Her First Thought

by | Feb 9, 2021 | Fiction, Issue Nineteen

She bears the news like a storm cloud bears the rain, heavy to the point of bursting but not quite because she can’t burst just yet, not thirty-six days before her son’s wedding in Los Angeles, USA, to which she’s bought the plane ticket two months ago and gotten an amazing deal — only eight hundred dollars, or five thousand and six hundred yuan — really a steal, as she told her son on the phone, who laughed and said that she didn’t have to translate the money, that he would pay for the ticket in dollars, but translating currencies has become second-nature to her ever since he’s moved across the world, plus she doesn’t want to waste his American money, which should be saved for his future not hers, as she has already lived out the bulk of her years while he is just starting — but he interrupts her whenever she talks about her age, as if avoiding the topic will make it go away; he does not realize the tragedy of parenting is that as soon as the child is born, your lives start in opposite directions and with each passing day, you step further and further away from each other, but he will understand once he has his own children who will call her grandma (god she hopes she has enough time left to hear it) and wouldn’t that take a little getting used to, although she will welcome the adjustment, for at her age there is little else she still needs to get used to, not even wearing a wig, which she started doing a couple years ago, feeling tired of dying her thinning grey hair every three months — what a chore really when you can just put on a wig and cover it all up, like years ago how she covered up her rural accent by practicing Shanghainese so her son didn’t have to be ashamed of a migrant mother from the countryside, when he was already embarrassed by her job as a maid who could only afford a scooter while his friends’ families owned cars, but they didn’t need a car, just like they didn’t need a man in the house, because she could raise him on her own just fine, and didn’t she do a good job, now that he is living in the USA, about to get married and start his own family, one that will be far better than what she was able to offer him, her darling boy, who is the first thing she thought of when the doctor told her the news and the only reason why she is afraid of what is to come. 

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