Your letter at Christmas and many packages came to our house as a big surprise. I read the letter and then read it to Mei Ling. Thank you for including her in your many words. The toys for the children were too many; you spoil them and they love you without knowing how loving you are. I hope you will meet them before they are all grown. The beautiful silk you sent to Mei Ling and the silk scarf are treasures to her. How did you know she would love them? She sends thanks from her heart and her heart is a good one.
And white jade for my shirt sleeve ends? Emma! I shall treasure them each time I wear them and thank my Gods for the friendship of you.
I think of you with warmth.
I stand like the silent wolf in winter's snow watching you. It is spring but in my heart of hearts, it will always be winter's cold when I look at you and know that you are not mine to embrace. Pieces of my heart reside within me but most of it remains in Pittsburgh. Perhaps I am not a wolf at all but a bear waking from hibernation and seeing you, I am filled with a hunger that is so painful I think I could die from longing.
What a burden to say those words to you. I long for what I can not have and yet, I have much in my life. My little family is a beautiful joy and I shall do penance to my Gods lest they think this Chinese man is ungrateful for my many blessings.
You do not know I am here and you do not see me in the crowd at the big bookstore on Manhattan Island. I have come to speak to a group of scientists and hope to woo one or more to my university department. I follow your steps as a writer and saw in the New York newspaper book section that you were signing your new book this morning for your readers. That must be a wonderful feeling and yet I wonder how soon your hand will tire from writing good wishes.
You are very beautiful, Emma. You are smiles and sweet words to all who come before you. I know this because everyone smiles back at you. Smiles are good things. Treasure them and store them in your mind so you can pluck them later when you need to remember some happiness. I pluck your smile to my eyes often. It sustains me.
And so my turn came and I stepped up and you looked up at me to ask my name so you could write in my book and I think the world faded when you saw it was me. My heart bounced in from Pittsburgh and left me without words to even say your name. My breath forgot to come to me and left my body empty. It was good luck that my lungs remembered their part and I inhaled much oxygen and almost choked.
Your smile, Emma. Your smile touched me deep inside and my body ached with a sudden need. You gave me your hand and your eyes - was I mistaken? Were your eyes hungry as you looked at me? I heard silence as we embraced and I whispered that you are beautiful. You said the words I wanted to hear. Hold me, you said and I did.
Did I do some terrible thing when I was a child? Am I blessed with small joys and a sweet life but will forever be without heaven because you are not my own? I say words to you I should not say. There are times this Chinese man wishes he had less honor. Then I could have forsaken my family vows and my parents' wishes and - and I dream of what might have been. Forgive me, Emma. I can not forgive myself. Mei Ling and my 2 sons are gifts from Chinese Gods and I am an ungrateful Chinese man.
I am grateful also for the joy of seeing you again. Please let a man into your life who will love you strong and be good to you. I would like to know there is that kind of happiness for you.
It is the day of your union to Jerome. I wish you happiness and joy and much love and many strong and healthy children. I am glad he has his own money and will not depend on yours. The picture of your home is a beautiful one. Premium Point is an enclosed neighborhood - I looked it up. I am glad it is on the water. You always write about the waters of the world in your books. You did not tell me if Jerome drinks root of the beer but no matter.
I asked my Gods to guide Jerome to treat you gently and with much respect. I asked that they gift him with unending patience for a wife is like a budding lotus - delicate and lovely on the outside and you Emma, have an inner strength but it is essential that you keep it hidden until you need it. Lean on Jerome for much; a man should be strong for the woman who holds his heart.
I will keep you in my daily prayers and in my memory I will treasure every moment of our times together.
Your new book arrived today. Soon I will build more shelf space for them. You have written so many pages and I have read and kept in my mind all of them. I am in awe that you spin words around and around so that they bless each other and paint pictures that I can not do even with my paintbrushes. Did I tell you that I buy your books in the paper back form to sit next to the large hard book cover editions you send me? When I seek a special passage of your words I flip through the small books but when I want to immerse myself in you - I hold the hard book cover to my chest and listen to your voice in my ear as I read the words you wrote. Then and only then my heart stops by for a brief visit. It is much accustomed to Pittsburgh.
