By Cui Xia Chen, NYU Sophomore
“My bad, grams, but what’s up?”
“Come over tonight Shrimp. Your grandpa will cook you this awesome dinner. He’s making your favorite dish, yknow, the one marinated in hoisin sauce.” I sounded overly ecstatic, a little unusual for my pessimistic self.
“Um, I dunno yet. I’ll come over if it’s convenien—Sing, hurry up! My friends are calling. Gotta go, bye!”
I sighed a little, but I wouldn’t blame her for ditching an old fart like me.
Being seventy felt the same as my other birthdays in the last decade. But I noticed that even after layers and layers of makeup, my wrinkles continued to haunt me. I used to observe myself for hours in the morning, but now, I only glanced towards the mirror to brush my hair. When I got my first strands of white, I panicked. I took two shots of Henney and passed out, hoping that it was all a dream. That white was some irrelevant dye I accidentally experimented with, or that maybe I was not eating enough fish. My husband patted my back, and at once, my eyes slowly opened from my fantasy. He smiled. Why was that man always happy?
Although I married Jin through an arranged set-up at sixteen, I only discovered that we were right for each other when I turned fifty. I didn’t love him at first nor saw him as a potential lover. The naïve sixteen-year-old me drowned in misery and confusion. The part where I permanently sealed my soul to a stranger seemed surreal. I suffocated a little. My birth giver confiscated my freedom like she had taken away my makeup set. I always loathed her for marrying me off so quickly, but that was not an uncommon practice in my day. Only later did I find out that the dowry money I had received from Jin went towards my grandmother’s hospital bills. Two months later, she passed. I was a hero.
… to be continued
This short story will be released in installments over the next few weeks.