I’m posting a section a day of my epistolary romance novella The Perilous Life of Jade Yeo. You can read it online for free here (click on the “Perilous Life of Jade Yeo” category to access the other posts), or you can buy the ebook at Smashwords or Amazon. The ebook contains the complete 23,000-word novella.
Sunday, 3rd April 1921
I dreamt of my father last night. Ma comes to me in dreams sometimes, usually to say something pointed about money or the state of my clothes, but Pa never. He wasn’t there to give advice; it was a remembering sort of dream.
Pa had just had an argument with my grandfather, and I was upset. I don’t remember what the argument was about, but I remember Pa sitting by me and explaining, as he always did whenever anything frightened me. And as always he was making everything all right again.
“You have a better brain than your old father,” he said. “Even a better brain than your brothers. What have I worked all these years for if not so I can bring up my children the way I want to?
“My girl, remember this. Your father will never begrudge how much he is spending on your education. Don’t believe those who will say because you are a girl it is useless. Learning is never useless. You will make something of yourself because you are my daughter.
“But don’t prove them right. Don’t let your freedom make you disobedient. Don’t go wild like those European women. Remember your family. Then it will all be worth it.”
I woke up half-believing I was still there, in the kitchen with the sun shining on the table, with my father next to me. I had to go around my room, touching everything in it, before the cold worked its way into my fingers and toes and drove me back to bed. Then I believed I was here.
It was only when I laid my head on my pillow again that I felt the wetness on it, and realised I was still crying. The tears oozed out of my eyes as if they weren’t my eyes, or my tears. It wasn’t me who was crying, but someone long ago and far away. Someone who still trusted everything her family told her.
I wish Ravi were here.