Emma!
Part Nine
by sarAdora

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5 March,
Dear Emma,

It has been almost two years since our daughters were born. Number 2 son was a whirlwind in our life when he was that age. Ling Shou is not a whirlwind but she is an entity that lets each of us know that she is not to be disappointed in all that she wants. Her brothers give her whatever is in their power; her mother spoils her and I, of course, make her wait to get what she wants. I fear the waiting of 30 seconds on my watch may not teach her patience. She had a tempest temper when she did not get her way this morning and kicked me, her wonderful and loving father! I held her hand tight to my own and admonished her ill behavior. Emma! She cried real tears and I was undone! I fail as a disciplinarian and thought about what my father would have done. He would have given her over to my mother who would have filled her mouth with dim sum so she could not continue her tempest. And when she was filled with good food she would tire and close her eyes.

Mei Ling told her it was not wise to make me sad or disappointed, that fathers were hard to come by. I think that is another American phrase Mei Ling is fond of. Hard to come by - I am not sure what that means but I will bring Ling Shou a sweet treat when I come from work today. I see now why sons are so revered; daughters take more time and much patience and many sweet treats.

I send her picture with this letter so you can see that she looks like a very proper Chinese daughter. Do not be deceived, Emma! Ling Shou is a sweet purring cat when she is content and a creature that could not possibly be of my blood when she is not content. I have asked my Gods to sweeten her temper as she grows taller.

I long to see you again.

Kyou

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7 May
Dear Emma,

I marvel at the picture you have sent. Amelia on your lap - I would know her in a mass of gathered people. She is you. Looking at her likeness to you, I am filled with a quick stab of the green devil. I think you and I would have born beautiful daughters. Jerome is much blessed and you should tell him that on many occasions.

Thank you for sending your new book. It is a masterpiece of literature just the way I always dreamed for you. And in the New York newspapers that I read with frequency your book is on the list of the very best to be read. I tell Mei Ling that I knew you before your number 1 book was printed and that you and I drank root of the beer together and ate hamburgers with pickles. Mei Ling does not understand why they are called hamburgers and frankly, neither do I. She honors me and she honors you when your new books come to our house. She opens a root of the beer so that she and I can say glad things in honor of your new contribution to literature. I am humbled that she respects the friendship of you and I.

I send thanks and warm feelings.

Kyou

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24 December
Dear Emma,

It is the day of the Christ child. My small family and I visit the Catholic's church to listen to the songs that are sung for this occasion. They are beautiful and I notice that the melody of some bring tears to many eyes and yet they bring much gladness as well. It fills my heart to see joy when these Catholic Christians sing of their God. That is a good thing. We do not have a tree in our house for this holy day but we do exchange thoughts for each other and Mei Ling prepares sweet dim sum for us. Some of it is filled with honey and some sweet meats and others are filled with walnuts and currants. Both are very welcome on the tongue.

Number 1 son saw one of your books in the public library. We have the same one on our shelf at home and he was filled with a great need to share that information to the library lady. She was most impressed when she learned that I know you since before your first book was printed. She told my son that it is a small world. In that she is not completely accurate but it is of good fortune that my son did not tell her otherwise. He is learning to show respect for his elders which I think he associates with height. If the person is taller than he, they are old. It is also good fortune that he does not know any of the Harlem Globe Trotters for they are very tall and he would think them much too old to play with baskets and balls.

I wish many happy times for you and yours at this holiday, Emma. I ask my Gods to allow us to see each other again. I hope the New Year will bring us together.

Kyou

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7 April
Dear Emma,

I write this letter in my office at the university. My department has grown and we have many new professors and they are a group of intelligent men and women and astound me with their knowledge. I am puffed with pride to be the one that chairs their meetings and sharing of knowledge.

I saw you on a television show this morning. It was early and I had not yet drunk my tea and there you were in all your beauty. Emma! Being a mother makes you glow with a special light. When we first met I thought you more than pretty but as you have moved forward in your life you have come into your beauty and I am in appreciation that the laws of nature and genetics have gifted you so well. Your Jerome must be filled with satisfaction when he looks upon your face and form and that of your child who favors you.

Your new book is a wonderful arrangement of words Emma. I walk with your characters. I see them in turmoil and conflict. I see them while they sort out their lives and I hear their voices as I read the words you have given them. I smile to myself when I read that she likes many pickles on her hamburgers and he enjoys the occasional root of the beer. I am filled with gladness that you and I share a few memories that are known to us alone. I read those words and it is like getting a private hug from you.

I long to hold you in my embrace and have my heart whole once again even if just for the duration of a hug.

Warm thoughts,

Kyou

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11 October
Dear Emma,

Tomorrow I go to China to visit my childhood family. I have not seen my father and mother in many years and I want them to know my children before they pass on to the next plane. Mei Ling desires that I meet her father and mother also. I am not filled with joy to do this but I will so that there is harmony in our house. My children are excited that they will meet their grandparents and number 1 son wants to ask my father if I was a not-so-proper person when I was much shorter.

I will write more when we arrive and I have watched the sun rise over my father's house.

This Chinese man sends affection to a not-so-Chinese woman.

Kyou

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2 November
Dear Emma,

I am a child again in my mother's house. The smells from the kitchen make my mouth water and my feet wander in that direction. I say nothing but sit at my mother's work table and she puts dim sum in my hands and in an instant they go into my mouth to be relished with all the joy I remember from the time of my youth. I eat until I think I will explode from the stomach out. My children sit near me and are also silent as she feeds them. The joy on her face to have us there is beyond my ability to say in words. I am glad we are here.

The province has changed since I left. There are more concrete buildings and better roads. Not so many cows and buffalo are in the village. The village is more a small town now and is filled with more shops in which to leave one's coin. Mei Ling has given many coins to all of them. My childhood home was the biggest and most modern in our village when I left. It is still that way. My father made many changes and the home of my youth would look like it belonged in the Garden District of New Orleans even now. I am proud of my father for changing with the times and not clinging to all of the old. He still prays every morning and I have joined him in thankful prayer to our Gods. It is with joy I greet them on Chinese soil.

I regret to say that I have met Mei Ling's mother and she is as fierce and unpleasant as I had heard. I wonder if it is possible that somewhere in history she is related to Jerome's mother? Her temper is at best vile and at worst unspeakable. I say no more for I do not want to sour my mouth or stomach. I am blessed that Mei Ling favors the temper of sweeter ancestors.

I think of you,

Kyou

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1 December
Dear Emma,

I am so puffed with pride that my feet have left the ground and refuse to bring me back to firm terra. I took my sons to the city and number 2 son grabbed my hand in a sudden instant and pointed! There, in the window of a large bookstore, your latest book! Emma! There was a pile of books - different titles - a sign under some said "English," under others "Chinese." Both signs were in Chinese of course. Number 1 son expanded his lungs and told all who passed that the books were written by HIS Aunt Emma! Did you hear him? He spoke loud enough to cause much agreeable laughter on the streets.

We went to a small restaurant to eat the mid day meal and raised our cups of tea in celebration of you. I wonder now how many languages your books have graced? I am filled with joy that you are you and in my life.

Kyou

~ End Part Nine ~

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