Written by Queen Spurlock
This wasn’t how I expected my life, especially tonight, to play out- it definitely wasn’t the life I wanted.
Sitting in the chilly, well-lit airport, scattered feet and wheels dragged along the spotted gray concrete floors. The rhythmic clatter encompassed me. Worry and melancholy washed over me as I felt a small kick. I rubbed my belly, soothing the flutters.
I can feel my heart and mind going to war. In my mind, I had this great resentment for this thing growing within me because of its father. But in my heart, I pictured the moments I would spend with this child. Potty training. Teaching them to talk. Their first day of pre-k (where I would stand crying, claiming they grew up too fast). Imagining the loud tears, and soft giggles, the warmth of their body, I know I can’t do anything but give my all to them.
This all surfaced as the small, fluttering kicks reminded me that this baby was all mine. Regardless of the father. I finally looked up, not realizing I had a few warm tears strolling down my cheeks. One landed on my lips leaving a salty aftertaste.
I proceeded with caution as a security guard beckoned me to a payphone. A chill froze my body and left my mouth agape as I picked up the line. On the other end was the low voice of my husband Song Jun- if I could actually call him that.
Where is he? How does he know where I am? How did the security guard know who I was?
I slammed the phone back onto its hook. That was stupid of me. I abandoned everything, covering my head with my hoodie, and shading my eyes with sunglasses. I moved meticulously, gliding through the crowd. Bumping into people, I received a few hushed curses. Nearing the exit, a sigh escaped my mouth as I thought “I’m in the clear.” I thought too soon… My cell began to vibrate… “Unknown”. I had to answer. I knew it was him. He wouldn’t stop. I heard his loud, deep, booming voice carry over through the line, calling my name. “Jade! Jade.” The first call an acknowledging one, while the second, a warning. How did he get this number? I’ve changed it twice already. But again, did you forget who he is? What he does… “Jade!” His voice this time raspier, carried enough menace to send chills down my spine.
Somehow I manage to stay on the line, fear of what might happen if I dared to hang up. He continued speaking, his voice now clear and cutting. “You would have nothing if it weren’t for us. No family. No name. No fortune. No worth. Plus, who would even want you now, a low-life pregnant girl with no family of her own. Pathetic, like your father. You should be honored that I want you,” Jun spat.
Is he right? Am I nothing more than a worthless lowlife like my father? Or another basket case that had nothing good to offer? I mean. Tell me, who would want an “unwed”, pregnant with another man’s child, poor, orphan? I mean I would have been on the streets, and no telling how bad life would have been- would I have ended up like my father? I guess this could work.
I don’t know why, but I was still running through that zoo of an airport. My legs moved like wind. Now shoving people left and right, I received full curses. Yet, none of that mattered as I thought about the man on the other line coercing me. I wanted to get away. Another string of calls came over the receiver, “Jade, you can’t run forever.” Of course I knew I wouldn’t be able to run forever. This baby pressing on my bladder will have me done in about ten minutes max. But shit how did he know I was running?
“You know I’ll find you. You know you’ll be mine right? You do know that, right?” That last statement came out as if I was bruising his ego by running away. But, I knew it was all part of his mind tricks.
I finally made it outside, flagging down a taxi. My hands were clammy, sweat causing my clothes to hug my body and the fringes of my bangs to cling to my forehead. If emotions could be smelt, my entire being no doubt reeked of fear as sweat and musk radiated off of me. I took steady breaths for the fifteen-minute drive to a hotel. I didn’t pay attention to the devilish grin on the taxi driver’s face. If only I would have noticed.
Now here I sat in Jun’s apartment. I blinked my eyes a couple of times, adjusting to the lights that occupied the room where I found myself. How the hell did I get here? As I tried remembering what happened after the taxi ride, I heard the whistle of a kettle. Is he seriously making tea? I shook my head. Why? Then it all hit me. Does he think that for one second I will forgive him- especially after he kidnapped me?
When the taxi reached the hotel, night had fallen and my head was still racing. While trying to close the door, my phone slipped from my hand, landing with a clink on the damp concrete. Before I could react, a large, calloused hand wrapped around my mouth, my body flush against the owner. “Tag. I gotcha.” A sob erupted inside as I recognized his voice. “I told you, you would be mine, you can’t escape.” With those words, my eyes flickered and the world faded black, as a sharp point penetrated my neck.
“Everything is fine my dear,” he said as soft as his loutish voice would allow. The feeling of something cool on my forehead startled me until I realized it was only a wet towel. “Hold that,” he said coldly as he receded to the kitchen. I brought my hand up to the still damp towel, miffed with his shift in attitude, but not surprised.