I am happy to hear that Jerome is making you happy. You deserve this happiness and I thanked my Gods for his care of you. His mother does not sound like a woman of sweetness. I hope you will forgive her words. Mothers often believe no one is good enough for their sons and I am thinking more American now and believe she has green in her head when she looks at you. The jealousy of the Gods is a thing of awe but the jealousy of a mother's love for her sons is a dragon with fire. It is my belief you will have that kind of feeling for your own sons some day.
My sons grow taller. Number one son is in school and brings much joy when he speaks of how he spent his day. He will bring honor to our family. Number two son is a small terror running through the house with a bathing towel on his back as if he were a super person with superior gifts. Between you and me only, his shouts and cries sound very much like a banshee monkey but I do not say this to his mother for she believes the child is perfect. It is my feverish wish that he will outgrow this phase and grow into a proper Chinese person.
Mei Ling has been drinking secret spices in her tea so that the Gods will not bless her with another child for a while. She is tired of changing soiled linen on babies. I have not the heart - my heart stays in Pittsburgh - to tell her that the Gods have little to do with the growing of children in a woman's womb. It is best she believes her old-world-Chinese beliefs that the Gods grant children to us. It is true the Gods have much to do with blessings but as a scientist, the subject of DNA and genetics and chromosomes and reproductive organs and sperm and ova are not topics of discussion between a new-world Chinese man and an old-world-Chinese woman. I do not wish to give her distress and say nothing when she drinks her tea.
I confess my colleague who is not-so-Chinese but very-much-French has said that women can swallow certain herbs that will prevent ova from allowing sperm to penetrate. Imagine that! I am impressed. Perhaps my old-world-Chinese wife knows of these things from her mother. I have told her that I am content with my two sons and would welcome a sweet daughter into our family. I do not ask you if you and Jerome will add to your family. I do ask you to rejoice in your happiness and wish you much success with the books that are still in your head and not yet out there for others to read.
I think of you Emma and wish much for you.
I am here, sweet Emma. I am in the private family's room waiting for my turn to spend 5 minutes with you. I have never been in a hospital that looks like this. It is very old world rich looking. I am grateful to your agent for calling me. I took the first airplane that was flying this way when I heard the news of your accident.
I have met your Jerome. He was pleasant to me and expressed a thanks from his heart that I came to see you. For that attitude of his I am grateful. I met his mother. She was not born in the year of the dragon, sweet Emma. I fear she was born in the year of the rat but I say no more. She is an unpleasant creature.
I am glad your Jerome is a physician. He explained the care you are receiving and in layman's terms, told me all that had happened to you. Your bones will heal. I know this to be true. Your memory I do not guarantee but will ask my Gods and yours to give it back to you when they allow you to wake from your long sleep.
Emma! Please forgive this Chinese man. My eyes drank in the sight of you and leaked tears onto your hand. My heart thumped into my throat. It has been so long in Pittsburgh that when it returned, it forgot where it belonged in my chest. I choked trying to get a breath past the lump it made in my throat. I hold your hand in mine and tell you the words I have kept inside me - words this Chinese man with wife and two sons should not say to a not-so-Chinese woman with a husband. I go now to wait for my next 5 minute turn with you.
It is a long wait to see you again and I spend that time remembering the moments we spent in each other's company. I tell Jerome some joyous moments that made me laugh. He laughs at my words and tells me joyous time with you that make my mouth curve into smiles. We try to make each other happy with words of you. You have many friends who visit to ask of you and many gardens have been stripped of flowers to be gathered into bouquets for your enjoyment. Can you smell them, Emma? Please open your eyes and rejoice in their beauty.
I grow old and become ancient while I wait to have my time with you again and when the door closed behind my back, I rushed to the side of your bed and I leaned over you and put my arms around you. I held you close to my chest and I whispered in your ear. It is I, Kyou, I said and you must open your eyes and be Emma again. I told you I alone can not consume all the root of beer and hamburgers and that you must help me. I told you that you have words others must read. And I told you that my heart is only mine when you are well. And my eyes flowed onto your neck and your brow and I did not care if others should chance to know that. I could not bear life if you were not in it even at a distance and in someone else's embrace. Wake up, Emma!
There is no sunrise without you.