Chapter 37 - Inside Your Heaven

For the next two weeks, Quin used all her resources to tap into hospital records to look for victims without identities.  She asked Peter for his help to retrieve whatever records he could find from NYPD.  She also asked for help from Dr. Millard who was treating a lot of victims suffering from coma as well as psychotic trauma caused by the near-death events of September 11.  Whatever she could think of, she gave it her whole-hearted effort to find Fei.  Since that night when she dreamt of Fei in the narrow alley, somehow she felt a strong conviction that he was still alive somewhere.  When things got bleak and she ran into dead ends, Lemon-B was always there for her as her lifeline.  This was because whenever Quin showed her pictures of Fei, for no rhyme or reasons, she would mumble ‘Da Da’.  Whenever Quin flipped through the pages of the bedtime storybook titled How I met your Father, Lemon-B would kick her arms and legs excitedly.  Though she was only five months old, Quin believed there was a deep connection somehow, somewhere.

Mr. Mo and Bui Yee were getting worried about how much effort Quin was putting into this search.  They were fearful that she would be disappointed at the very end to find that Fei was indeed among those who had perished at Ground Zero, among the many whose bodies were still unidentified.  Aaron had come to visit them to offer his support whenever he could get away from his teaching job at the university.  He was there almost every weekend and Lemon-B had grown fond of him as well.  Whenever he carried her high in the air, she would laugh aloud and kick her feet excitedly.

“You can really kick, can’t you?  You are so strong! Just like your Mommy!”  Aaron would comment every time he held her up high in the air.  Whenever he lowered her to kiss her on the cheek, Lemon-B would smack his face with her tiny, yet strong hands.  Then she would laugh and repeat her actions as Aaron continued to hold her in his arms.

Seeing how good Aaron was with their grand-daughter, Mr. Mo had asked Bui Yee to test the water with Quin one Sunday night after Aaron had driven home across the north border.

“Aaron is really good with Lemon-B, isn’t he?”  Bui Yee stood next to the desk where Quin was working on her computer.  She gave her niece a nudge.  “He seems to be a very caring man.”

Quin knew where this conversation was going.  “Yes, Aaron is a very good man, with a big heart too.  But you are married to Dad now!”

Bui Yee ignored her niece’s rebuttal but was happy to hear that Quin considered Aaron a good man.  “Then for Lemon-B’s sake, you would give him a chance, right?”

Quin turned and looked at Bui Yee.  “Have you ever heard Lemon-B calls him Da Da when he plays with her?”

Bui Yee knew there was no point in continuing the conversation.  Quin smiled as she watched Bui Yee walked away dejectedly.
Chin Chin came out of the SeaTac Airport and spotted Quin and her family right away.  When Mr. Mo saw her pulling two pieces of luggage with difficulty, he hurried forward to help her.

“I thought Nathaniel was coming with you,” Mr. Mo said.  “Is he still inside?”

“Yes, but he is catching a transit flight to Vancouver right away.  He will drive down here tomorrow.”

Quin approached with Lemon-B in her arms as Bui Yee pushed the baby cart.  Quin waved her daughter’s tiny hand and the baby gave Chin Chin a big bright smile.

“Oh, she is so cute!  She’s got … such beautiful eyes.”  Chin Chin was going to say the baby had Fei’s eyes, but she held back for Quin’s consideration.  She reached and squeezed the baby’s chubby cheeks.  Chin Chin offered her arms to carry the baby, but Lemon-B turned buried her face against her mother’s bosom. “Come, let Auntie Chin Chin carry you.”

When Quin placed her daughter into Chin Chin’s arms, Lemon-B’s facial expression changed right away.  And as soon as Chin Chin turned the baby around to face her, Lemon-B’s lips started to tremble.  Soon enough she started crying aloud and Chin Chin quickly handed her back to Quin.  The baby stopped crying immediately and gave Chin Chin a dimpled smile before burying her face into her mother’s shoulder. 
“Lemon-B, when did you learn to be so cheeky?”  Everyone knew her daughter inherited that sneaky smile from her father.  She didn’t even have a single drop of tears in her eyes.  Quin pretended to reprimand her daughter.   But deep down, she loved it whenever her daughter did that because it reminded her so much of Fei.  It was moments like these that her heart was once again filled with hope that he was still alive somehow, somewhere.

“She is very attached to her Mom.  She won’t even let me carry her unless Quin is next to me!”  Bui Yee consoled Chin Chin.  “The only one who can carry her without Quin around is Aaron.”

“Who is Aaron?”  Chin Chin was curious.

