Through the priest she got work as a
maid at the Sainte Claire Hotel and had a steady, if modest, income. They moved
from one old farm house to another for cheap rent and supplemental farm income.
She stayed with Dad as he rescued her and accepted Rickie. Her working and his
gambling and carousing made more sense now and why she never talked about her
past or family and her fears of my getting pregnant before marriage.
Dad's puppet shadow on life's screen suddenly appeared as a star. I asked what she knew of his history but she knew none before Hawaiian Gardens. We cried together a different mother and daughter.
Thinking of her puppet shadow, a
raped young girl, sold pregnant to a brothel for US military in Honolulu by her
own father, forced to have an abortion, shipped as sex slave with child to a
Chinese brothel in San Francisco, escaping and scrambling to survive in Santa
Clara Valley farm labor camps, chasing tips as a waitress and being rescued by
my father kept tears welling up as we hugged and sobbed.
It then hit, hit me hard, all her efforts to protect Rickie were snuffed out in a senseless maneuver accomplishing nothing in Vietnam. I finally understood the extent of her loss. It was the closest we ever were. Still stunned after Mom's revelations I continued to sit in her yard letting the California sun dry out the Pacific Northwest rain and absorb our conversation.
Monday morning, after showering and
dressing, I left twenty dollars for the maid with a note saying it was for her
so she wouldn’t turn it in as lost.
Watching the business men read their paper before rushing off to do a "deal", I mused how my husband dove into his newspaper with coffee in the morning before all else including conversation. As I poured tea from its pot, I realized but refused to admit.
My family assumptions are so wrong.
An ugly revelation was churning in my mind's gut.
Driving to the University, the dark
thought I was repressing began to surface, a vile thought, worst ever to cross
my mind but still it came no matter how I tried to not think it, to think of
something else, anything else.