It all changed one afternoon when I brought home my first aptitude result with the highest possible score. I was only in second grade. The delighted look on her face was nothing I've ever seen before. I still have her beautiful smile clearly etched in my mind. After that day, she found a purpose to live life with smiles rather than tears. It was my responsibility to keep her spirits up with exceptional grades. And that’s exactly what I did till this day.
She begged Collin to help her escape every time he visited her. But he denied her requests of course, fearing his father’s threat. However, after watching her ghastly wither away, he grew concerned for her health. He spent as much time with her as feasible. He was terrified that she was starving herself to death. He had to do the decent thing. His conscience was crucifying him.
He was careful to eliminate all traceable evidence that could possibly lead them back to Fort Wayne. His family had shamefully used Jia to expand their medical company. This indignity was obvious. He had the weight of this guilt crushing his integrity for months as he watched my mother's spirit deteriorate. It was time for him to make things right for her. It may take more than this lifetime, but he had to start somewhere.
He bought her a modest size home, a three bedroom ranch, that we still live in. He also set up a banking account for her. His goal was to deposit enough money each month to get her through a few years before she can independently be on her own. He thought of everything but their future together. How could she fault him for this? They were both using each other. He needed his allowance and she wanted to go to medical school. Though she would never admit it to him, deep in her heart, she felt differently. She had truly fallen in love with him.
They agreed to spend one real last night together as husband and wife. He asked her for forgiveness, knowing he had failed her in countless dishonorable ways. It was the first time she had ever seen him cry. The tears were heartfelt, and it affected her intensely to this day. He snuck out early the next morning while she was still sleeping. He left her a note on his pillow that said, "I love you, too." All along he had understood her feelings for him. She never saw him again after that night. He never knew about me. She stubbornly kept her secret, me, for twenty-two years.
“I love you, mom.”
She fishes inside her shirt pocket and pulls out a red Asian jewelry pouch. “This necklace was a wedding gift from your father. I want you to have it. It’s the only remnant of him that I’m able to share with you.”