A true story about my grandmother set in a remote island in Hong Kong. Originally appeared at 52/250 A Year of Flash.
My grandmother's childhood was floating away on a boat. The moment she looked back at her brother on the shore, a bony figure waving goodbye in frantic pantomimes of love, she knew her fate was sealed. There would be no going back.
The strange woman by her side had chosen her because she was fair, the fairest child on the island. In the years to come she would grow into a solitary teenager, who haunted the wood and cried by the sea until the well within her ran dry. Tall, erect and sparkly, she would break into Baptist churches in the colonized land to steal water, and to tread between trampled bodies before the day's killings began.
On this day she remained a small girl rocking to waves in fright, and her tears made a magnifying glass through which she saw cruelty on the woman's face. The middle-aged woman had travelled through mud and rain, in search of sweetness to bring into her household. A looming presence at the dinner table, waiting to receive the love that would forever elude her grip. The wind was in her eyes as she turned to look at the child.
'My husband doesn't like children crying,' she said. 'Dry your tears before we land.'
My grandmother never did what she was told. After all, she was headed for war times.