G E Y A N G The month I was born, my mother dreamed that there was a gold buddha as long as her arm inside our stove. As she carefully lifted it out, the buddha's head fell off. Several days later, I was born. My father had wanted a boy. My mother told me that if I'd been a boy, I wouldn't have lived because, as her dream showed, it wasn't her fate to have a boy. Except for my father, everyone in the family was happy about my arrival, especially my sister. Before I was born, she was lonesome. My five brothers, by my father's other wife, spurned her company. The afternoon Mother was giving birth to me, my sister was in the sutra room, praying for a girl. When, years later, she told me this, I was quite moved. My father was an able merchant. By the time I was born, he owned a silk-goods shop, a tea and porcelain shop, and an estate in Toelung that he had bought from an impoverished aristocrat. However, the estate was not completely ours: we still had to pay annual rent to the Kashag government. There were thick
Manoa – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Oct 1, 2000
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