Jing, Worry, and Visions
Tea Leaves and Purple Robes
Match One: Jing, Worry, and Visions:
I love my son. Jing is the light of my life. But...
I looked down at Jin in his little crib. He’s asleep tonight. I reached down and stroked his little cheek. So precious. I couldn’t help as a small smile spread across my face. He’s only been in this world for a week. He would not know anything about the world for years to come. I envied him. He doesn’t have to worry about money, crime, safety, poverty, and everything wrong with the world. No, he just doesn’t have to think at all. Lucky Little Bean.
Someone grabbed onto my shoulder.
I about jumped.
“It’s okay, it’s only me,” Yao whispered. I turned around, panting.
“Oh…” I said.
“Can’t sleep?” he asked. I shook my head. Yao looked down at the crib. Jing had fat little cheeks.
“He’s gorgeous,” I said.
“Yeah,” my husband said. I should be happy. I have a beautiful baby boy. My husband loves me. My clan is stable again. Jianjun and Junjie are both in jail. Szu and her family can breathe again. Everything should be fine.
But why do I feel so uneasy?
Yao pulled me into his arms.
“What’s the matter?” he asked. I looked up at him. The calm look in his eyes made me want to hate myself. How could I tell him what I was really thinking? Would he even believe me?
I shook my head.
“Ju…” he said.
“It’s nothing,” I lied. “I’m just tired.” I walked over and sat down in the chair next to the crib. My head kept going back to that creepy English woman I ran into outside of the spice market. I see her standing over my son’s crib. What the hell did she mean talking about a golden warrior? It gives me the creeps. I drew my knees to my chest as I trembled.
“Ju?” Yao asked. I looked up at him. He was frowning now.
“How can I help you when you won’t tell what’s wrong?” he asked. How could I? I keep having dreams of some lady standing over our son’s crib and she gives me the creeps. He’s not going to believe me.
I rubbed my forehead.
“I just have so much on my mind,” I said. “And I don’t think I can explain it.” I am running out of ways to tell him that. It doesn’t help that he keeps asking. Neither does the quiet outside. I have grown to hate the quiet.
The next morning, there was a knock on the door.
“Who is it?” I asked from the living room. I walked over to the front door and looked out the peep hole. Bik stood outside. I relaxed and opened the door.
“Good morning,” I said. “What brings you by?”
“I just wanted to see how you were doing,” she said.
“I’m fine,” I said. “Do you want to come in?”
“Gladly!” Bik said. How did I guess? I stepped aside and let her inside. She always walked like she owned the place. This has been the daily ritual for a week now. Bik comes over and checks on Jing and me.
“Are how Biao and Chih?” I asked.
“Good,” she said. “They are studying hard.”
“Sounds just like them,” I said. I noticed the serious look on her face.
“What?” I asked.
“How are you really?” she asked. Oh…
I lifted my chin.
“It’s a bit complicated,” I said. I sat down at the kitchen table and rubbed my forehead. Part of me could predict what she was going to say next.
“Would you like some tea?” Bik asked.
“No, thank you,” I said. She turned to my tea kettle and plugged it up.
“I said that I didn’t want any,” I said.
“I know, dear,” she said. “I’m making this for me.” I frowned as she got to work. Why was I not surprised? Bik opened one of the cabinets and began looking around.
“Hm… Hm… Where did you put the tea?” she asked.
“It’s in the back of the cabinet,” I said. “I just bought some the other day.”
“I can’t see it,” Bik said.
“It has a dark green and black flower on the front,” I said. She stood on their tip-toes to look inside.
“See it yet?” I asked.
“Hang on,” Bik said as she looked around. “Ah, here it is.” She pulled out the bag of fresh tea. Bik filled up my kettle and turned it on. I watched as she set up her cup.
“Go on and say it,” I said. Bik glanced over her shoulder at me.
“How are you really?” she asked. I sat up straight in my chair. How do I even begin to explain all of the shit going on in my head? I forced myself to smile.
“Where do you want me to start?” I asked. Bik turned around with a calm smile on her face.
“Where do you feel you need to start?” she asked. Of course she would say that.
“I just have so much going on in my mind,” I said. I lowered my head, rubbing my forehead. “Do you want to hear something crazy?”
“Sure,” Bik said. I lifted my chin.
“A couple of months back, there was this strange lady who walked up to me while Yao and I were out in the market, shopping,” I said. “She started talking about this weird stuff about how my child was going to be some golden warrior for the apocalypse or something like that.” I shook my head.
