A Tale Of Two Cousins (Flash Fiction Part 11)

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Flash Fiction #163

This is the 11th part. The previous 10 parts are here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8,9, 10.

Nalan, Present Day

Well, that was 25 years ago. Time flies whether one has a good time or not. For this reason, one probably should enjoy as much as one can since time is indifferent to us. Whenever my parents had a big fight and I sneaked out for some fresh air, I could see that the setting sun looked the same hanging above the grey mountain at a distance. The sun didn’t care, the earth didn’t care. Life went on as if nothing had happened.

In the past 25 years, several things have happened. My mother died when I was in high school. I was at a boarding high school far away in the south where my maternal grandma and most of my maternal relatives lived. I didn’t have to go to that boarding school, which had a reputation for boring curriculum and bad food and no heating during the winter time. However I was determined to leave my parents as soon as I possibly could, even if it meant I had to go to hell. Actually I was not particularly brave or reckless. You know I cherished the hope of attending college and starting a life independent of my parents. The dream of escaping my family was a very big incentive, often the only incentive, for my eagerness to endure everything in the outside world.

My mother died of a traffic accident. As I was away in boarding school, my parents’ battles escalated. When I was at home, their relationship was still a manageable disaster. I suspect that it was because I offered a target for their “shooting” practice, and an object for their shared distrust and dislike. I was a sulky grey rock and had innumerable flaws. Criticizing me gave my parents the chance of being united and enjoying certain degree of consensus. After I left, they couldn’t stand each other, to the point that my father often asked one of his sisters–he has two sisters–to come to live together. At the time, the economy was no good. My father’s two sisters both worked for factories that gave their workers furlough days, which meant they could take a big pay cut and stay home for several months each year since there were not enough work.

And one day, a big fight broke out between my mother, my father, and my father’s sister, Aunt Lao. I don’t know who was fighting who, but knowing the tension between my parents, I was not surprised. Anyway, after the fight, my mother had enough. She left during the night. At the time, the university had two satellite campuses. One of my mother’s friends lived in one of the satellite campuses and she wanted to go to live with her friend for a few days. The university ran shuttle buses between the three campuses, up to 9PM daily. So my mother took the bus. The problem was that the driver was drunk, which had also been a prevailing issue among bus drivers in the region. When the bus traveled on a bridge over a dried up riverbed, the bus smashed the railing and plunged downward. My mother died, together with several other passengers.

I am sure she went to heaven, not the normal heaven for normal people, but rather the narcissistic heaven where narcissists fight each other to see who has a better immortality, no matter how much Buddha is trying to convince them that everybody is equal in the celestial paradise.

Cousin Arjin, Present Day

My parents traveled north to attend my aunt’s funeral. My father was the de facto head of our clan and he had to represent my aunt side of the family. One year after that, my parents went to Penang, Malaysia for vacation. There was a swimming accident and my mother drowned. My mother was a great mom, but she wasn’t in good spirit for many years. My father always tells me that she was weak and she had a good life, but didn’t know how to enjoy it.

Otherwise, my life was uneventful. I couldn’t pass the exam to become a civil servant, but my grandma and my father helped me set up my own company. I don’t have an academic mind, but I have a good business mind. I do have the ambition and the skills to expand my business to a bigger scale, but I was sabotaged several times. Twice I was cheated by my business partners, and at least five times my employees did deliberate damage to my company. One day, out of blue, all my employees just resigned together, without even giving me an advanced warning. I had to hire and train an entire crew all from scratch. Can you believe that? There are people like that?

I think I am a good boss and I always pay people wages on time. Still I don’t really trust my employees. So I often test their loyalties, give them lectures on morality, scold them on their laziness, and reprimand them on this or that to assert my authority. As a businessman, one has to do that. My father has given me a lot of tips since he has been a head of a government department for decades. He also gives me good advice and information on government contracts etc., helping me make better bids.

I admire my father. He’s very strict with me, but he also helps me. My mother was the soft-hearted mom every child would love, but my father has often warned me that as a boy, I should never be like my mom. I have to be tough.

After a string of unsuccessful dating experiences, I finally got married. She is a nurse. I was a patient and she was the nurse in the hospital I stayed. She took care of me, better than any of the girls I dated before. The next thing I knew, we got married and had a son.

I don’t even notice Nalan but she has her way of intruding into my life. After college, Nalan went abroad to get a degree. Don’t ask me where she studied since I don’t care. She has nothing to do with me. Remember I almost went to prison because of her 25 years ago. I have not forgiven her. When Nalan came back from abroad, she settled in our big city, which is the best place to find jobs, but she rarely came for family gatherings. We all thought she studied so much, and she should make some good money, but she hasn’t yet. I’ve told you that she’s just not normal. All those books she read are making her poor rather than rich. What’s the point reading those books then?

Anyway, my grandmother died last week and we all went to her funeral. Nalan showed up. And can you believe that she used my grandmother’s funeral to convince my wife to leave me? Can you believe that? I know she’s a witch, who just can’t stop practicing her witchcraft. I will not let her off the hook this time–she has to pay for the vicious thing she did to me and my family. I will see to that.

(To Be Continued Here)

8 thoughts on “A Tale Of Two Cousins (Flash Fiction Part 11)

    1. Thank goodness. Just imagine if she was not dead? She would be hanging onto her daughter like a leech and a disease. She was such a bad person that it defied common sense that she even existed, but she existed.

      Liked by 1 person

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