It has been 3 days since I came to this place of healing. It has been 5 days since your eyes closed. Emma! Wake up please! I have asked my Gods to heal you; they are silent to my prayers and I live in fear that they know something sad and do not wish to tell me. Your Jerome has a look of much sadness on his face. He is a doctor of medicine and knows things I can not begin to understand. I am a scientist. I know facts about so many things. I know secrets of science that mere man will never know but Emma! While I know the way in which the body heals, I do not know what makes the mind work.
What did your eyes see that made your mind shut the door on the world? How did your brain process the impact of that crazed woman who attacked you? Did your mind's eye see a monster in hers? Were her hands like talons when she threw you down the stairs? Did her mouth froth with madness? Jerome took me to the jail so I could see the monster for myself. Her madness is very clever. I did not see the monster; I saw an old woman with Einstein hair and a blank look in her eyes. I saw an old woman with a broken hand and a stooped back. I saw a woman who is only 32 years but who had lived a century in that time. I felt nothing when I saw her. I should be ashamed to say that but I am not. I felt no animosity to her and I felt no pity for her plight whatever that may be. If the rats were to consume her before my very eyes, I would not blink my own. I did not know I could feel nothing for another human being. And there is the crux of the matter as the classic writers say. Perhaps she is not human at all.
I thank my Gods for small blessings. Your bones were broken but they will heal. You did not hurt your head; there was no blood clot in your brain and yet your mind has shut you off from this world. I am a child again - making bargains with the Gods - promises and debts to pay if you would just open your eyes and acknowledge life again. I am a fierce negotiator and would woo and court the very-Chinese-Gods and any and all that they desire if you would but open your eyes.
Emma! This Chinese man needs this not-so-Chinese woman. Please open your eyes!
I must go to my home in New Orleans. I do not want to leave you but I must. My heart is sore and aching and my body worn out from trying to hold my heart in place. It has always been difficult to live with my heart in Pittsburgh but I knew you were in this world so I lived with that absence in my chest. But Emma! If my heart returns to Pittsburgh and you are not in this world and enjoying life, I shall truly perish. I think my body will stay alive; I have familial responsibilities - my two sons and my Mei Ling continue to need me and I will be there for them. I would not want them to live with a shell. I need to be whole for them. I can not be whole if an important part of my soul resides in that dark place where you have gone. Return to me, Emma. I beg of you.
I live again!
I am in the airport hours early because if I do not come now I will find another reason why I should stay by your side. I do not want my sons to grow taller while I am away and I do not want Mei Ling to try to figure out how to pay the bills. She is clever in many ways but American money still confuses her and blank checks are not something she has mastered. It's better I should take care of these matters.
I look up when a hand touches my shoulder and it is a friend of Jerome. He says I should hurry to your side. I did not know I was a marionette. I rushed as if someone manipulated the strings and before I took another solid breath I was at your side and you were sitting up and your eyes were open!
Emma! Everyone laughed. I think it was relief. I saw you and my eyes filled and you saw me and your eyes filled and I held you close to me as I leaned over the bed and our tears joined and made rivers down my shirt and your gown. And you laughed a soft laugh as you felt the thump in my chest as I held you. That was my heart Emma! It made a joyous return to my chest and drummed a joyful noise.
I am grateful to your Jerome for thinking of me. I am grateful that he arranged for me to take another plane that was flying to New Orleans. I am grateful that he allowed us a few moments of precious time together and alone. I only wanted to hold your hand and tell you that I am blessed that you came back to life. I will thank my Gods and yours for this wonderful happening. And if they should ask more I will give it to them for your return to the world was what I prayed for. Your open eyes are my answered prayer. I will humble myself to my Gods for this blessing they have given and I will light many candles to Saint Madeleine as soon as I can visit the Catholic's church.
I think your Jerome will also thank his Gods. He has also given you his heart. I see that in his eyes and I am glad for you that there is another who loves you with the joy of life.
I leave now with your words ringing in my ears. Hold me, you said and I did. I heard your voice in the darkness and I ran to it, you said. You caught me when I fell, you told me. I thank you for this Emma and I go home a humble Chinese man with Gods to thank for the blessing of you.
Your Jerome has called me personally to tell me you are on the mend and that you have picked up your yellow pad again. I am filled with joy to hear that you are writing your wondrous words. The world may be waiting to read your newest story but it is I who will be the happiest to see your name on a book in the window of the bookstore again. Emma! You have written many wonderful tales. My chest is puffed with pride for your skill.
I send this letter with my feet above the ground as I float with joy that you are almost whole again. Stay well, sweet Emma. I will pray to my Chinese Gods. By now I do not think they consider you not-so-Chinese but almost-Chinese.
I send my deeply felt regards to you and to your Jerome.
