Tea Leaves and Diamond Bracelets

Loved, Girls' Day Out, and Rice

Match Twenty-One: Loved, Girls’ Day Out, and Rice:


I am constantly showered with love. The girls are always looking out for me. Mei and Szu call me every morning and night.

“How are you doing?” they would ask me.

“Good,” I said. Aside the strange visions I have been having and Yao’s odd behavior, everything has been going great. Mei keeps trying to guess what I’m going to have.

“I don’t know yet,” I tell her. She pouted at me this morning.

“Aww, that’s not fun!” Mei complained. “Don’t you have a little guess?”

“No,” I said. She hung onto my arm.

“Not one guess?” she asked.

“No,” I said. “What do you think I’ll have?” Mei took a moment to think about.

“I don’t know,” she said. “What do you want to have?”

“A boy,” I said. Mei looked up at me.

“Why do you say that?” she asked.

“Are you familiar with my family history?”

“Which part?”

“The baby one.”


I sat back on my couch. “Apparently every time a girl is born in my family, the man loses his fertility for some reason.” I looked out the window. “It happened to my father. He tried to have a son with a long-time friend of his, but it didn’t work. They couldn’t figure out why she couldn’t get pregnant. His sperm count was too low at the time.”

“I remember hearing about that,” Mei said.

“The same thing happened to my grandfather on my mother’s side. Basically it’s on my mother’s side.”

“But what about Jianjun?”

“You forgot my mom was born too.”

“Oh yeah.”

“To prevent it from happening to me, my father buried my umbilical chord in the backyard. He had a shaman to pray over it.” I turned back to Mei.

“I was never allowed to go around that area,” I said. “That’s why father had it fenced off with wire and wood.”

“Heh,” Mei said. Szu and her family have been showering me in baby gifts. I think I’m running out of room in my house.

“Look, look,” Hark said. She held up a doll house in a box. I made a strange face at the pink and white on the cover.

“Uh… Okay… Thanks, I guess,” I said.

“Isn’t it cute?” Hark asked. “Your baby is going to enjoy this.” Szu rolled her eyes as she texted her friends on phone.

“Right…” I said. We looked up when the door opened. Lili stood in my doorway with a huge grin on his face.

“Hello, ladies,” he said. I noticed the multiple boxes of toys in his arms.

“What is all of that?” I asked.

“Toys for the baby,” Lili said. “Take a look at this.” He set all the toys on the floor and picked up one box. I saw a plane on the front cover. Lili flashed a huge grin.

“The child will have so much fun with this plane,” he said. He started to make fighter plane noises as he flew it around. Szu rolled her eyes as Hark and I looked at each other with confused looks on our faces. Lili put down that box and picked up another one. This one had a boat on the front.

“How about this one?” he asked. “Hours of delight with this little boat. I can see it now. Fun nights in the bathtub.”

“Honey, you got toys for a boy,” Hark spoke up.

“Of course,” Lili said. “Little Bean’s going to be a little boy.”

“No, Little Bean’s going to be a girl,” his wife said.

“No, a boy.”






I put my hands over my ears. Here they go again. They aren’t the only ones either. Hen-to and Bik along keep arguing about what I will have. Same with Fei and Cai. And Wan and Chi Ju. Even Tse and Man are getting into it now. I rose to my feet.

“I’m going to go for a walk,” I lied. “Excuse me.” I bowed and walked out of my living room. I heard footsteps hurrying behind me.

“Szu?” Hark asked. I turned my head. Szu ran to catch up with me.

“Hey, what’s on your mind?” I asked.

“Don’t mind them,” she said. “They are just really excited for you.”

“Yeah,” I said. “I just wish they would tone it down a bit. They are starting to stress me out.” Szu patted me on the back.

“I don’t think that’s going to happen,” she said. I groaned and dropped my head.

There are some upbeat moments to my situation. Today is an all-girls day. We’re just having a simple lunch out and maybe catch a movie. Even Xin, Tina, and Qun are coming along with us. Tina and Mei hung around with me. It’s probably for the best. Years later and they are still fighting with each other.

“You still don’t know what you are having?” Tina asked.

“No,” I said. “I don’t want to know until Little Bean is born.”

“What if you have twins?” she asked. I stared at her with big eyes.

“Why would you wish that upon me?!” I asked. Tina tried not to laugh. Mei reached over and hit her on the arm.

“Ow,” she whimpered.

“That’s not funny,” Mei said.

“Mei,” I said. She and Tina pretended to be little angels. I sighed and rubbed my forehead. It didn’t help that the clan mothers were smiling at me.

It was a nice day so we decided to eat outside. It was Szu’s turn to pick the restaurant. She smiled when she joined our party on the Liao-Wang Property.

“What did you pick for us?” Hark asked. Her daughter grinned.

“You’ll have to see when we get there,” she said. Szu smiled with a V-sign. Usually, I would get nervous hearing that. But, Szu has yet to let me down on out all-girls’ outings. This time, she didn’t fail to impress. We ended up at this garden restaurant. A small, trendy place. We heard the fountains goings as we walked through the wire arch. I had never seen so much green everywhere. The plants did look like they needed a little water though. Szu turned to us, smiling.

“Well?” she asked. I looked around with a smile on my face as I touched my belly.

“Good,” I said. “How did you find this place?”

“The internet,” Szu said. Of course she did. That’s now the youth are today. A hostess walked over to our party and sat us down at a table near the street behind the hedge. We all made our drink orders. I myself ordered green tea. But, my mind wandered elsewhere as the ladies descended into chatter.

I looked around the outside café and spotted a white fountain across from our combined tables near the register. This wasn’t eroded from the rain either. No, the fountain still pristine and white in the sunlight. The more I looked at it, the more I remembered an odd dream I had last night. There was uncooked rice raining from the sky. I couldn’t keep count of how many grains fell from the empty black sky. I put up my hand to catch the rice but it fell through my thin fingers. Each grain landed on the black inky surface I was floating above. Funny thing was that the rice didn’t change color. The rice just floated on the surface and stayed pure. No patterns formed around my feet. The grains seemed to be piling up around my swollen ankles. I could feel Little Bean jumping around inside of me. Oddly enough, it didn’t hurt. As the rice started piling up around us, I started laughing as I held out my arms.

“Ju? Ju?” I heard someone asking behind me. I turned to see Mei’s face inches away from mine.

“What?” I asked. My dear friend tilted her head.

“I know the fountain looks pretty, but can you stay on earth with us?” she asked. I blinked at her at first.

“Huh? Oh, sorry about that,” I said.

“You feeling okay?” she asked.

“Yeah, I just remembered a strange dream I had last night,” I said. “What does it mean when rice is falling from the sky?” Mei gave me a strange look as she shrugged.

“I have no idea,” she said.

“Ah, did you say that you had dreams about rice?” Wan asked, turning to us.

“Yes,” I said. “There was rice raining from the sky. It landed on this black inky surface, but the rice didn’t stain. It stayed white as it piled up around us.” The other women had their eyes on me. Wan broke into a huge smile.

“That is good luck,” she said. Mei rolled her eyes. I tilted my head.

“Really?” I asked.

“Where I come if you dream of rice falling from the sky, you will have good luck for the next ten years,” Wan said. The mothers of the clan whistled and looked surprised.

“I never heard that,” I said.

“Do you really believe that?” Mei asked. I didn’t answer.

“It could be possible,” I mumbled to myself.

“Are you serious?” she asked. I shook my head as our drinks arrived at the table.

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