This is the month of your birth, nearer to the beginning than the end of the moon's cycle but whenever September happens I see you in my mind's eye and I am filled with Emma! I send you the blue bells and the blue hyacinths and the blue asters and the blue cornflowers. I know you love blue flowers and I love them because they remind me of you and the sweetness that resides in your soul.
Emma! I miss you.
I do not call you for fear the longing I have for you will travel into telephone lines and make the Gods jealous. I take nothing from them in my love for you but Gods are a mystery to understand sometimes and I am mere man and would not tempt them more than I do each morning.
I lit a candle to Saint Madeleine in the Catholic's church. She gives me peace. A Catholic man of the cloth approached me and asked if I prayed to the saint. I explained that I felt closer to a special friend when I was in her presence. He smiled at me and told me that I was not of his religious following. Do you think my non Catholic status showed upon my face?
My sons ask to see you again and also Amelia and Ling Shou has asked if you would be her mother. I confess her words tore me into pieces. Ling Shou only has small memories of Mei Ling but she sees your picture on the backs of all your books on our shelves. She has known you since her birth and includes you in her prayers for our family. She tells our Gods of her Aunt that lives far away and asks blessings for you and Amelia. She does not ask for Jerome only because she does not know him.
I have become totally American. I know this will surprise you but I have given in to my daughter and bought her a puppy and a kitten. Both will be the death of me. The puppy has no manners and thinks the inside of the house is suitable for activities that were meant to remain outside. I will not be boorish and explain further. The kitten believes that the curtains and the furniture are there so that it may sharpen its claws. I may commit an unspeakable sin and roast them for dinner. I hope I can cover them in enough plum sauce to disguise their taste.
Neither of my sons is happy about these animals. Both wanted a talking parrot - something I could not tolerate. It is a sorry state as it is to have my children tell me how old-world I am. I do not need a bird to add words and high shrieks to their commentary.
I await your new book with joy and anticipation but I know you await my words on the book that you wrote that seemed to be of me and of you. I have paused in thought before I tell you my feelings. I fear I may jump at straws and be mistaken in my feelings about your words. I know you also wonder why I have not said much about our few days together last month. Again I pause before I write words that may leap at me on the page, leap at you and scare you away from me. I have not been hesitant in my words in the past but now you know I have warm feelings for you and have spoken them. I do not want to compound the situation with ill chosen words.
I ask you to be patient when I am not one to have any. I do penance and ask my Gods to bless Jerome with long life and a healthy body so that they know I do not ask more than what I deserve although I want more of you.
I painted a picture of you - do you remember? I was yet a student - so many years ago - I took it out and sat with it today. You have not changed much Emma. You were a beauty then and the years have brought even more beauty to your face and form. Ling Shou, the joy of my days came in and sat with me and for such a one as she - young in years - she has an old and wise soul.
She said to me that when you and I are old and frail and ready to move to our next life - that we would be united then. I do not question my child. She has the look of my ancestors in her face and I behold her words with much tolerance and some small belief. Let it be so!
I miss you Emma.
I have read your special book that tells the tale of the Chinese man and the not-so-Chinese woman. I have read it three times and each time I absorb your words I am filled with cherish and love for you. More even than I had. When my emotions lay open on my face my English skills sink into holes I did not know were there. I am reduced to thinking in Chinese and can not find the easy translation even with a book of Chinese and English words.
In your story you have made the Chinese man so-very-Chinese and I think I thank you for that although I am taller than most Chinese men. I like to think I am patient like your hero but my Gods would tell you different. Your hero's woman is grace as are you and she has a touch of shyness as do you. But she has less strength than you I think. When I think of you I think of the quiet strength of women every where. My mother and her mother and before their time were women who held the family together. They were women who fed their children when food was hard to find and kept them warm when necessary. China had women warriors too but our culture does not like to air that fact with our enemies. They are the secret weaponry - stalwart behind their men.
