I slept for the first time in three weeks, but I woke up without feeling refreshed. My thoughts immediately picked up speed and brought back this unbearable headache. When I walked out of my room, my dad called me, “I am not going to work for now. I will accompany you every day and talk you out of your problem. This is a crisis and we will deal with it together.” I saw a lot of confidence in his eyes. Did he really think this is a problem that he can “talk me out of”? The kind of evil force reigning over me was way out of his league.
After breakfast, my dad brought me to Bluffer’s Park. We walked slowly along the beach. The balmy sun and the breezy air made a perfect couple. The gorgeous weather suddenly magnified my depression. My dad led me toward a bush of wild flowers. They were blossoming in their prime. “Look how beautiful they are! How beautiful life is. Isn’t life worth living?” I replied silently, yes, they are beautiful, but I don’t think anything beautiful is made for me.
We sat down on a bench facing the peaceful lake. A little boy was flying his kite. His dog was running after him. There was an old man sitting not far from the boy, calling after him to be careful. My dad said, “Look, we will have a life like that. We will be happy again. I know you always want a dog. I promise I will get you one.” As I stared at the smile on that boy’s face, I was jealous of his pure and genuine happiness, a reflection of a life without hurt, sorrow, and of course, depression. His dog was even more eye catching. It was jumping up and down and furiously wagging its tail. That son of a bitch was better off than me.
“Dad, last night I heard you say something about the fortune-teller. What did you mean by that?” My dad sighed. “I never believed in things like that . . . The year when we were applying for immigration, I met a fortune-teller on the street. I was with my friends at the time. A man approached us and insisted on telling me my fortune. I said I was not interested. Meanwhile, my friends wanted to hear theirs. The fortune-teller ignored them and said he only wanted to do business with me. I was persuaded by his determination. He told me that the year 1998 would be a turning point for me, which was true because we were about to come to Canada. He also predicted that when I turn forty-five years old, something will happen to my child. He did not know what.” He paused for a few seconds, “He also said whatever it is, she will get over it.” I was stunned. Is this whole thing meant to happen? Did he really say I would “get over it”? My dad thought of something and chuckled. “Why are you laughing, Dad?” “The fortune-teller also predicted that I would be extraordinarily wealthy.” He said it with sarcasm.
After we left the park, my dad drove me to a temple. It was a place of worship for many of his Chinese coworkers. Although I never knew much about the Christian God, I always believed there was something out there, some supernatural being that had a lot of power and authority over mankind. I was pretty sure that this big boss had no affection for me. As we stepped into the dimmed temple, I felt a chill penetrating my flesh. There was a spell in the air, mystic and spooky. I saw three wooden statues of idols towering at the center. They looked horrifying with their eyes wide open. They were holding some kind of object that reminded me of my elementary school teacher with her spanking ruler. An invisible force in the temple weakened my knees and compelled me to bow. I felt like if I were to stare at the idols for one more second, they would punish me and make my life even more miserable than it already was. I dropped to my knees on one of the mats and pressed my face against the floor. I could almost taste the dust and dirt. I sobbed quietly, “Please help me get over this, please help me, please help me . . .” Then, I bowed and bowed like the way I saw worshippers did on TV.