The Hidden Seduction-Part IV-3 – Windmills of Ferocious Giants!

Posted by & filed under Personal.

200px-Don_Quijote_and_Sancho_Panza

Part IV-3 – Windmills of Ferocious Giants!

It was the end of 2010, only the second month into this long dreadful winter. Winter was like a whining middle-aged woman who had just started her grouch in the early evening! No matter how long winter lasts, spring will eventually replace it and wash the street salt away with fresh rain, and yet it is normal that some could not see Nature in all of its mighty transformative power.

Ou Yang had obviously not noticed that she had slowly changed. She had always been an assertive, principled woman. If you were on her side, she would protect you as she protects herself. If you had done her a favor, she would return it in such a hurry that you would wonder if she had accepted the favor just in order to return it! But if you did not do what she asked for, then you risked becoming a bad person in her eyes.

Now she was losing her confidence bit by bit, and she became quite confused about her life and her husband. The fact that they were settled down with a son and a nice cottage didn’t seem enough anymore. Something was lacking. Something very important…something even more serious than just not having sex!

She would invite herself over to her friend’s house for lunch, only to grumble over the whole meal:

“Oh, I am really fed up with him. He has been passive like that the whole time!”

“Look what kind of family he comes from! Hopeless!”  And then she would recount the complete version of the fight they had over the previous weekend.

They lived in Quebec where they had to find a way to survive almost five months of winter, and Sonny also wanted to go skiing like many of his classmates. It seemed like a lot of fun! Ou Yang would have done anything for her son, not mention that this was a good and healthy sport. Ge Wen only agreed to accompany them,  reckoned that he was too old to learn, but at the urge and persuasion of Ou Yang that their son needed his dad to be with him, he reluctantly agreed to try.

Sonny was a pro on the beginner’s slope; he was very excited  but did not even fall once. It seemed that he was a born talent at keeping his balance on his skis! But his father was just awkward, clumsy, and miserable. He fell, struggled to get up, and fell again. The time he spent on his feet was clearly much less than the time spent on his buttocks. Eventually he gave up, despite the help of their friends, one of whom was a professional ski coach and another a great assistant.

“No, don’t give up! Not just yet!” Ou Yang yelled at him.

At the same time, there was never the slightest indication of losing hope or a glimpse of frustration from Ou Yang. She hung on, she fell, but stood up and went on!

Ge Wen stopped after 30 minutes and decided that it was not his thing.

“No! It is not my thing neither! But we have to learn to be with Sonny. And it is good for us to pass the long winter this way as well.”  Neither reason moved Ge Wen even a single step further.

As time passed and there was no improvement of their situation, Ou Yang began to lose her discretion.  Her comments started to become more open, direct, and scornful and her judgments became harsher and more bitter. She would blame everything on Ge Wen and her scolding would often be extended to his family. Ge Wen’s family was what had made him such a loser! She had tried to keep her son from hearing her comments and insults at the beginning, but gradually she just could not care that much anymore.

Ou Yang had a somewhat rough, loud voice and a special way of speaking that would show her keen attitude on subjects very well. Her voice would get rougher and louder when she vented about her unhappy feelings and concerns. This special way of speaking showed exactly how strongly she believed that all of her unhappiness came from anyone else but herself. The louder she raised her voice, the more she reckoned that she was the only one who suffered. Her sad tone made her seem the only real victim in this misery-free world. The repetition of her stories was persuading her friends and herself that she was free of any unfortunate wrong doing.

The moment she started thinking about divorce, she could have cared less of what she was saying about her husband. In fact, she was subconsciously making her husband the cause of the divorce in front of her friends, as many instinctively do to protect themselves. Well, it was his fault! She never missed a chance to make herself a victim to arouse sympathy or support. When the custody issue came into her mind, her subconscious had become a clear conscience.  She had to make it clear to her son and families the reasons of her leaving his dad if it ever happened.

It was not her fault; it was absolutely the dad’s! Somewhere in her whimpering, it came to light that Ge Wen had done something during his first six months in Montreal, before Ou Yang’s arrival.  He had had an affaire with a Chinese girl, something like a one-night stand.  That adulterous moment eventually became the centre of her blame, and a true problem overall. It was something that used to be a much more serious crime, under penalty of death in Mao’s time, but which has become such a cliché in modern life.

Many people are always keen on finding out why people divorce.  There needs to be a good reason, a reason that other people can understand and agree on. Ou Yang had them all ready for both families in China to approve: Ge Wen’s passiveness, and the worst of all, that one-night-stand!  It was never clear if it really happened, knowing Ge Wen’s personality and loyalty to Ou Yang in the first years of their marriage, or if it was just an invention of Ou Yang’s to make her look righteous in front of her friends and to have a real reason for divorce to hand over to the two families.

Don Quixote’s battle was with the windmills as ferocious giants, while Ou Yang’s was an invisible one-sided battle with herself and with the part of her from where she came from.  The weapon of choice of the thin-limbed fragile Don Quixote was a rather imaginative sword, while Ou Yang’s weapons were words, limited and blunt to the senses but real and piercingly sharper than the sword. Her words became malicious and deadly poisonous, not only to Ge Wen and her friends, but also to Ou Yang herself. They depicted not only her husband, but her whole family collectively as wimps, made her friends afraid of seeing her, and made her winter days shorter, with long, dark nights.

