Flash Fiction #152
Lea and I have been acquaintances for years, and then about two years ago, I started to talk with her about narcissism. At first she laughed and brushed my idea aside, but then she started to tell me about her mother-in-law Sandi who’s a super sized narcissist and who controlled everybody around her. Our conversation soon brought us very close. Suddenly we found so much to talk about since I have two narcissistic parents, and Lea married into a narcissistic family with her husband Tou a mini-sized narcissist, her mother-in-law a super-sized narcissist, and her father-in-law who’s forever quiet and sickly.
I have been to Lea’s house many times for group meetings, parties etc., and I have met her parents, her-in-laws, and her husband. I never really thought about Lea’s relatives very much until yesterday when I stopped by to bring her some Korean apples–I bought a box of it and I shared half of it with her. Her in-laws came for a visit. And her father-in-law sat there reading a newspaper. Actually every time I meet her father-in-law, he’s reading newspaper. He’s like a statue in a park who never changes his gesture. Lea’s husband Tou said something to his father and his father looked up and answered, “yes.” I glanced at Tou and his father, and I suddenly froze in shock.
Soon I quitted Lea’s place and went home, but I couldn’t stop thinking that Tou just doesn’t look like his father at all. Tou is very well built with a very round face, but his father is very thin and very small and with a very long face. Tou’s eyes and ears and mouth are all different from his father’s. There’s no similarity anywhere. However most troubling of all is what Lea often said to me that her father-in-law never ever says anything more than “yes” or “no”. He’s presence is very much like his absence. He never does any housework. He only eats, reads newspaper, and sleeps.
It’s Saturday today and I get up late. Lea calls me,
“Why did you leave so abruptly yesterday just as I was still telling you a story?” Lea says.
“Oh, really? I … well… I don’t know what to say. I mean did I leave abruptly? I was… I got to go because… well… Were you telling me a story? I can’t even remember… well…” I try to evade her question.
However Lea wouldn’t let go and eventually I just have to tell her (just to shut her up) that I suddenly feel that her husband doesn’t look like his father. I am thinking that if Lea is concerned about her family honor, she might just cut me out her life for slandering. Well, honesty rarely goes unpunished since in our family-oriented cultures, family myth is considered sacred and inviolable.
To my surprise, Lea is not surprised to hear it. And she says she has been suspicious of it all along, but she never dares to bring it up to her husband or her in-laws.
“But how can you not bring this up to your husband? If it’s me, I won’t be able to keep my mouth shut.” Those are my words.
Lea just sighs. She pretends that she doesn’t care, but I know she is burning with curiosity…