A Young Bride
A careless tear streaked down her cheek as she sat in front of the flickering flames of the bonding candles, reminding her yet again of her place in this world as another man’s miserable wife. “Xiao jie, it is bad luck to cry on your wedding day!” The old maid said with a concerned frown. “I never asked for this life…” she whispered in a defeated voice, as two more tears streaked down her sorrowful face. “You have to be strong, xiao jie!” The old maid whispered fiercely in the young bride’s ear as the sound of fire crackers, gongs and drums erupted simultaneously, rendering the girl’s thoughts silent as pure vicious fear rushed through her veins. Cheers of joy could be heard from the open window as the deafening clashes of cymbals exploded, signifying the final ritual… The wedding ceremony.
“Welcome one and all to witness the union between the Wong family and the Ngai family…” the Chinese priest announced expertly in rapid Cantonese with a boisterous voice. The bride stood rigidly as she scanned through the crowded room of red figures nodding approvingly to one another. No one noticed her agonizing despair, not even her mother who was discreetly whispering prayers to Shangdi, the supreme sky god. Questions scrambled through her mind like a colony of bats, fluttering their wings of strong headed opinions with increasing fervor. “No”, she whispered as she yanked the disgustingly red cloth from her face with one pull. “No!” She heaved frantically and turned to the room of shocked faces surrounding her. She looked from the dangerously contained anger in her father’s face to the sorrowful pity in her mother’s face. Is this how ma felt when she married pa?
Desperate tears clouded her vision as she ran from the judging glares of society, the harsh reality of marriage and the unfairness of her life. She banged open her bedroom doors and crumpled to the floor, defeated and wounded in every way. Gentle footsteps could be heard from...