I like the way your characters met - over a shared table at a coffee shop in a bookstore. You and I know it was hamburgers and much root of beer that we enjoyed. Ahhh Emma! I laugh at the words they exchange - so you and so me together in our early days. Had I but known. I would have grabbed you up and taken you with me to whatever the fates may have had in store. My Gods would have been so shocked to see you at morning prayers and I can only hope so very pleased with you when they saw your have so-much-Chinese in you.
Chinese is not so much looks and genetics as it is what lives in your heart and in your ancient soul and yours is very old and wise Emma. I like to think that is why you and I are friends. Have I told you in this letter that I miss you? My arms ache to hold you close and my heart is weary of Pittsburgh. I have sad moments in my life living without my complete heart. I need you Emma.
I thank you for the happy ending. I expected them to part lives and be without each other but you twisted their fate and brought them together for the fairy tale once upon a time and ending happily ever after. I send you love and warm arms to hold you in my embrace.
Think of me,
Our days in the sun and Manhattan's towers went by too swiftly. The ride from the airport is a whirl of rushing wind as I held you close to me. The ride was too short. I could have held you until the taxi car ran out of gas, was filled, and we ended up on the New Jersey shore. The hotel was so out of the way and cozy and I was pleased we had adjoining rooms. I watched you while we walked. Did you know your face was glowing when you saw your books in bookstore windows? The sales person was sure he recognized you and I laughed knowing he would remember when he dusted his window display.
The old French country restaurant near Broadway was a treat. Thank you for showing it to me. I fear the cook thought we ate too much but we talked and laughed and time went swift as we ate all the food she presented. It was good.
Night time in Manhattan is magic with you Emma. You see things I never see - is that your writer's eye? The evening has the taste of winter coming and I would welcome it more if I knew I could keep an eye on your face shining in the sun while snow fell. When I was a boy I remember hiking up a mountain side with a school girl from my village. Her hair was dark like yours and her eyes were filled with sun as we climbed. I said a quiet prayer then and there that I hoped my future love would be like that. You are like that and more.
Emma! You are a gift to me. I would have loved you when you were a child. The look of you when we visited the Bronx Zoo was every child's delight. And the food you ate! You eat a lot! Ice cream and popcorn and corn dogs and of course, much root of the beer. Corn dogs is a foolish name - no corn at all. Your appetite is astounding! Yet you are slender. I think many ladies would have a taste of green if they saw what you put into your mouth and never get too round. Has a doctor ever examined you to make sure you have a stomach? No matter. I love you as you are.
We were weary from our day and we rested together before dining out though I would never have believed you could eat again! I sat in the chair near your bed and watched you in your home of sleep. Again I marvel at the sweet sight of you in slumber. It tugs at me and I find myself with eyes on you memorizing your breath - each and every one. Emma! You are beautiful and my heart sings glorious sounds when it beholds you. Jerome must be exhausted every night. How can he close his eyes when you are beside him?
Time marches too fast when we are together. It drags slowly the rest of the time except when I am with my children. They are a joy to me and I have a father's pride in their successes. Both sons will be tall like me and Ling Shou may grow taller than most Chinese women. She is losing some baby fat which saddens me because I want to keep her for myself for a long time yet. My joy will change when she shows her true beauty but I hope that will not attract a man to her side for a long time. It is joy to watch them grow and hard knowing they will leave the nest and I wonder how my parents did that.
There was a strange peace at morning prayer with you at my side. My Gods did not seem surprised at your presence. I think they have come to accept you in my life. They do not censure me while you are there. Perhaps they wait until I am home again. I do not think they noticed that you ate cheerios while I had tea for them.
Emma! You have beautiful feet. Have I made the pink come to your cheeks? Your feet are delicate with a high arch and you have red toenails! I did not know that was a beautiful part of a woman and you have so much beauty I am undone when I behold you. In our next life I will kiss the high arch of each foot and now I have made the pink come to my cheeks as well.
Spending days with you is like a vacation. You fill me with much laughter and I wait with holding breath while you tickle my brain. And my heart is my own and full with you by my side. I confess the morning sun is glory to behold when I share it with you. The evening is a sweetness with you in my embrace. Your head on my shoulder - your breath on my neck - your kiss on my cheek.
I send warm feelings to you and hope your dreams are sweet.