Chapter 41 - Find Us Faithful

Quin looked into her husband’s weary eyes.  She could see the struggles he was dealing with in his head and his need for her to believe him.  She gave a chuckle and pinched his nose.  “I know sometimes you act like a clown, but we’re not going to send you to a mental hospital because of that!”

Dr. Anderson was amused over Quin’s admiration for her husband.  When Fei turned to him, he gave a shrug and gestured his head upwards.  Then the doctor put up his hands as to surrender.  “Hey, don’t look at me!  If God can make the shadow go backwards 10 steps, who are we to say you are hallucinating.”

Fei finally relaxed.

“Plus, you are a walking miracle.  Don’t think anyone would dispute anything you say in that matter!”  Dr. Anderson continued as he continue to write on his notepad.
Two days after Christmas, Ah Man noticed something was off between Nathaniel and Chin Chin.  Everyone had asked Nathaniel to eat breakfast before driving back to Canada.  But he just took one look at Chin Chin and decided to make his exit without another word.

While helping with the dishes after dinner, Ah Man brought up something that had troubled her since she met Chin Chin that first time in the elevator back in 1999.

“Should I tell her about her brother?”

Quin looked Ah Man in the eyes.  “Did she ask you?”  When Ah Man shook her head, Quin asked.  “Then why tell her?”

“Every time I see her, I feel really bad for what my Dad did to her brother.”

“Then get over it!  Tell yourself not to feel bad!”  Quin spoke in a matter-of-fact tone.  “You’re not responsible for something your Dad did, so why take his guilt?”

Ah Man was taken aback by Quin’s statement.  She placed the last plate in the overhead cupboard and kept quiet.

Quin turned the water tap off and grabbed the drying towel.  She could tell Ah Man was offended by her answer.  She gave her a grin and asked.  “Are you mad at me?”

Ah Man thought about her own pathetic behavior.  Then she gave a surrendering sigh.  “Who can be mad at you?”

“Hmm…..why are you so moody?  Are you…?”  Quin’s eyes turned wide with excitement.

Knowing exactly what Quin was hinting at, Ah Man blurted quickly.  “No!”  Then her smile turned into blushing.  “Well, I don’t know.  I mean it’s only been a week late.”  Then Quin started smiling and shaking her head.  “Hey, don’t change the subject about Chin Chin!  This is important to me.  It’s been bugging me all these years.”

“Well, you tell me.  Would telling her make you any happier that this had happened?  Would it change anything?”  Quin looked at Ah Man.  “Telling Chin Chin how her brother died might traumatize her.  And your friendship with her might be dampened.  If she really wants to know, she would ask.”

“Yes, but isn’t it a terrible thing to keep the truth from someone?”  Ah Man asked.

“Only if that truth will set the person free!  But she is free right now.  Plus she might not be able to handle the truth.”  Quin gave Ah Man a push of assurance on her shoulder.  “You know the truth and it is not setting you free.  You need to let go of it.  That’s what I mean by get over it.”

Ah Man gave out a dejected sigh because she knew Quin was right all along.  “So you don’t think she is unhappy the whole day because of me?”

“Huh?!”  Quin was surprised Ah Man had such thought.  “Of course not!  She’s upset about something else entirely.”

“Really?”  Ah Man gasped.  “Is she mad at Nathaniel?”

“I am not at liberty to say anything.”  Quin made a zip up gesture with her hand across her lips.
Fei took Chi Shan to the golf driving range near his home in Redmond on the afternoon of New Year’s Eve.  After showing Chi Shan the basic swings, Fei left him to practice on his own.  After he had gone thru his first bucket of range balls, Fei watched Chi Shan swing his club with force.

“It’s all about the rhythm and flow, not force, my friend!”  Fei shared his secret.  He demonstrated another swing for Chi Shan who was admiring how far in distance Fei was able to hit the golf ball.  His swing seemed effortless to Chi Shan.

“Easier said than done!”  Chi Shan said after watching another ball fly off the rubber tee.

“Seriously, if you use force, you won’t hit it far at all.”  Fei gestured to Chi Shan to watch the man in the stall next to him.  The man was swinging his club as if he was whacking a large rug and venting out his anger.  After he swung, his entire body almost went forward as if he was about to fall flat on his face.

Chi Shan tried to stifle his laughter.  Fei had no trouble keeping a straight face, he never did.  Besides his wife and daughter, not many people could make him laugh.  “See what I mean.  No need for force!”

“When did you pick up golf anyways?”  Asked Chi Shan.

“At Quantico!  Every other day, my teammates took me to the range to practice.”  Fei turned around to look at Chi Shan.  “I find playing golf very much like life.  It’s a mind game and you really need to focus.  Just when you think you can do well, the next thing you know, you can really screw up!  So there is no guarantee, you just have to keep going and not lose your focus.  And nothing in life can be forced.”

“Just like relationships!”  Chi Shan added.

“Yes, like I said.  Just when you think everything is fine, life can throw you a curve ball!  But we still have to stay focus.  Try to do our best on the holes we haven’t played and there may be a chance we can still finish the game well.  But if we keep thinking about how badly we did for the holes we already played, it really screw up our minds and we lose focus!” 

He hit another good shot and then turned to face Chi Shan.  “When you are in the middle of a game, you can’t change the scores for the holes you’ve already played.  But you can make a difference with the ones you haven’t played.  Just have to focus on what you know will work.”

When Chi Shan finished his bucket of range balls, he sat at the bench and watched Fei hit the remaining range balls.

