• Vol. 04
  • Chapter 04


“Surely that can’t be her,” I mumble, holding the sepia photograph in my hand.
“Can’t be who?” my aunt asks.
“This picture, this can’t be Mum?” The last word chokes me, right in the back of the throat. My heart beats erratically as I force myself to swallow the wave of grief rising up inside of me.

Aunt Cathy laughs, accepting the photo from my shaking hand. “Oh that’s Mai alright,” she smiles, “when she was part of the circus.”
“The what?”
“The circus. Didn’t Mai, your Mum, ever tell you about it?”
I shake my head, cursing my tears.

I begin to search through all the images stored in my head, the ones related to Mum. The ones that mean she’s still alive even though her mortal body is gone. She could be kind, she could be stern. She always worked hard, took great care of me and my Dad. Mentioned once when pressed how hard it was to come to a new country. To be both a physical and a mental alien. She had loved my father too much to refuse his offer. Everyone called her his ‘porcelain doll.’ A fisherman from the West, who went East, and caught something unexpected in his net. These are the things I find, nothing else. I try sifting through it all again, a little slower. We told each other everything, so why can I not remember anything about it? My grief twists itself into a ball of anger. Indignation rises at my sense of betrayal, of my being excluded.

“No, she never mentioned it,” I manage to say.