“A friend of mine who’s been helping me before Bui Yee and Dad came here,” Quin then suggested to make a move before Bui Yee or her dad had a chance to season the conversation about Aaron with honey and syrup.  “Let’s get out of here before we need to pay for another hour of parking!”

Two days later, Aaron was playing with Lemon-B while the women were busy getting Thanksgiving dinner ready.  Quin was bringing out some dishes from the kitchen when she saw Aaron and her daughter playing and laughing happily.   Lemon-B was able to sit up on her own now and she was moving her hands trying to grab Aaron’s glasses.  Quietly, Quin stood observing as Aaron played with her daughter.  She felt the muscles around her heart tightened as she thought of her baby’s father, her husband.  How she wished Fei was the one here playing with Lemon-B.  She longed for him, every night she prayed for a sign that her effort to find him would not be in vain.  She knew her family and close friends near and far were silently supporting her.  Though their hope was faint, no one had ever verbally told her to give up and to move on in those exact words.  They tried in subtle ways, but Quin would not let her faith be wavered.

One night, as Quin was putting her daughter to bed, she noticed Lemon-B had discovered a new game on her own, she somehow learned how to play with her saliva.  After collecting a mouthful, she then spit it out and laughed.  When Quin approached her to wipe her drooling, Lemon-B gestured with her arms that she wanted to be carried.  So Quin picked her up and the baby continued to blow saliva out from her mouth and giggled at the same time.  She obviously was enjoying it.  And then it happened!  For the very first time, Quin heard her daughter say the magical word.  Lemon-B only said it once that night.  It was so unexpected and quick, but Quin caught it loud and clear though it was spoken like a gentle whisper as if to wake someone up from a sleep.

“Daddy!”
Somewhere over on the other side of the country, tucked away in a long-term care facility laid a 9/11 victim who was slowly coming out of his coma.  It took two nurses and a doctor about two hours to confirm who he was.  The patient had no recollection of being at the World Trade Center on September 11.  The reason was because in his world, it was still the year 1997 and he had no idea what he was doing in the United States of America.  When he told them his name, it rang a bell for one of the nurses.

“I remember Dr. Millard mentioning this name before.  Let me go check the 9/11 victim lists.”  The nurse was about to exit the room.

“Wait!”  The doctor called out.  Then he walked out of the room with the nurse so the patient couldn’t hear what he was about to say.  “Call the NYPD right away.  I remember his name too!  Some cops and FBI agents were going around different hospitals with his batch photo asking about him.”
After Dr. Millard did his initial assessment on Fei, he made a decision to air-vac him back to Seattle General Hospital with the help of the FBI Agency’s Learjet.  When Quin heard of her husband’s news, she wanted to catch a flight to New York immediately.  But Dr. Millard told her about Fei’s condition and asked her to wait for them in Seattle instead.

Since she learned of Fei coming out of a coma and his condition ten hours ago, she had thought long and hard about his Retroactive Amnesia and the fact that he was not able to remember anything that happened in the last 5 years.  She didn’t care what condition her husband was in, she was just happy that he was alive and that their daughter would grow up with a father – even though he might not ever remember he has a daughter.

When she arrived at The Seattle General Hospital and was shown to Fei’s room, Dr. Millard was there and asked if she was ready to see Fei.  She wasn’t sure what she was prepared for, but she wanted desperately to see her husband.  However, Fei didn’t feel the same when he saw her.
“Hi!”  She tried to smile but was having a hard time keeping her emotions calm when she saw the immediate disappointment on his face.

“You again?”  He glared at her as she closed the door behind her.  It had been a long time since she saw that grouchy look on her husband’s face.  He used to give her that exact look whenever he had to report to her for psychoanalysis evaluation.  “Did you drug me so you could bring me to America to be treated like a mouse?”

“Is that what you thought I did the last time you saw me?”  Quin was filled with overwhelming emotions to know exactly which role she wanted to play.  She couldn’t decide if she wanted to be his wife or his psychologist.  She certainly felt he only saw her as an enemy.

“Well, I knew you were going to write me a bad report after I made a fool of you with that story about the woman who got cancer.”  Fei chuckled as he remembered his own charade.  “I was pretty good, huh?  Maybe I should try out as an actor.  Perhaps go for one of those talent shows TVB has when I get back to Hong Kong.  Maybe I’ll go into making movies.”

Quin’s heart was fighting for oxygen as her brain registered how much memory was suppressed in his mind.  Knowing his personality back then, she knew there was no way he could accept the fact that he was married to her and that they had a child together.  To tell him now would be too cruel and might even set him back in this post-traumatic recovery for him to ever gain all his memory back.  She decided to search through her handbag for her sunglasses.  After she found them, she put them on right away because she could no longer hold back the tears in her eyes.

