Fei is a very good-natured woman. She always speaks sweetly and has never lost her temper even once in her life. Most women in her situation would have complained a million times, but not her. Her husband Wei is a little temperamental, but Fei has never complained about her husband. They have a daughter who’s as temperamental and energetic as Wei, which really puts burden on Fei’s shoulder since Fei has to be the chauffeur to drive her daughter to one after-school activity after another. However Fei never has one word of complaint.
However recently, Fei feels that her good nature only provokes other people’s complaints. Whenever there’s a party, her husband Wei would drink a little, sing an out-of-tune song, and even say something that’s mildly embarrassing. Other women would say to Fei, “He still thinks he’s as wild as a college student. You are too good-natured. You should have domesticated him by now, but you are too gentle to take on the task.”
Jina has been Fei’s friend for years. They haven’t met for a month, but when the meeting takes place at the Korean grocery store, Fei is astonished to find that Jina’s face has all swollen and her neck looks strangely bulky.
“What happened?” Fei asks.
“Somebody hit me from behind when I got off the highway. Now I am in physical therapy.” Jina says.
“Did you stop suddenly on the road again? You know if you stop suddenly, people behind you may hit you. Remember, I told you so. Once when we were going to some place and you drove. You stopped suddenly on the road for no purpose at all. You have such habit, you know.” Fei says.
“Well, I faintly remember that. However you always speak so softly that your words just don’t sink in. You should be more forceful in expressing your opinions. You should have grabbed my arm and shouted into my ears, ‘Jina, don’t make sudden stops like that. You are going to hurt yourself by doing that.” Jina says.
Fei comes back home, a little unsettled. Her husband Wei asks her what’s going on.
“Do you think I am too good-natured? Do you think I should be more forceful?” Fei asks.
“What is this all about? I think you are fine the way you are.” Wei says impatiently.
“Jina thinks I am too soft. Now I am worried about Nia. I advised her before but I think I spoke too softly that she didn’t get the message.” Fei says.
Nia and her ex-husband Tung are their friends. They recently divorced due to Tung’s extramarital affair. Nia was heart broken and found solace in a newly arrived assistant pastor in the Central Jersey Asian Community Church. Now after knowing each other for only a month, the pastor is moving to North Carolina to be the real pastor in a parish close to the city of Charlotte, and Nia decided to quit her job, marry the pastor, and go there with him.
“I think it’s a mistake for Nia. She has a good job and she has lived here for many years. Why does she want to throw herself away for somebody unknown and go to live in a strange new place? I told her before, but I think I was not forceful enough. Now I have to go there and shout into her ear so that she doesn’t make this mistake.” Fei says.
Wei is too astonished to speak, but he manages to say, “You do no such thing. Their wedding is three days away and they are leaving right after the wedding. You are not going there to tell them to stop the wedding. You can’t do that. I forbid you.”
“I have to go. I want to be taken seriously.” Fei insists.
“No, I forbid you.” Wei goes ballistic, but Fei has already rushed out. Fei gets into her car, but Wei stands right in front of her car to try to stop her. The two stare at each other and it is their first serious fight after so many years.