Flash Fiction #149
Mother: It’s the story of my life, but I’ve never told you about it for fear that you were too young to understand. Now I think you are old enough to digest the information… It all happened in America twenty years ago.
Daughter: Is it a love story? I want to hear it.
Mother: Twenty years ago I fell in love with him in college. We were both students of the same department. He is really clever and has a lay back demeanor. I really admired him. He is very good with lab experiment and everything. He talked of going to Japan for graduate school, which has the best biological research program in Asia, and it’s not far from our island nation. So I prepared myself to go to Japan too. I tried very hard to gain his attention, but he’s always aloof. We dated for a while, but he broke it off before it got anywhere. When it came to the time of graduation, he suddenly changed his mind and went to New York for graduate school.
Mother: I immediately applied to the same school and fortunately I got accepted too, but I was one year behind him. Anyway, he had a very lonely graduate student life in New York, but I considered it a great opportunity to work my charm on him. I chased after him relentlessly. Finally we were able to become a steady couple. I nagged him to get married. One day his father suddenly had a heart attack back home and he had to fly back immediately. He didn’t have much money back then and the ticket costs more than one thousand dollars. My family was much better off than his. So I bought him the ticket. His father died in the hospital. Two weeks later, he came back a changed person.
Daughter: A sad person, right? Oh, mom, now you can really comfort him and gain his affection.
Mother: He came back with a beautiful nurse from the hospital where his father had stayed. They stopped at Las Vegas to get married before flying back to New York.
Daughter: What? Unbelievable.
Mother: I was devastated. We were both graduate students working as research assistants in the same laboratory under a well established professor who’s the best in the field of immunology. It was painful to see him so happy. I really wanted to kill him. Also he brought his beautiful wife to the department. Soon his wife became a student of our department and worked as a research assistant in the lab right next to us under a young assistant professor in the department. I felt a murderous rage against the two love birds. He would visit the neighboring lab and she would visit him in our lab. I hated their parade and wanted to strangle them.
Daughter: Oh, that’s really bad. I am sorry to hear that.
Mother: As time went by, her visits to our lab became less and less. Soon rumor started to circulate in the department that his beautiful wife and the young assistant professor had a love affair. I was so pleasantly shocked that I couldn’t even hide my smile when he was present.
Daughter: He deserves it. I feel pleasantly shocked too.
Mother: They divorced right away and he was devastated. I took him back and nursed him carefully to restore …
Daughter: How could you take him back after such a betrayal? You can find somebody else…
Mother: Well, it’s easy said than done. I couldn’t fall out of love with him, who didn’t love me. That’s my problem. I was brought up in a narcissistic family and I had this singlemindedness that is very damaging to my life, but I couldn’t help it. And after his divorce, he was quite brokenhearted, but still he didn’t want to marry me.
Daughter: You should leave him. You should…
Mother: That’s the problem. When you are a graduate student and work on a project, that’s your future career. You can’t just leave it. Probably people with a lot of resources can have the means and the opportunities to get away, but for most of us, we just can’t. I was stuck in this lab and in this relationship.
Daughter: Really? You can transfer to another school to be away from him and start anew, can’t you?
Mother: I was still in love with him. And he was at the time so broken hearted and humiliated that I felt that I loved him even more despite his faults… Then the federal fraud investigation started and I saw my chance…to blackmail him into marrying me…
Daughter: What do you mean? What chance? What blackmail? What federal investigation? Is it serious? What happened… Wait, I thought a professor can’t have a romantic relationship with a student. You know. The beautiful nurse and the assistant professor. I thought such things are not allowed in a university in America…
(To Be Continued Here)