Fei saw her actions and remembered her recent cornea transplant as well as the time he stood naked in front of her in the men’s shower room.  He knew that was how he met her.  He also remembered Quin couldn’t see anything because she was still blind at that time.  Seeing how quiet and still she was by the door, he said in a mocking tone.  “Are you having problems with your eyes again?”  He gave her a sneer.  “Maybe you should call Dr. Lau, or maybe change doctor.  If you ask me, I don’t think he did a good job on your eyes.  Plus it’s against work ethics to date his patients.”

Quin knew her husband had no idea in his so-called world that Dr. Lau was murdered three years ago.  And there was something else he didn’t know either, but Quin was certain this news would bring joy to him in the world he was familiar with.

“Chin Chin is here!”

“You found Chin Chin?!  Where is she?”  His expression did a 180 degree turn towards the positive.

Quin had to dry her cheeks immediately because tears were rolling down uncontrollably when she saw the joyful expression on his face.  He was like an elated teenager again.  But Quin couldn’t blame him, she loved him too much and she knew he still loved Chin Chin in his so-called world.

Quin reasoned that after being buried for 18 hours, Fei must have witnessed horrible things and suffered injuries to the brain that was beyond healing at this time.  No matter how advance medicine had become in the new millennium, Quin was certain only a miracle could bring Fei’s memory back.  She just didn’t know how or where to ask for such a miracle.  She wished she could reach inside him, inside his heaven where the storm blew him away.  She wanted to bring him back to the present, to the world where his home was.  Looking into his eyes, she wanted to help him remember all the mysteries that were mind boggling to him; especially when he asked her the following question.

“How did you know Chin Chin?”
Added from Canon Dabbles …….

Quin's heavy laden heart was bleeding with tears as she drove herself home from Seattle General Hospital.  Though she had spent a total of 5 hours at the hospital, she only saw her husband for a total of 12 minutes.  Oh yes, she counted because she cherished every minute she could spend with him.  When Dr. Millard warned her about Fei's condition, she thought she was ready to handle whatever came her way.  But she was so wrong.

When she first saw Fei, the expression on his face made her stomach churn with burning acid.  In her own words, it was worst than having morning sickness when she was pregnant with Lemon-B.  The only comfort was that he recognized her and knew who she was.  The flip side was he didn't know who she 'is' and she didn't have the heart nor the courage to tell him during that short time they were together in his room. 

On the way to the hospital, Quin had envisioned a totally different visitation.  She was more prepared to see the physical changes on Fei and was ready to embrace him into her arms again.  But his very first reaction had ripped her strength apart and she fought against herself with all her will-power to not be broken by his so-called 'mean behaviour' towards her. 

As much as she tried to reason with herself that her husband was suffering from amnesia, she couldn't keep her own tears at bay.  After he questioned her about Chin Chin, she left his room and ran down the corridor to a quiet corner where she had to let out her tears.  After collecting  herself together, she glanced at her watch, took in a deep breath and shook her head.  It had only been 5 minutes and he had managed to force her out of his room.  The old Tsui Fei is definitely back!  She muttered to herself.  The Tsui Fei whose heart is still hopelessly devoted to Chin Chin.

After a long while, Fei started to feel uncertain and disoriented when Quin didn't return to the room.  Though he was a stranger to such emotions, he soon realized he was hit by a wave of loneliness and he wanted to see Quin again.  Whenever he heard people walking by his room, he was hoping it was Quin.  He couldn't understand the longing he had for her; even when his thoughts were filled with questions regarding Chin Chin, there was a yearning deep down for Quin.  And the more he found himself in solitude, the more that yearning grew.  Suddenly, he felt as if his head was spinning and crashing pain jabbed at both sides of his temples.  He screamed and held his head between his arms in an attempt to free himself from the massive penetrating pain. 

Two nurses rushed to him and tried to calm him but he reacted even more violently when they tried to grab hold of his arms.  One of the nurse paged the attending doctors immediately.  Dr. Millard's name was also called over the intercom.  Quin noticed the commotion and quickly returned to Fei's room.  When she entered, he cried out to her for help.

"Ms. Mo!  Don't let them!  I don't want the shot!"  He reached out to her.  "Tell them I don't want it!"  The moment she took his hand, he felt a sense of familiarity and then the pain in his head subsided instantly.  But he didn't tell anyone, of course not!  He was the 'old' Fei, after all.