“Will you and Quin be coming back to Hong Kong?”  Chi Shan asked when Fei was taking a short break in between swings.

“My supervisor mentioned some Intel projects in Asia and Europe after the New Year.  He’s still trying to decide which would be the best team to send.”  Fei took a few practice swings. 

“You like your job?”  Asked Chi Shan.

Fei held back his answer to swing and hit the ball with his driver. ‘Ping!’ He was satisfied with his shot.  He turned to look at Chi Shan who gave him two thumbs up.  Then Fei noticed his friend was waiting for his answer.  “Yeah, I do.  The job really suits me. You know I am more of an introvert.  As long as I don’t mind being behind the scene!  It’s also good being low profile!”

Chi Shan didn’t quite understand his grin.  “What do you mean?”

Fei didn’t want to offend anyone who could hear their conversation, so he approached Chi Shan.  “No matter how smart you are, or how hard you work here, we, Asians, will always reach a plateau.”  He made an even level line across with his hand.  “Being an immigrant, you’re always going to be second-class citizen, especially those with an accent.”

“Is that how Quin feels?”  Chi Shan wondered.

“She is different, she’s a semi-banana!”  Fei chuckled as he thought about his wife and daughter. “And Lemon-B will probably end up being Vanilla Ice-Cream.”

Chi Shan laughed.  “Then she’ll be like Snow White and there’ll be 7 dwarfs following her all the time.  That will keep you busy!”

Fei hit the last range ball and came to sit down next to Chi Shan on the bench.  After gobbling down half a bottle of water, he said.  “I hope not, if she becomes Snow White, it means she’s going to have a step-mother!”

An hour after the 2002 arrived in Redmond Washington, Quin and Fei were finally able to call it a day, or a year, for that matter.  By that time, the Open Skies Mutual Surveillance Treaty was officially in forced.  This was the reason Fei had to return to his office early that morning, while his family and friends were still sound asleep, so he and his ICI team could monitor the events as soon as the new year came.  Also Euro banknotes and coins became legal tender in the twelve states that joined the European Union.  Fei wondered how that was going to impact the world in the near future.  He had his thoughts, but he decided to wait and see how politics and power would play itself out.  And for Asia, the World Trade Organization officially added Taiwan as Chinese Taipei.

As he watched the late evening news in bed with his wife before the New Year arrive in his part of the world, his thoughts brought him a few years back when he was in Taiwan when he was there investigating a murder case.  He thought of his cousin, May, who immigrated to Australia and was settling very well there.  He thought about the husband and still-born child that she lost.

Quin’s movement in bed brought his thoughts back to his own family.  He felt so very grateful to have been spared on that fateful day.  Yet he wondered about the boy and his mother on September 11th.  Somewhere deep in his heart, he could still feel a connection to them.  He couldn’t understand his feelings, but he strongly believed they were not just a figment of his imagination.  But for the life of him, no matter how hard he tried, he could not remember what they looked like.  He couldn’t even remember their ethnic background.  And when he reached out to hold Quin’s hand, the connection got even stronger.

Quin could see her husband’s gratefulness in his eyes when he squeezed her hand.  She smiled and gave him a peck on his lips.  “I am thankful that I am not a widow and Lemon-B is not an orphan.  Thank you for fighting to stay alive for us!”

Fei pulled her hand up to his lips and kissed the back of her palm.  “You know, we are all travelers of the narrow road.  Some have traveled down this road before us.  Now we are just following their steps.  I just hope our children will find our footprints so they can follow too.”

Quin gave him a grin and smiled brightly at him.  “Hmm. You sound like me now!  That coma must have done your brain some good, knocked some sense into that thick skull of yours.”

He gave her a Mona-Lisa smile.  “Yes, we can’t take life for granted.” 

“I agree!”  Quin said.

Fei continued.  “I got an inspiration and a premonition today.”

“What was the inspiration?”

“That Lemon-B was no accident at all.  She was a divine intervention.”  Then he gave a sigh.  “But being kept alive from Ground Zero made me wonder why I was spared.  Do you ever wonder what your purpose in life is?” 

Quin nodded.  “Yes, all the time!  I don’t think I can handle being called to do something that will make a mark in history.  But I would like to think I’m only required to live my life to its fullest abundance.  You know, be faithful to you and devoted to raising our daughter.”

Fei nodded with a contemplating smile and looked towards the crib at the sleeping Lemon-B.

Quin followed his gaze and asked. “So our daughter was the inspiration.  What was the premonition?”

Fei chuckled.  “Not really a premonition.  It was just something Chi San said.”  Fei kissed her hand again.  “Just promise me you won’t turn our daughter into Snow White.”

Quin furrowed her brows.  She didn’t understand what he was trying to say.  “What do you mean?  You don’t want our daughter to be fair and pretty?  You want her to have a dark tan like you?”

With that, Fei pretended to be offended and decided to punish her with tickles.  Then one thing led to another and the rest was just too embarrassing to describe.  Why?  Because when Fei lifted his head from the flat sheet that was covering their naked bodies, he saw Lemon-B sitting up in her crib sucking her thumb.  Though it was dark, he had a feeling she was gazing at them.

“Quin, we’ve got to get Lemon-B back to her room!”  He whispered to Quin.  “I think she might need therapy if she saw what her parents just did!”

“Ma Ma!” Lemon-B started to clap her hands.  “Da Da!”  Then the baby rolled over and pulled her blanket over her head and made a sound very similar to what the adults said to her whenever she misbehaved.  “Ya-eye Ya-eye!”  (曳曳)

Find Us Faithful by Steve Green