Burning Love


She threatened me. I was in the backyard of my home in Oakdale, Minnesota. I usually ran outside on my own to have fun, but once I got into the middle of the yard I could feel her presence. I turned around and saw grandma in her long blue gown.

She yelled, “Yeeng! Come here right now!”

Next thing I remembered she held me by my shoulder and had me stand on the side of the house where I could see the torn down wall. I could see the inside of the basement. She walked me over and handed me a lit cigarette. I was shocked. What did she want me to do with it? I held the cigarette in my hand. I looked down at the cigarette and the next thing I knew grandma was at the other end of the house ready to enter into the basement through the broken wall. Before she entered the home she faced me and had a cigar in her hand. She stood at the entrance of the basement where the torn wall was with her bent arm out that was holding the cigar. She looked happy and content. She was ready. She didn’t have to tell me to get behind the fence door and throw the cigarette at the house. I already knew.

I was confused. I was eight. I wanted to save her and I wanted her to stop. 

I got behind the fence door as I watched her through the opening of the torn wall. She faced away from me, she sighed of relief and content. Then she turned her head to look at me with her eyes glistening, telling me she was ready.

I threw the cigarette from behind the fence. There were no flames. I ran back in and grabbed it and ran back out to throw it again. The fear that the house would blow right in front of me with my grandma in it scared me.

Once I threw the cigarette the dry yellow grass bursted into flames. I could feel the power of the raging heat. I ran left to right and towards the other homes across the street contemplating to search for help. I came back behind the fence. I didn’t know what to think. She wanted this. She was gone.

* * *


I woke up. I couldn’t tell why I accepted the fact that I just murdered my own grandmother and burned her alive. I felt no guilt. The eight year old inside of me knew that what I did was wrong. But the twenty year old grand daughter knew that she was ready to go.

I laid in bed waiting for tears to drop down. I thought about my grandma. How shes laying on the couch playing slots on her IPad with the TV on watching Animal Planet. I thought of things to say to her when I saw her. The utter drop of my heart just hit me.

* * *

I gained the courage to tell my mom about it. She instantly told me it’s because that one of my great uncles was passing away from stomach cancer.

* * *

In Hmong traditions, dreams usually mean something very opposite or unrelated to what they really show and present. Dreams of people being burned like how my grandma was burned meant that she was going to get better, well in my dream. And in other words, like my mom stated, it meant that it was because I knew that my great uncle was dying. The cigarette and the cigars symbolized to me that her asthma and coughs were going to get better. Her blue gown actually meant that she was young again. Other than that, these dreams are becoming surreal, like another life being lived.



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