Read from Where Waters Meet
Phoenix had shared with George some of what Auntie Mei told her over the phone, the bits and pieces of her mother’s prehistorical existence which had been meticulously shielded from her. A clean slate to be handed over to the virgin memory of an innocent child, that must have been Mother’s plan. With dispassionate composure, Phoenix handed George the missing pieces of the puzzle of Rain’s early life, mixing them, unconsciously, with the loose ends of her own memory of events that happened later.
“I didn’t know she was a nurse’s aide. Five years, blood, open wounds, soldiers dying in her arms. I’ve seen her look away while gutting fish.” She said, a flat statement of facts, no stinging smack of surprise, no display of blubbering and sniffling, and no signs of effort to seek solace. In her uttermost wretchedness, from the dual assault of bereavement and shock, she maintained the appearance of someone armoured, tidy and untouchable. He attributed her heroic self-control to the nature of relaying a story second hand: some raw emotion must have been consumed traveling through the same journey twice.
But he had an inkling that there must be a dent somewhere. A shock of this caliber could hardly pass without leaving a scratch. It was not a thought to give peace and comfort.