I'm also featured in Alison DeLuca's blog for Valentine's Day where you can read an excerpt of another one of my romantic short stories:
"Wild Fire" by Lisa Zhang Wharton
I'm sharing an excerpt from my award-winning short story, "My Uncle" in which the main character fell in love with her mother's lover. This story will come out as an Amazon Single very soon as well as in my next book "Chinese Lolita".
It was a Sunday morning. Mother said she was leaving for work. Father hollered: "You god damn woman, get out of here. Go, stay with your fucking boyfriend. You all get out of here, get out of my house!"
Father had just awakened. His eyes were still fogged. He sat on the bed, meditated for a while, and then stood up. He stumbled a few steps toward the door and poked his head out of his room.
"Meihua, come back. Who said you could go?" He caught me before I slipped out the door. "Go to the kitchen, and see if the garbage needs to be emptied. God damn shit! Why do you always have to be reminded?" Waving a filthy athletic shoe in his hand, he stared at me with his half-open, beady eyes. It seemed he might throw the shoe at my head if I did not obey him. I went to the kitchen and did as I was told.
"Where are you going?" Father saw me put on my tight nylon sweater which showed my two small breasts, and a few dabs of blush on my round face.
"I'm going to work!" I said and slammed the door behind me.
It was a cold winter day. The sun moved slowly from behind the white clouds like a shy girl. Water from melting ice was dripping from the roof. "Dita, dita." It sounded so crisp. With slightly softening soil under my feet, I opened the metal buttons on my grey down-coat and untied the blue wool scarf from my face. I breathed deeply and let the unmuffled air enter my nostrils and flow into my lungs. What a beautiful day! I wanted to cry out. Everything was going exactly as I had planned. Father was right about Mother meeting her boyfriend. But he did not know my secret. I was going to see one of Mother's boyfriends too, of course a different one. I used to call him "Uncle".
It was eight years since I had last seen Uncle Weiming. I had lost track of him completely, but I was quite sure that he was still working at the same place. People in China do not move until they scuff a hole deep enough to bury themselves. Therefore, what should I do if I wanted to visit him? Just go to the factory? Like the old saying says, if you want to go north, just follow the North Star. In this case I followed my instinct.
Sitting on the bus, I gazed at the trees that passed by so fast that I wished the bus would slow down. Questions kept going through my mind. What was I doing here? Visiting Mother's old lover who had disappeared eight years ago? Begging a married 35 years old man to be my father while I was old enough to be his lover? Asking him to be my sister Mingming's father again when Mingming did not even know he existed? It was like I was trying to pick up an old rotten melon. My only accomplishment could be to soil my hands.
But in the last couple of weeks, a memory kept haunting me.
It was in 1976, a few weeks after Chairman Mao had died. In an early afternoon, Uncle wandered into our one-story red brick apartment without knocking and sat down on a chair by the dining table. Father, who had used to Mother's varieties of friends, nodded stiffly and walked out of the door.
"Uncle!" Having not seen him in two weeks, I was excited. Uncle looked at me and did not respond. "I'll get Mom for you!" I went in front of Mom's bedroom where door was shut closed. "Mom, Uncle is here." I knocked.
"Yes, just a minute." In a while Mother strolled out with a cigarette in her mouth. She closed the bedroom door (where she had a visitor) and sat next to Uncle. They both kept silent for a while.
"Got someone new?" Uncle directed his chin toward Mother's closed bedroom.
"It's none of your business."
"You pick up fast. Let me say this, if I may. I know who he is. He is a notorious asshole."
"OK!" Mother stood up, ran into her bedroom and rushed back with a paper box in her hand. She openned the box and smacked the whole box of photos of hers and Uncle's onto Uncle's face. "Get out of here, I don't need you anymore! You'd better go back to your pretty young girlfriend!"
Uncle rose up and strode out of the door.
"Uncle, don't go! Uncle, come back!" I chased him and burst into tears.
From then on, laughter and happiness had disappeared in my life. My heart along with those memories had become frozen until now. There had been enough chaos at home. My quiet, hard-working nature had pleased Mother and Father. I had become such a useful child for them. Gradually I had taken over the household. I cooked, I shopped and I even managed the money. When Mother had a problem, she would complain to me; when Father was hungry, he would ask me to make something for him to eat. I had been used to the life and felt proud for the responsibilities until I went to college. My vision for life suddenly changed. I realized people did laugh and joke in life; life did not just consist of constant working. I felt incompetent. I needed help. But who could help me? Uncle, the long disappearing Uncle suddenly came back into my memory. "Go to see him. Go to see him." A voice was telling me.
Coming soon from Fantasy Island Book Publishing: