A Real Life Romance (Part 2)

Image by yamabon from Pixabay

Serial Fiction Part 2. The first part of this story is here.

While my father was engaging in a correspondence with his future second wife living in a faraway big city, he also attracted the attention of several single women who lived locally. After all, my father earned a good salary; he was socially polite, especially when women were present; he didn’t have bad habits other than drinking and smoking modestly; he liked to read books and looked rather like a well domesticated good husband.

One of these women is Berber, who was nice, gentle and quite friendly. She had a son who’s about fourteen years old. She and my father had been mere acquaintances before my mother died. However the fatal accident that killed my mother brought the two families closer. Her husband, just by coincident, were riding on the same bus and he died in the same accident.

What happened was that we were living in a rural area where there was no dentist. If one had a toothache, one had to ride a long distance bus for one and half hours to go to the nearest city to see a dentist. My mother was one of the passengers on that fateful bus because she had a dental appointment in the city and Berber’s husband was another one who was going to the city to take care of his business. There were one bus driver who was licensed, and one assistant driver who didn’t have his license yet. Whenever the main driver was tired, the assistant would take over to practice his driving, supposedly under the watchful eyes of the main driver. On that fateful morning, the main driver had a hangover from drinking too much the night before. He obviously couldn’t drive and had to slump on the seat right beside the driver seat. His assistant jumped in. He was also drunk the night before, but he was much younger and could hold his liquor much better. So the morning bus took off, but not before allowing 10 more people getting on board, purchasing illegal standing tickets right on the spot. As you know, the bus could legally accommodate 38 passengers, each with a seat, and 38 tickets were sold in advance for 38 passengers. However, the bus drivers also needed to earn extra income to supplement their meager salary. So the bus company turned a blind eye and the drivers took on extra people to earn some cash for themselves.

The overloaded bus traveled on the rural road that was entirely empty, since this was before 7AM. There was a little drizzle and the road was more slippery than usual. When the bus came to a bridge, there was a little ramp upward leading to the bridge. Since this was a rural bridge, the lane marking to separate the traffic of two opposite directions had faded into oblivion long ago. Suddenly one vehicle appeared, driving on the opposite direction. The inexperienced young bus driver was so nervous that he turned his wheel to the right a little too forcefully. For some inexplicable reason, the bus suddenly lost control and swayed towards the railing of the bridge, which was too old and fragile to withstand the weight of the bus. The next thing you know, the bus fell into the river below. Only 10 people survived; the rest all perished in the river grave. Most of those dead were women and older individuals. Several young men managed to get out of the bus which was totally submerged in water, and they tried to save as many as they could, but most were already drowned before they could reach them.

My mother’s tragic end was not a surprise to her father, my grandpa Zili. Decades earlier, when my mother and father were about to get married, Grandpa Zili and my mother went to a psychic, with whom Grandpa Zili tried to negotiate a more favorable price. The psychic was a little annoyed. Knowing that Grandpa Zili was not the kind who would shell out more money for some good omen, the psychic had no scruple to offer her dire prediction: my parents were not suitable for each other.

“They are six years apart and that’s the most dangerous age gap. One is going to kill the other.” The psychic said.

My mother refused to believe her. So she continued,

“A snake and a dog are the worst combination.” My father’s zodiac sign is a snake and my mother’s sign is a dog.

“The dog will bark a lot, but a dog is no match for a snake. The dog is going to be killed by the snake eventually.” The psychic revealed her prognosis. Since she couldn’t get more money from Grandpa Zili, she might as well relate the full scale of the bad news. “If she’s a tiger, it will be a different story since a tiger is a cat. And a cat knows how to handle a snake. A dog doesn’t.”

“I just knew he’s going to kill her one day.” Grandpa Zili said when he heard about my mother’s traffic accident. “Decades ago, a psychic said it, but your parents didn’t want to listen to the psychic and insisted on marrying.”

“But my father didn’t kill my mother. She died in a bus accident. It’s the bus driver’s fault.” I said.

“That’s because your father insisted on inviting his sister to live with them after you departed for college, and his stupid sister threw away your mother’s denture as if it was a piece of garbage. That’s why your mother had to go to see a dentist in the city to get a new denture. In a way, your father killed your mother, just like what the psychic predicted.” Grandpa Zili said.

Grandpa Zili was a very strange creature. He never communicated, never smiled, never laughed, never read newspaper, never discussed issues with people, never talked with people. He never showed any grief for my mother. Instead he channeled his grief into a hatred towards my father. I often thought that living with his wife, my grandmother, who’s high in narcissism, he had learned to deny his own emotion year after year. Sometimes I felt strange that he had learned to say “no” to the whole spectrum of human emotions, but he didn’t say “no” to hatred and he didn’t hesitate to reveal his hatred my father to me.

My father didn’t know Grandpa Zili’s feeling for him. He had other things on his mind. He didn’t really want to marry Berber, but he enjoyed her attention. Berber was a very affectionate woman and also a superstitious woman too. She believed in luck, karma, fate and the importance of having a husband. Her husband, when still alive, was very good to her and they had a loving family. She had no idea that my father was a covert narcissist who’s a master of manipulation and intrigue. The only thing she could think of was the fact that fate sent her husband and my father’s wife to death in the same accident. Why did fate do that? Probably fate had some design for a match between her and my father.

(To Be Continued Here)

20 thoughts on “A Real Life Romance (Part 2)

  1. I guess it’s difficult for people to make a distinction between “if you hadn’t done A, B wouldn’t have happened” and “you are to blame because you did A”. This kind of unfair thinking does tend to kick in after a death.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So true. And in a narcissistic family, a grieving process often requires a scapegoat. I do admire those psychiatrists who can deconstruct my family as a scientific project. I didn’t admire psychology this much until I started to look into narcissism…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a tragic story, Haoyan. I’m sorry that such careless behavior was the reason for your mother’s demise and also the deaths of others. When we begin finding meaning in incidents that occur and try piecing together our fates, we don’t actually see what’s right in front of us. That can be harmful and dangerous. Will wait for the continuing piece. Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your comments. Yes, it is a sad story really. And the only silver lining is that my mother’s death released me from her narcissistic grip. She was as madly narcissistic like my grandmother–they were manipulative and emotionally cruel to almost everybody. They created an insane environment that could drive any sane people crazy.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, people who have no exposure to narcissist don’t really understand narcissism and don’t recognize a narcissist. And worse, some don’t even acknowledge the presence of a narcissist even if other people point it out. Some people can be very blind, especially when they are bombed by the narcissist’s love bomb or praise bomb, or they are recruited the narcissist to be flying monkeys etc.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. So true. And you just inspired me to write about a woman who refused to believe her friend’s experience with narcissists. Guess what, she later encounters a narcissist herself.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. That’s rough. Whatever the bus driver and his assistant drank, I probably drank that, too. It’s pretty strong stuff. Growing up as an Indian and living in China for some time I can somewhat understand how one can be so superstitious, especially when it comes to omens and fortune-telling. I am eagerly waiting for the next part.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your gentle encouragement and your insightful comments. The drivers were not sufficiently paid and they worked long hours. Often they had to drink at the end of the day just to go through it. And unfortunately they could drink too much once in a while.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I totally agree. I mean drinking and hangover is such a big problem among drivers, but nobody seems to be able to do anything to stop it. I actually heard of several accidents here when tour buses ran into accidents at 5AM or on a road with no traffic. An unusual high percentage of them involves Asian tour groups. The drivers work too hard, get up too early, drink too much the night before, etc. etc.

          Liked by 1 person

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