A short, third excerpt from ‘Family Sorrow’


“Mama, what happened at lunch? Why did you behave so strangely?” asked Russell, as he walked through the main front door and into the apartment.

Mae did not say anything as she made her way over to the couch and sat down.

“She is not the right girl for you,” said Mae sternly.

“What? I thought you couldn’t wait to meet Elena,” said Russell, confused.

“I was happy and excited to meet her, until I actually saw her.”

“Mama, I don’t understand what you are trying to say.”

“You didn’t tell me she was Eurasian.”

“Does it matter?”

Mae’s eyes widened as she looked at Russell.

“Of course it matters. She is only half-Chinese. Why can’t you find a pure, traditional, proper Chinese girl?”

Russell could not believe what he was hearing.

“Mama, why are you talking like that? What you are saying is not right.”

“What I am saying is not right? I have the right to an opinion,” said Mae angrily, as she slammed her right hand hard on the arm of the couch.

And then she turned to look at Liam, who was standing and looking at Russell and Mae with a blank expression.

“And that goes the same for you as well. Learn this mistake from your brother.”

Liam remained quiet. At this point, Russell was confused and angry at what he was hearing.

“You think I’m making a mistake being with Elena?”


“I don’t understand what the problem is.”

“The problem is that she is Eurasian.”

“What is wrong with Elena being Eurasian?”

“Everything about her is wrong. And besides, I don’t want my grandchildren to be half-caste.”

“Mama, please watch your language. Whether Elena is Eurasian or not, she is still a human-being just like the rest of us.”

“I like Elena. She seems nice,” said Liam.

“Be quiet, Liam,” snapped Mae.

Russell could not believe what he was seeing and hearing from Mae.

“You better decide if you want to continue your relationship with that Eurasian. If you do, then do not expect me to ever talk to you again. Or you can find yourself a pure, traditional, proper Chinese girl.”

“I cannot believe I’m hearing all of this. Are you hearing yourself? Why are you being like this? Why are you discriminating against Elena? You don’t even know what a wonderful person she is.”

But Mae just ignored Russell as she stood up.

“I’m tired. I am going to lie down for a while. During the meantime, I hope you will do the right thing,” said Mae.

And then she started making her way to her bedroom.

“This is not over yet, Mama,” said Russell angrily.

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