Whenever Ivy meets Dan, she feels a pang of regret. Dan is a distant relative of Ivy on Ivy’s father’s side. If this were in Ivy’s hometown in Southeast Asia, Ivy wouldn’t even think about Dan since Ivy has dozens of relatives who are closer to her. However this is in New Jersey and Ivy feels that Dan’s the single precious kinsman she feels privileged to call “my cousin.”
The thing is several years ago, Dan met a girl online. Two weeks later, the girl, who’s name is Meili, drove to New Jersey to meet him–in a fit of excitement, they declared that they wanted to get married. When Ivy learned the news, she was decidedly against this, not only because it is an online relationship, not only because they had only known each other for two weeks, but also because Ivy had been trying to match Dan with her friend Erlan. Dan and Erlan had an on and off lukewarm relationship for three years, and Ivy had always wanted to push them to get married. What were they waiting for? And of course, just like what Ivy had feared, a protracted unenthusiastic relationship is destined to be hijacked by some fresh blood who jumps out of the virtual space…
Ever since Dan’s marriage, Ivy has found that her relationship with Dan is getting a little difficult. If Ivy praises Meili, Ivy is afraid that Dan would consider her disingenuous or double faced; if Ivy says something with a faint whiff of criticism, she’s afraid that Dan would consider her wishing Meili ill and expecting their marriage to fall apart.
“Why couldn’t I just shut my big mouth up? Why did I have to oppose his marriage?” Ivy often regrets. Somehow Ivy has always suspected that Dan has told Meili about her and what she said about their relationship. At first Ivy is too proud to ask Dan directly about this, but she finally summons up enough courage to ask him, for which she receives the answer, “of course not.”
Nine years later, one day they get together at a family meal before their children go back to school after the summer break. Ivy is probably a little tipsy after a bit of beer and wine. She suddenly blurts out to Meili, even to her own surprise, “I think Dan hasn’t told you this. I am sorry that I was against the marriage when Dan and you first met. Now seeing you two are so happy together, I feel that I was wrong. I guess two weeks are not too short a time to know each other and internet relationship…”
“Oh, Ivy, Dan told me long time ago, but I have to really thank you.” Meili says, equally tipsy with a loose tongue.
“You know? And you thank me?” Ivy is utterly surprised.
“Your objection was what helped Dan make up his mind to take the plunge, since he says he always wants to do exactly the opposite of what you did with your own love life.”