room and grab the supplies for the confetti. It took even more bravery to find and use a place to work. The only spot available was in the room beside the staff room, and several people occupied it already. There were a few chairs left here and there, but the room was swarming (not literally) with boys. I’m not one to be comfortable in that atmosphere.

My friend, Petra, offered to help me. I gladly accepted her aid. The room I was aiming for cleared a bit and several spots were left unattended. Petra and I sat down and began working. After a few minutes, surprisingly, Andrew came along and sat with us. He wanted to help as well and proceeded to do as we did. Just like this, the three of us working on confetti, we shared a conversation.

The kids were all stored in an adjacent area and the movie volume was probably set to the maximum. The kids were trying to communicate over the loudness of the television speakers which only made the overall sound level unbearably higher. Despite this, I managed to share a few words with Andrew and Petra.

It was so strange, dear readers. The way Andrew talked was just so... easy? Like, he worded things well and said the right things and kept quiet when silence was needed; all this he did seemingly effortlessly. It was such a phenomenon to me, someone who struggles with certain social circumstances.

A few times, our hands touched for brief moments. No, I’m not introducing some romantic aspect to the relationship Andrew and I share. I’m just saying, for jiffies, our hands made contact. The first time this happened, I instinctively flinched. Andrew noticed this, apparently.

“Still believe in cooties?” he said. The first time I shared a real conversation with him, I kind of randomly mentioned my fear (and fib) of boy cooties. He thought I wasn’t joking so I went along with it, which resulted in his reinforced idea that I have some sort of cooties phobia.

“Of course,” I replied, trying to sound slightly sarcastic, and wiped my hand on the table. Every time our skin nudged, I repeated the same action of wiping the “infected” area on a nearby piece of furniture.

“So, can you touch things that a boy has touched?”

“Yeah, it’s more of a mental thing,” I replied. I meant that I couldn’t touch boys simply because they were boys, not because they were covered in some invisible, infectious slime. In reality, I don’t possess so seriously such a fear.

“You can’t even touch me?” he said, or something along those lines. He sounded rather innocent, which went along with the mood quite well.

“No,” I replied. I couldn’t tell if he was offended or not by my bluntness. I do sometimes turn into a frank being.

We continued talking and talking. There was a kid with us, one whose name evades me. He’s the same kid, I think, who was with us the first time I talk to Andrew. This kid really liked Andrew and I think Andrew was made uncomfortable by how close this kid was getting. Andrew often stood up and moved around. He ended up settling in a seat across from me, which made it convenient for me to talk to him face-to-face without feeling like I was excluding Petra. The difficulty it takes to uphold a three-way conversation varies on the formation of the trio.

Somewhere along our conversation, Andrew asked me, “What if you travelled to the future and saw yourself married?”

“I would ask her how her mental state was. Then I’d ask her who she married and go back in the past and meet the guy and say to him, ‘so apparently we’re married in the future.’”

“But what if you ended up in the body of your future self?”

“Oh.” I then go on, saying things like how I’d be terrified since I wouldn’t know anyone. I’d probably be admitted to a hospital where strangers would visit with tears in their eyes, saying, “We used to be friends~!”

“What about your husband?”

“I’d pretend I didn’t know we were married.”

“That’s mean.”

“Well, unless he could prove that we were married.”

“What about all those couple photos?”

“It’ll be the future! Photo-editing must have taken extreme advancements. Photos aren’t reliable.”

And our conversation went on and on like that. It seemed to me my fake fear of cooties ignited a romance-oriented curiosity in Andrew. I don’t mean that I think he likes me. I’m sure he has his own special girl in mind, but he was adamant on discovering my love life. One day, I’ll link him to my journal and he can find out things himself, haha.

There were several opportunities for me to ask him what I really wanted to know: Were you the boy I made the fire with? Are you sure you didn’t know me before we were TA buddies? What are you hiding?

The presence of Petra discouraged me from venturing on to personal topics like that. After all, the boy in my memory is a boy in a girl’s memory. He could be the boy and I’m the girl. There’s no third person in such a topic.

Hm... My memory just disappeared! Welp, I can’t type more. I’ll go ahead and end this entry now.

OH! But before I forget, have a go at guessing the title and artist of this song:

Like the shore and the sea
We are not one thing
We're drawn here together
My ocean and me

I recently discovered this artist and I think the music this artist makes is just beautiful! You’ll probably see a lot more lyric excerpts from this artist in future entries. Anyway, I’m going to head off to bed. G’night to you dreamers~! Until next time! yum_puddi