Our short story of the week is a story about communication by Jane Lo.
Jane Lo lives in Hong Kong with her husband and two young children. She was raised in Hong Kong and Vancouver, and holds degrees in English Literature and Religion. She is a teacher; in the past, she taught secondary school English and Religious Studies, and now teaches academic English in the university setting. She sometimes leads creative writing workshops at the university library, and focuses on encouraging students to tell their own stories through creative nonfiction. In her own time, she likes to write short stories and personal essays, and is now working on her first novel. Her writing often revolves around the issues she mulls over most – faith, parenting, marriage, in-law relationships, insecurity. Maa Maa is her first published story.
Maa Maa explores a generational and cultural divide between a grandmother and her grandson.
‘I ring the bell and wait at the door alone today. Tung said he was feeling achy and needed to lie down. That sounds grand, really, what with this humidity. And yet I cannot bring myself to stay away. Our grandson doesn’t care for us, but he knows us. If we do not come, who knows how soon it will be before he forgets us completely and regards us as strangers? And so I come.
The door swings open. My daughter-in-law is holding him, already coaxing him to greet me. I know this, although she is not speaking a language I speak or understand. It is always this way.
“Baby,” she is saying in a wheedling tone, even though he is already more than two years old. She is not beautiful, my daughter-in-law. My son tells me she is very well educated, but I am privately of the view that the years of costly overseas study have not done much to add to her appearance. She has a very common face, easily lost in a crowd. I do not like to say so, but I am still bewildered as to why my son is so smitten with her.‘