The Love Stories Around Me

Image by Couleur from Pixabay

Valentine’s Day is already gone as I am writing this. Timing has never been my strength; delaying is often the consequence. Last year, I talked about Valentine’s vocabulary, and the year prior, I talked about Valentine’s day traditions in different countries, especially in Japan where women would usually give chocolate to men they have a crush on. And often a nice young men would receive a lot of chocolate from his anonymous admirers on this day.

Since I don’t want to repeat the topics of the last two years, I am going to describe some love stories I have witnessed. Real life love stories don’t have the twists and dramas of those imaginable ones, and I wish I’m a better storyteller to make them more interesting. However this is the best I can do…

My Cousin Wi

His name means “wide” and so I shortened his name to Wi. I think I wrote about him long time ago. If I can still find that story among my pile, I should have put a link here. However I am too lazy to search right now. Wi is my father’s brother’s child. On my father’s side, everybody was normal except my father who was a narcissist. My father’s brother was talkative and humorous and very good-natured, and Wi inherited his father’s traits. He always had something interesting to say to people, even to me, who tried hard to be an invisible “grey rock” to everybody and who was often ignored by my relatives, especially my parents. In his youth, Wi was very unfortunate that he could only got a job far away. He came back to the big city, where he was born and raised, when he was already thirty-five and all the eligible girls in his circle had already married and had kids.

A friend recommended an “old girl” to my cousin Wi, who was of the same age and who couldn’t get herself married off. Let’s say her name was Aiba. One of the reasons that Aiba couldn’t get married off was the fact that she was a descendant of a Manchurian princess on the far margin of the royal family. Her family had some money in the 19th century, but the 20th century was brutal to her clan. Their fortune dwindled and their social status plummeted to the point that they were considered poor. However poverty had not taught the women in her family to pick up the cooking skill, or to work harder to make their life more respectable. Aiba had a factory job. Every day, coming back from work, she would buy some ready-made food on the street since she didn’t cook. She spent the rest of the day reading books and chatting with her neighbors, who had harbored increasingly disparaging feelings towards her. Most women would have been shamed and ridiculed into compliance with the social demand for marriage, but Aiba had the “thick skin” to be just herself. She loved chatting with others and enjoyed defending herself when people used negative language on her. Gradually, people started to accept her as an “odd ball”, or a “lazy girl”. Women around her were very traditional and conservative, but on the other hand, many women liked to have somebody to talk to. Since many women were busy taking care of their family after work, Aiba would go door to door to see who were interested in talking and enjoying a pack of snack with her. And Aiba was a great talker, who could tell a most mundane story in an interesting way; who could point out funny aspects in a most boring familial situation.

Anyway, my cousin Wi met Aiba, and the two really hit it off, despite the fact that Wi’s friend warned him that Aiba was lazy. I guess that the two had a shared interest in chatting and in books. When they got married, my uncle was worried and my parents were livid. At first, Wi did try hard to change Aiba.

“Where’s the dinner?” He asked after coming back from work. “Why don’t you go out to buy a bowl of noodle?” She answered. “I want a home cooked meal” He said. “Go to your mother. She must have something for you. I just had my snack and I am not hungry.” She said.

I think after a while, they were finally able to settling down on a routine which pleased both. When my family traveled to the big city to see them, they looked like a very happy couple.

However my parents were furious with Aiba for some inexplicable reasons. They often talked disparagingly about her, especially about her laziness and her unconcern of wifely responsibility in cooking. When they were in the big city, my parents witnessed their darling nephew Wi washing Aiba’s clothes. “How could he do that? How could she allow him to do that?” My father said loudly as if the social structure was collapsing and the civilization was replaced by barbarism.

When we came back from our trip to the big city, my parents would dwell on their favorite Aiba bashing conversation for a month at least. Every day, they put Aiba on trial at our dinner table and elaborated on all those details of Aiba’s “misdeeds”. And the verdict to such a dinner table tribunal was inevitably “guilty”. They never mentioned stoning to death or drowning in a well as the penalty for Aiba, but they probably imagined it. Well… that’s an exaggeration. My parents considered themselves to be the most cultivated and civilized people. They would never imagine such a penalty. They only wanted to humiliate Aiba for her own good and ridicule her for the purpose of helping her improve. At least they thought so themselves.

“I don’t think the marriage would last. And Wi would wake up one day to realize that he had the most worthless girl in the country.” That was usually my parents’ final words when the Aiba bashing dinner came to an end.

The real ridiculous thing in this was the fact that my parents, the two narcissists, had a bitter marriage for decades. They hurt each other every day with their verbal venom and their manipulative behavior. Their tirade about Aiba was often the only thing they agreed on for the whole day, as if they had a common enemy to fight against. However my parents were people who were blessed with ignorance, which enabled them to be blissfully blind to reality–their own marriage was so much worse than the union between Wi and Aiba. If their own marriage could last decade after decade, any other marriage could too. Wi and Aiba had a happy workable marriage with some problems on labor allocation while my parents’ marriage was a narcissistic hellhole, which should not have existed.

And yes, Wi and Aiba have lived a happy life and have a good lasting marriage, much happier than my parents who engaged in bitter fights all the time.

This is getting longer than I thought. I have two other love stories to tell and I will tell them later.

12 thoughts on “The Love Stories Around Me

    1. Yes, I think when two people have their preferences and interests placed in the open, it is easier for them to find happiness. Those who hide themselves are not so easy to deal with.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I love this story. I love that Wi and Aiba found each other and defied convention. Your parents reminded me of my own. I must make a greater commitment to being positive about people and events. I find their constant criticism creeping into my behavior.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Me too. My parents used to criticize everybody and everything. Nothing was good enough for them. Such a perpetual anger. I often wondered why they wanted to be so sadistic towards each other, towards themselves, and towards people around them…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I really like this story. Beating the conventional picture of familial bliss. I wish people would just let go of silly stereotypes and allow others to be happy the way they want to be. Is there really any definition of a perfect couple or marriage?
    “They never mentioned stoning to death or drowning in a well as the penalty for Aiba, but they probably imagined it.” – VERY FUNNY! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, thank you for your encouragement. Always. Yes, if my parents were given the power as judges, they would hand out sadistic verdicts. No doubt. It makes me shudder just to think about things like this.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. “Those who are at war with others are not at peace with themselves.” William hazlitt described my parents 250 years ago. LOL. I mean this poor girl Aiba is a very normal girl, but my parents were so determined against her. Narcissists are very mean.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. So the marriage of Ai and Aiba lasted? You have abruptly concluded the story without telling about the ending. I guess they are living happily since they had learned to coexist despite their poles-apart personalities. And why are elderly people so much judgemental about others?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, thank you for your message and I added a line to the ending part. Yes, they have a great marriage and they have learned to allocate their labor, economize the cost, and find balance between work and leisure. I think they are just normal people. Yes, people like my narcissistic parents can be very judgemental and very unfair in their attitude towards young people.

      Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s