Blind, (Love is)

He is passionate. He is unconcerned. He is unashamed, and untameable, and signifies everything I should not love. And he'll never know.

She feels her jaw muscles tighten as she tries not to cry.

"Do you think other Chinese girls go out so late? Do you think their parents let them? Why do you think Mrs Chang put her girls in an all girl's school?"

She yells back, but Mother never cares for a second opinion. Mother is oblivious of the aforesaid girls and texts they send her; their cosmetic habits; the secret boyfriends...

"Do you want to get pregnant and bring shame on us? No one will want their daughters to associate with you! Look at you, dressed up like that, so mature, so-- " here a crude dialect phrase, almost funny because it is not a nightclub or sleepover, but a ceilidh that she wants to go to. She tries to imagine illicit folksy romance blossoming to the tune of O'Carolan, and is interrupted:

"– Dancing with english boys who aren't interested in you!"

It hurts because somewhere, she is right.

Mother appeals to father, whose brows tauten, but remains silent. Mother wails and laments at this tart of a daughter that does not listen. She wishes she could be like her friends with their better jobs and better english, and wishes so much that her mind turned sour and her tongue to acid, and makes no lasting friends. She wishes her girl would stay at home and be a pretty doll with a degree (economics/medicine) in her head. Her greatest fear: that her daughter will marry a caucasian.

"It's a dance!" the retort, "It finishes at half ten and it's just a dance!"

And I want to see him. And I want him to see me. And I need them to see me so they don't forget me, and think that I am perhaps, and always were, one of them.

She walks hurriedly through the october dusk, triumphant, but sickened by the argument. The church hall is five minutes away, but she is used to being dropped off by watchful parents and picked up exactly ten minutes before curfew. Nervous with anticipation as the uplifting sound of folk wafts out, she makes her way in, putting on that ready smile and greeting those puppet friends.

And there: handsome, composed, she inwardly melts to see him –

And there, sitting on his lap…

"Got together last week. One of those things that just happen." puppet friend mumbles over the band, "About time, really. "

And she masks with a twisted smile the tear that has just appeared in her heart. The last piece of her falls away, collapsed, and she never saw it coming. Numb, she goes to joins her group, eyes avoiding the laughing girl on his lap – her friend; still tries to sit within his view.

Nothing would have happened. But now I can never tell him.

He doesn't even look at her.