Columbus, Ohio, USA
Six years after the wedding, Mary flew to Columbus, Ohio to see her aunt Lulu. Lulu was the younger sister of Mary’s mother and she was like an older sister to Mary.
Lulu: “You told me you are going to stay here for a week. You can stay here longer if you want to. Now the kids are gone, there’s lots of room in the house and we’d love to have your company. John misses the egg custards 蛋撻 you made last time you were here.”
Mary: “I haven’t made egg custards for a while. Paul liked fried chicken, pizzas and beef steaks whenever we went out. He’s not much into soups or desserts that are Hong Kong style.”
Lulu: “That’s interesting. He doesn’t strike me as the type that Americanizes easy.” Mary: “Oh, he isn’t. He only likes fatty American food. Otherwise he hasn’t changed much in five years except his waistline.”
Mary continued: “I think I’m the one who’s fully acclimated to America. I drink black coffee in the morning, red wine at night, and I divorce my yellow husband in between.”
Lulu: “Ha-ha! You never told me why you guys didn’t work out. Honestly that came as a shock to us.”
Mary: “I know. But Auntie Lulu, I assure you that wasn’t a rash decision. I am not ready to talk about it now. Can I tell you later?”
Lulu: “Sure, sure. Just know that you have a shoulder to cry on whenever you are ready.”
Mary did extend her post-divorce vacation in Columbus to two weeks. She and Lulu and John talked about everything under the sun, but she never mentioned the reason for the divorce. Lulu and John thought it must be too painful for her so they left her alone. When she was there, she cooked for the hosts almost every day. After the second day of preparing dinner which included steamed cod and pan-fried beef with oyster sauce, Lulu and John “complained.” Despite how they loved her cooking, they said, they wanted her to stop acting like a housemaid and they wanted to take her out to dinner the next day. But Mary said she liked to cook for her family and it was like therapy to her. They saw that she was sad and serious, so they let her continue. But they made her agree that she would take a break on Saturday and Sunday. On the first weekend, they took her to see the Dayton Air Force Base and the beautiful campus of Ohio State University which was better known for its football team, the Buckeyes, than its faculty who won the most Guggenheim fellowships than all the other Ohio colleges combined.
*** To Be Continued ***
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