I take the time to try and reacquaint myself with Jun’s spacious and supremely clean home. It’s never been my home. My eyes start at the kitchen, keeping tabs on the man as he leans over two cups. The kitchen is very sleek and modernist, sporting a variety of black shades. Splashes of marble decorating the counters and backdrop. The living room is as classy and modern as the kitchen. But it is brighter: with its gray walls, large white leather sectional, and glass coffee table. I would’ve taken more time to observe the rare scatters of decorations, but my attention shifted. Now focused on the sound of shuffling within the kitchen. I sat in a black metal framed chair with pads on the armrests. For comfort I suppose–far from what I’m feeling. I didn’t want to be anywhere near him and thinking of it made me nauseous.
Jun returned, two steaming cups of tea in hand. “Chamomile tea, one teaspoon of honey, two teaspoons of sugar. You were always into sweets. And a splash of almond milk. Your favorite right?” His voice dead, yet still holding a sense of authority. I didn’t know what to think as he placed the warm mug between my petite hands. I nodded in thanks and raised the cup to my lips. Reveling in the warmth it brought–a stark contrast to the slight chill in the room. He kneeled between my legs and placed his hand on my thighs.
“So Jade. Why do you continue to try and leave me? My family has been nothing but good to you. Since that worthless pig of a father of yours gave you up to fulfill his selfish desires of suicide. We gave you food, shelter, education. All I asked for was your hand in marriage, yet you seem incapable of realizing the debt you owe. I protected you, you know. There were people who wanted you, but I wouldn’t have that. Because you’re mine. I want to be in my child’s life. I want you to come back. You will come back”
I have to be honest, I knew he had a point. Song Jun and I had married a year and a half ago, under the will of his parents, after my twentieth birthday. I didn’t want to marry him, but as a payment for bringing me into his family, they thought fit that I marry their eldest son. His family took me in after my father committed suicide. My father did it out of grievance for my late mother and brother who died in childbirth. I understand how he might find this pathetic, but he’s never known the loss I suffered. Jun’s family is one of the wealthiest families in Hong Kong. They lead an immaculate business enterprise. Because of their care, I had the most prestigious schooling and extracurricular. They trained me up in the way of business. I spent a fair amount of time working alongside Mrs. Song as a translator. While Jun spent time training under his father, who always seemed to maintain privacy.
And the marriage, well that often felt more like a business proposal than the union of two souls. Which me being the hopeless romantic sap I am, never settled well. Seven months into the marriage, I found out that Jun partakes in gang activity. Which if you haven’t picked up on yet is how he found me. I remember Song Jun being in the shower, steam seeping out from under the closed door. The eerie fog creeping along the floor, dissipated as it met the cool air of the bedroom. A buzz sounded in the room, an incoming text plastering itself on his screen. Who could be texting him this late? Is it a mistress? This could be my ticket for a divorce! My body moved of its accord, his phone finding refuge in my hands. “Meet me at the docks. Boss has a job for you.” Who is this, and what boss is he talking about? And what “Job”?
Not soon after my discovery, on our one year anniversary, I found out I was pregnant. In secret, I left, wanting nothing to do with him. I decided it was time for me to go. I packed the bare necessities, stealing away like a thief in the middle of the night. I’ve been on the run ever since, going from hotel to hotel. Yet, he always seems to know where to find me. No doubt that he had eyes on me every waking moment.
His words flowed out of him at an incomprehensible state. My thoughts derailed with every syllable. I couldn’t figure out the tone in his voice. Was it one of a man wishing to be a proper husband and father, or one who wished to gain control over his prey. And was the voice in my head one of a girl longing for love, or foolish prey falling into his trap. His statement played on loop within my mind. Two dragons began to wage war inside my mind. Could I learn to support and cherish him, for the sake of our child at least? But do I want my child growing up with someone who one minute was holding you protectively, only to turn around and strike you with a sharp tongue. And let’s not forget his involvement in such a menacing occupation. But, it is important that a child grows up with both parents. Especially when one is so well off to provide for him. With that, the baby started to move, interrupting my train of thought.
Tears pricked at the corners of my eyes. His hot hands found refuge on my cold ones, the burn of skin causing a flinch. At this point, the hot liquid flowing like a river down my cheeks, tinting them a rosy color that stung. With a pull of the heart, I put my tea down and grabbed his hand. Placing it on the underside of my belly where the baby continued to look for a new position. I looked up from our hands and gazed into his eyes. A small glint appearing in them. His facial features softening- something I’ve never seen. Did images of a regular life with me and this baby cross his mind? My heart danced as I thought of these images as well. Could we do this? Can this baby change him?
“Now, know this, if you even try to pull any stunts again… well, I’ll leave that up to you if you want to find out.