And so that was how Quin got to spend another 7 minutes in the room with him before she was called to a meeting with the team of specialists who would be there for the next 7 days to help Fei adapt to his new world.  The comfort was that he held onto her hand for the duration of her stay until he fell asleep a few minutes after he calmed down.  This was his first attack episode and the doctors wanted to make sure he slept through the entire night.  And so with Quin's blessing, Dr. Millard administered the shot of valium.
   
While driving home to Redmond, Quin's mind was constantly replaying the 12 minutes she spent with her husband whom she hadn't seen since the early morning of September 11.  She had missed him so much, missed his touch, his voice and his smile.  Though she didn't catch his dimple smile tonight, she found comfort knowing that Lemon-B would welcome her with one when she reached home; the one she was certain their daughter had inherited from Fei. 

Furthermore, Lemon-B would also be greeting her with a pair of eyes that would replace the haughty ones she saw from Fei today.  Whenever she looked into her daughter's eyes, they always reminded her of the man whom she had fallen in love with, married and had a daughter with.  Over the last three months, Lemon-B’s eyes gave her hope when hope was not around.  They gave her strength to see the good in things when good could not be found.  They were always full of love and compassion, as if they could see all the pain she was going through.  When she looked into Lemon-B's eyes, she would see Fei and that kept up her faith in believing he would return to them one day.  She just didn't expect he would make his appearance with their best memories completely vanished from his mind.

Tears were starting to well up at the back of her eyes, she tried to blink them away as a song came on the radio.  Soon enough, she was wiping her tears away from one cheek while tears rushed down her other cheek,  Yet she still found a moment to chuckle at herself, thinking how pathetic she must look with tears rushing down instead of slowly triggering down.  She pictured her emotions like the roaring waves of an ocean to which she could sense a tsunami approaching.  As the song continued to play, Quin could no longer control her feelings from boiling over.  She totally broke down.  She quickly pressed the emergency flash light and pulled her car over to the side of the highway and literally cried her heart out.  Throughout the last three months, she kept up her strong front and of course, stayed away from listening to sad songs as well as depressing movies, especially those with bad endings.  In fact, all she watched were nursery shows and cartoons with Lemon-B.  When her parents wanted to watch those over dramatic TVB 'crying' episodes with lots of bickering, she made them do so in their bedroom.  Though that was disrespectful in the most traditional 'Chinese' sort of way, her Dad and Bui Yee totally understood and did not discredit her for such behaviours.  Soon Bui Yee also gave up on 'chasing' those Chinese shows and watched cartoons with Lemon-B.  Mr. Mo was never into those over dramatized shows anyways.  So everything worked out for the best.

Quin decided to turn the radio off because she needed to steer her feelings away from the sad situation she had to deal with.  Her hopes for Fei in regaining his memory was starting to fade as well.  For at that moment, she had lost faith and she couldn't pick herself up.  She had no more desire in her to pray, to wish, and she didn't want to feel anymore because all she felt was pain.  Then there was the agony in her heart, which was even more painful than the rest of her body.  When she thought of Fei's expression at the mention of Chin Chin, her heart shattered to so many pieces that she was certain even crazy glue would not be able to piece it back again.  That was because she felt her cold stoney heart had been crushed into powder form.  She was at a point where she felt ready to return to dust.  That was how much pain she was in.

While sobbing into the jacket she had originally brought along for Fei, someone knocked on her window pane.  She gave a startled jump and lifted her head and saw two police officers standing next to her window looking at her.  While one of them was flashing his flashlight on the backseat, the other one gestured her to roll her window down and was about to ask her a question when she did so.  But with one look at state of her condition, he held his tongue back.  Then the other officer flashed his flash light on the passenger seat.  The two officers looked at each other when they noticed the Letter-size vanilla envelop from Seattle General Hospital. 

Quin was having a hard time stopping herself from crying, but she didn't care anymore even if she had broken any traffic rules.  She noticed one of the police officer walking back to his cruiser.  A few minutes later, he returned.

"Mame!  I don't really know what you're going through right now, but perhaps you need this more than I do at this time!"  He handed her a CD.  "I like song number three the most!"

With that the two officers returned to their cruiser.  Quin was surprised when they stayed with her on the roadside for another half an hour and then followed behind her to make sure she got home safely.  As she drove home, she listened to the CD and felt a deep sense that somebody bigger than her was watching over her.  Furthermore, song number three gave her strength and courage to place her trust in God again.  She didn't know how, but she knew somehow her God  would make a way for Fei to regain his memories back.

Inside Your Heaven by Carrie Underwood