12. The Marriage

Now the whole Lyan’s residence was decorated for the big event. Joy mood everywhere. Everyone was excited about this coming up the wedding for the only daughter of the Lyan’s.

But Yu Wen was suffering from cognitive dissonance. She was very sick. Her head was stuffed with cotton. Dreaming day and night. In her vision, everything was like a shadow. Indistinctly her father touched her forehead.  She saw Dz Yun’s face was flushed with excitement. Wong Ma’s worried face……..

Seemingly Yu Wen was watching a show. The actors were running on and off the stage. An instant later she was on the stage. Like a puppet, Wong Ma picked her up from the chair and hold her arm up to let the tailor measure her for her wedding gown.  She wasn’t sure whether everything truly happened or not.

When the time for Yu Wen was about to say farewell to her parents, she kneeled down on her knees. She saw her father’s red eyes. Her mother’s long face still looked the same as she saw lately.

Dimly Yu Wen was embraced. Who embraced her? Then someone assisted her into the wedding car. Everything she was familiar with began to withdraw. The gate of her home closed her car and disappeared. Tears running down her cheeks.

“Wong Ma! Wong Ma?” she called out half dreamingly.”Where is Woman Ma?” Yu Wen was looking for the one who loved her so dearly.

Someone said in her ears: “My lady, Madam Lyan sent Wong Ma to work in the kitchen from now on.  Actually, Madam Lyan was going to dismiss Wong Ma. She said since you are married, Wong Ma is no longer needed in this household. But Master Lyan remember all the good care that Wong Ma have had with you. He kept her working in the kitchen.” Speechlessly with a broken heart, Yu Wen fell back into the set. Her vision got more blurred.

The time was frozen and went backward in the car.

Dimly Yu Wen saw herself was playing in the courtyard with Wong Ma, but the everything she saw seemed so far away. Then the vision changed, she saw people in and out her room, all of a sudden she heard some uproar laughter and people fell down on the floor. These people were trying to pick up a big trunk from the floor. They all knew that Yu Wen was the only daughter of the Lyan’s.  Her dowries must be rich and valuable. This trunk should very heave and filled-up with jewelers, antiques, and thousands of pieces of silver coins. They picked up the trunk with all their strength. Up the trunk flew into the air! They couldn’t keep their balance and fell down to the floor. First was shocked with surprise. Then they laughed.  They would never believe that there were only some clothes that Yu Wen’s wears every day and a cloth brush.

Then the time flew back to the night before the marriage:

That night was so quiet. Yu Wen was sitting next to the table absent-mindedly. She could hear her own heavy breathing and her coughs. This was the last night at home for Yu Wen. When will she be back? ………………….

Wong Ma stood next to Yu Wen, patting on her back. Trying to ease off her lady’s coughs. Wong Ma’s tears were flowing in her eyes. This lady is with her ever since she was a baby. She breastfed her until she was almost two years old. She taught her to say “Ma”, “pa”. She watched her from crawling to stepped out her first baby step. She comforted Yu Wen when she had some hard times. She even dressed Yu Wen every morning until now. But after tomorrow, the girl she took as her very own daughter will be departed from her forever………………

Suddenly the door opened. In came Mrs. Lyan assisting with her maid. Yu Wen stood up right away. Walking wobblingly towards her mother. She poured some tea into a cup and handed to her mother with both hands. She was so touched that her mother could come in to see her the night before she left home. Her mother forgave her!


Mrs. Lyan accepted the tea from Yu Wen’s hands and sipped a little, She said in a cold and calm voice:”En! The tea is cold!’ Then she said with her eyes looking in the air:”Last night I was playing mahjong with some friends. Unfortunately, I  lost all my money. I don’t want to upset your father. Could I borrow some of your dowries to pay back the debts? I know that your father gave you lots of expensive jewelers and thousands of pieces of silver coins. Maybe with your dowries, I can get some good luck from the happiness of your wedding, so that I may win back what I’ve lost. But I’ll pay you back later.”

Mrs. Lyan didn’t wait for an answer, she told her maid to open that big trunk and took all the jewelers, antiques and the money.

Wong Ma couldn’t keep quiet any longer. She kneeled down on her knees and cried out:”Please! madam, please! Leave some for your daughter. Please! You took everything away from my poor lady, what would it be for her future.” Yu Wen stood there without any word or any tears.

Mrs. Lyan did not pay any attention to Wong Ma. Proudly she walked out of the room with her head up.

Thus how Yu Wen stepped into her married life with only some used daily clothes and a brush. A brand new life awaits her.

Mrs. Lyan had never ever mentioned about anything that she’d said that night. Yu Wen never mentioned to her father about what had happened the night before her wedding.  There was never had anything special happened that night.

That brush was a very good one. It had traveled with Yu Wen so many years from places to places. Even till forty years later, only the wood handle that holds the hair looking old and lost its brilliance.  But it didn’t lose any of its hair.

To be continued.

—Chapter 13. Garlic and steamed bun– is on the way—-




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