Your note has filled me with special joy. You will be a mother! Emma! The child of your union with Jerome is a blessing in many ways. It means you are complete in healing and sound again. For that I am joyous beyond words. And a mother! Emma! The child is blessed for you will raise it with great care and much love. Your heart is so loving and giving and your son or your daughter will bask in your joy. The time of your birthing is near Mei Ling's time. She is also blooming with child and all of us, she, I, and our two sons await the child with much anticipation.
I have moved my family into a bigger house. This one has 4 rooms for sleeping! Mei Ling and I sleep in one room with a bath attached to it. My two sons sleep in another and number 3 child will have a room that Mei Ling has devoted as a baby's room. Devoted is an American word she is fond of saying. The reason escapes me but there are so many other American words Mei Ling could have become attached to so I am grateful this is one that is an acceptable one. In the number 4 sleeping room, Mei Ling does "things." She has planted flower seeds in pots that stand in the window frame. She has bits and pieces of cloth in that room and her needles and cutting implements and she also has baskets filled with things that I do not wish to know about. One can only hope they are toys or herbs her mother has shown her how to preserve.
Beyond that, the room is a mystery that only women know about and as such I will respect that it is hers and leave the mystery to her. I think that might be one of those things Chinese men do to preserve peace with the Chinese woman who is the mother of his children and who prepares the meals.
There are 2 more bath rooms - one upstairs and one down stairs. There is a kitchen and a place within it to eat breakfast. Mei Ling does not sit with crossed legs when she breaks the morning fast. My sons do that and when they do it reminds me of you. We eat the evening's meal in a separate room with a table and many chairs. There is also a formal receiving room for guests and a smaller room for hanging coats - what a waste of space. The house has a deck in the front and another in the back and both are nice places to sit in the evening. The yard is big, Emma! So big! I had to hire a man with a mowing machine to keep the yard neat so that Mei Ling will not be embarrassed by untidiness. I think very-old-Chinese women are passionate about clean and tidy.
This Chinese man misses his not-so-Chinese-but-almost-Chinese friend. Be well, Emma. Blossom with child and be happy.
You are delivered! Jerome called me to say that a daughter has been welcomed into your family and that she is a look-in-the-mirror image of you! I will allow my sons to know her only after they have learned to exercise restraint. If they are like me, they will want to hold her in their embrace. My feet lift me high to celebrate your joy.
And I also have a daughter now and she is much like her mother as well as my own mother - two Chinese women that the Gods have graced with beauty and with much patience. And she, like your own, will draw a man to her side when she is older though I shall keep her to myself for as long as I can. Her name is Ling Shou which means beautiful love and she is beautiful and will be much loved. I know she will be spoiled by her mother and her two brothers. As her proud father, I will refrain from spoiling her when people are looking.
I did not think there was a prettier American name than Emma, but Amelia is a beautiful name. It trips on my tongue like ripples and I like it very much. I think it is very-old-world-American and I am glad to know she is named for your good friend and not for Jerome's mother. I fear she is probably not outgrown her unpleasant ways. It has been my very good fortune that I have not had to meet Mei Ling's mother. I have been told that her tongue is sharp like a shark's tooth and her temper rivals poor indigestion.
Our daughters were born within the same 24-hour day. That is auspicious and perhaps one day they, too, will be friends. I thanked my Gods for the healthy birth of your child and of mine. It is a blessing they come into this world with swiftness and the smallest discomfort to their mothers. I am also pleased they have all their parts and appear to be capable of being very proper people.
Please accept this single pearl entwined through a silk ribbon. Please allow Amelia to wear this around her neck when she is formally named by your man of God. Your Gods will bless her as belonging to the "old" and to the "new" and the many Chinese Gods will accept her as one of their own flock and give a care for her all her days.
I wish you a speedy birth recovery.
I was puffed with pride to receive your gift. Ling Shou was bestowed with green jade from my elderly parents. Your gift of red jade, and the white jade that is flecked with gold are gifts we Chinese reserve for the heads of dynasties. I know you know this because I remember telling you the fairy tale stories of my own childhood. Thank you for revering our family with your honored and respectful gift. Mei Ling also sends her thanks and is honored to receive your gift.
My daughter has four eager laps to hold her. Her brothers are swayed by her kicking legs and small laughter. Mei Ling fears she will be covered in red blotches if her soiled linen is not changed within moments and I, her proud father, simply wish to hold her upon my chest and bask in the sweetness of her presence. Often I hold her while I thank the Gods for her in this world and in my life. I have whispered to her of you and your Amelia.
I think of you Emma and I send my friendship and affection. My heart has come back to me in pieces - for my sons and for my daughter and yes also for Mei Ling. A part of it resides in Pittsburgh yet. I know not how to bring all of it back to me.
We prosper and hope you and Jerome and the small mirror image of you prosper as well.