“I can’t go to a friend and say to him, ‘your wife is crazy’, can I?” Pan, the husband, says.
“You need to point out to him to get his wife some psychiatric help. At first I thought she’s just peculiar and now she is getting worse. Last week, out of blue she invited me over. When I arrived, she was sitting in her car on the drive way with her kids with her. When I approached, she accused me of coming to abduct her kids and called the police.” Pammy, the wife, says.
“She doesn’t have good eyesight. She probably mistook you for a stranger.” Pan says. “We have enough family problems of our own. Can you give me a break? I come back home at night for a rest, not to concern myself with other people’s wife.”
Pan and Pammy, the perpetually loving and arguing couple, are talking about Pan’s best friend Tsang and his wife Jasmine.
“You know Tsang is not nice to Jasmine. He even ridicules her in front their three kids and other people. You are Tsang’s best friend. You must know.” Pammy says.
“Tsang is a little temperamental, but he is a very responsible husband and works very hard. Anything happen in a family, the husband gets the blame. That’s not fair. Remember our 911 incident? Many people are short fused, but I don’t see their spouses go crazy. You can’t blame Jasmine’s craziness on Tsang.” Pan says.
The 911 incident happened a year ago on a Sunday. Both Pan and Pammy were at home. Their son little Sam and his friend played with the phone and called 911 for no reason at all. A policeman showed up and would not leave until he made sure Pan didn’t hit anybody. Pan was very frustrated that he became the automatic suspect. Pammy had to cook a week of Pan’s favorite rice cakes and made two extra pots of homemade rice wine to help him recover his self assurance.
“Tsang refuses to give Jasmine any money to buy clothes and makeup. Jasmine has to sneak out to do waitressing from time to time, just to have some cash in hand. Tsang makes very good money as an analyst in Wall Street and he is so mean to her.” Pammy says.
“You can’t just listen to the wife’s story. They must have some prior incidents. Probably one time Jasmine bought too much clothes and makeup and her husband got angry. The problem with you, honey, is that you are very quick in jumping to the conclusion. Have you talked with Tsang about this? No. Of course not. You just listen to a one-sided story Jasmine told you and start to treat Tsang as a jerk.” Pan says.
“I missed our old days together when they only have one kid. They should have stopped then and there, but Jasmine is a loving mother and wants to have a lot of kids. Most Asians only have one kid now and I’ve never seen anybody else have three kids like them. I guess Ben, the youngest, adds a lot of stress too. The doctor said Ben is never going to walk normally or have an intelligence more than a three-year-old. Jasmine can’t have a job anymore after having Ben. I used to think they have the perfect life, but…” Pammy says.
“Can we stop worry about other people’s life?” Pan says. “Your mind is taking care of too many things. It is scattered all over the place. If you have time, can you worry about our life, please? We haven’t had a homemade dumpling meal for a month and the rice wine is running out.”
“Are you going to talk with Tsang or not?” Pammy insists.
“That’s ridiculous. I already told you. Tsang is going to punch me if I told him his wife is mad.” Pan says.
“OK, I am going to make an appointment for Jasmine and drive her to a psychiatrist myself.” Pammy threatens.
“You do no such thing. That’s even more ridiculous. Tsang is a very traditional man. He still thinks like a simple nerdy scientist who only knows how to make math models. He doesn’t understand the rigamaroles of a modern life. He is very proud. It will be a big damage to his self image if his wife is mentally ill. Also Tsang is going to think I ask you to drive her to a crazy doctor without telling him. I value our friendship a lot and I don’t want to lose a friend like him. He’s responsible, reliable, and smart.” Pan says.
“Not smart enough to realize his wife is ill. And this weekend we will go to Tsang’s for his birthday. Are we going to continue to pretend everything is OK?” Pammy asks.
“Let me think of something. Don’t give me so much pressure. I wonder how to hint it without hurting our friendship. Please don’t tell me that Tsang is mean to Jasmine. That hurts me. Tsang is my best friend and I like him a lot. Their marriage is not easy and it is going through a rough patch. He has his temper and his quirks, but who doesn’t. His work is very challenging and Wall Street is a competitive place. He has to deal with all the jerks there–so much pressure that it can break him. No wonder he’s not good tempered. And when he comes back home to a mentally disturbed wife. What do you think? What will he feel? Life is such a mess. He’s a brilliant physicist and this is how life treats him.” Pan says.