“It’s just crazy to me,” I said. I looked up at Bik, waiting for a reaction. Would she think that I was losing my mind? Would she brush off my concerns? She sat down in front of me.
“What did this woman look like?” she asked.
“She wore all black,” I said. “She had her black hair down to her shoulders.” I mimicked her hair by moving my hands down to my shoulders and hovering them there. “She had to be like in her forties or fifties, I think…” Bik narrowed her eyes as if lost in thought.
“Was she a foreigner?” she asked.
“Yes!” I said.
“Did she have an English accent?” Bik asked.
“Yes!” I said. I paused for a moment. “Wait… how did you know?”
“I think I saw that same woman you were talking at my clinic the other day,” she said. My blood ran cold.
“No…” I said.
“Yeah, it was so weird,” Bik said. “She didn’t go inside. Just hung around outside for a good ten minutes before she left.” I thought I was going to be sick.
“Ju?” she asked.
“I don’t feel so good,” I said in a small voice. I stood up and ran to the bathroom.
“Ju?” Bik asked as I heard her running after me. I shut the door behind me. I grabbed onto my sink, panting. It felt like the room was spinning. She’s stalking my clan now?! No. No, no, no, no, no, no!
A knock came on the bathroom door.
“Ju? What’s going on? Are you okay?” Bik asked.
“No!” I shouted. “I think I will have that tea after all!”
“I’ll go get you a cup,” she said. I didn’t move until I heard footsteps walking away from the bathroom door. I sat down on the toilet and breathed out.
I haven’t told anyone about the visions.
They began the day we brought Jing home. At first, they came through blurry. Just bursts of bright colors before they quickly disappeared. Over the past week, these visions have gotten stronger. It always started out with lighting crashing in the sky. I find myself starting in a field covered in blood. Bodies litter the ground. The smell of death makes me want to throw up. Clashing steel draws my attention to the sky.
Two figures clashed with each other in the sky. They were so far up that I couldn’t see them. Neither wanted to yield. I tried screaming at them to stop but my voice couldn’t reach them.
That’s all I can remember from that vision. I have tried to remember what else happened but nothing came to my mind. But I am in a crisis. On the one hand, I want to forget. But on the other hand, I had to know. What did all of this mean? Why won’t that crazy woman leave me alone? What does she want with my son?
I sat at my kitchen table, trembling.
“Here, drink this,” Bik said as she handed me a cup of tea. I nodded as I took the cup. I took one quick gulp.
“Hot!” I shouted.
“Of course it is,” she said. “It was just brewed.” I nodded and took another slower drink. My baby started crying upstairs. I started to get up but Bik put her hand on my shoulder. I turned my head. She gave me a calm smile.
“Let me go take care of the little man,” Bik said. “You just sit there and enjoy your tea.” I settle back into place. But it did little to put me at ease. I mean, it’s Bik. She practically raised me as a baby. But still…
“I will be right back,” she said. I watched as she walked up the stairs. I stared down at my tea. I get that being a parent is being stressful but this is too much. I need to get a grip.
Suddenly, my phone rang. I looked up at the landline near the doorway. My attention turned to upstairs before I got up.
“Hello?” I asked.
“Hey, Ju,” Yao said on the other line. “What did you want me to pick up again?” I sighed and shook my head. For once, I was actually smiling to myself.
“Pizza, my love,” I said. “I want pizza for dinner tonight.” Yao chuckled to himself.
“Oh yeah, that’s right,” he said.
“Did you get distracted by the deals again?”
“I apologize, dear.”
I sat back down into my chair. “Nah, it’s fine. Just don’t forget again, okay?”
“I won’t. I promise.”
I chuckled to myself. “Okay.”
“I love you too.” I hung up with a goofy smile on my face. I leaned back in my chair and looked up at the ceiling. By now, I could hear Bik walking back down the stairs. I turned my head to see her standing in the kitchen doorway.
“He’s quieted down,” she said.
“Nice,” I said.
“I will have to leave for work in twenty minutes,” Bik told me. “Call me if you need to talk.”
“Okay,” I said. “Thank you.”
“Don’t forget that we are all here for you,” she added. “Have a good day.” Bik bowed and saw herself out. I turned my eyes back up to the ceiling as the door closed. I found myself smiling like a drunk cat. Somehow, I think I am going to survive this somehow.