Gradually, the battle reached the next level. She couldn’t stop worrying about her son. She was not sure if he would survive the divorce.  What she never realized was that a child can worry much less than an adult!

“Your dad does not love Mommy any more! But Mommy will be ok if Sonny is ok. Sonny will love mommy forever… Right?”

Of course, her son would usually nod.

Sometimes she could be very proud of her son in front of her friends:

“Oh, My son is just so sweet. I was feeling down the other night and I was crying, and then he came to me and said: Mommy, don’t cry! I love you! I Daddy does not love you any more, I will love you! I will be your husband!”

A six year old boy who would also tell her that he would grow up faster and help Mommy by making more money.

Children are not adults, but we sometimes mistakenly regard and treat them as if they were. At his young age, Sonny naturally had barely the notion of right and wrong, but now he was taught whom to blame; even though he was a positive, upbeat kid, he was led into a world full of mother-induced fears and worries. A child is a blank piece of paper, reflecting whatever is  painted upon it. What is borne into him will become the base for his future and part of his life forever.

Nevertheless, it must be said that Ou Yang had always been a smart one. She did listen to some advice not to talk badly about the father in front of her kid, but it was impossible for her to evade her conscious worries and fears when speaking with Sonny. She had no idea of the divorcing procedure and custody issues, she could not see with whom she might end up in her future, and neither could she know how her son would handle it all. She felt very afraid in this world now, a cold world far away from her mother and sisters. She had no one else but her son to lean on, just like Don Quixote only had Sancho Panza.

Ou Yang was in the dark. She did not know what to think any more, or what other irreconcilable differences could be found to justify her reason for wanting to seek a divorce. She was like a blindfolded person probing in a place where the air was thinning out and the light was going dim. She tried everything: being nice, being cold, being indifferent, being malicious, threatening, talking to friends, talking to her son, but nothing worked. Absolutely nothing had worked the way she had hoped, and no one seemed to have helped at all the way she wanted…

She was waiting for Elizabeth to come, her missionary, her salvation and last hope.

On one cold and sunny day, when Ou Yang was busy in the office dealing with purchasing orders, an e-mail appeared in her mail box. It was from Elizabeth! She bent over her desk and quickly opened it.  She sat, stunned, with her pencil in her mouth: “Sweet Ou Yang, I am very, very sorry that I cannot come to Montreal this time…”

“What?”  She sank into her chair… “She is not coming… not coming…”

Ou Yang remained motionless for a while, her eyes staring out into the sky, already dark at 4pm. For a moment, she felt the absolute silence and herself as if she did not exist. When she awoke, she turned her head back down to her desk, only to find the neat orders full of smeared and blurred letters. She silently went out into the corridor, where she bent over the water fountain…

 

To Be Continued…

The Hidden Seduction – Part VIII 2 – Trust (2)

Posted by & filed under Personal.

trust-building2The Hidden Seduction – Part VIII 2 – Trust (2)

 

Ou Yang wanted to know François better, to ease the worries of her sisters and mother back in China. Yet deep down in her heart, their concerns were hers as well. Her family did not help her by putting more doubt in her mind.

Her family had liked Ge Wen – though not as an extraordinary person but as a kindhearted Mr. Yes. But now they had not the faintest idea about Francois. Photos wouldn’t add up, and a light smile on his face would not trigger any curiosity about him or change their total ignorance of “foreigners.” They would tell Ou Yang not to laugh too early before she got to know him.

“Hmmm, we don’t know them! They are different from us! They do not understand the qin qing (亲情) of our culture, the close blood relationship and feelings between family members,” Ou Yang’s family warned her.

Those green-eyed ghosts, who once invaded China and drove the Last Emperor and the Dowager Cixi to Xi’an, were becoming someone who might someday visit them as their son-in-law. That was scary. Not that François was scary, but that they did not know how to handle this new thing. They would be absolutely out of orbit.

Ou Yang came to see Simone one late afternoon on the way back home after running some errands. She found Simone in her front garden watering the plants.

She had a secret mission this time. Oug Yang wanted Simone to check Francois’s credit, to see if he was a good, reliable man. She knew that as a real estate broker, Simone had the mechanism and contacts to check credit. Ou Yang’s short encounter and love affaire with the young French man Mathiux Galland over a decade ago in China had left her with nothing solid about seriously dating a Westerner.

Simone was so astonished by Ou Yang’s request that for quite a moment, she did not know how to respond. Ignoring her demands, she bent down over some weeds and pulled out the roots. Ou Yang, it seemed, was incapable of trusting the normal ways of judging François’ character, and perhaps Ou Yang assumed that a foreigner’s behavior could indicate different meanings from what she was used to. She had to go as far as to check out Francois in such a drastic, almost ‘professional’ way.

After a moment of silence, Simone said coldly, almost sarcastically, “Of course I’d like to do it for you. But the problem is, in order to do a credit check, I need to have an authorization letter written and signed by François himself. And we need his social insurance number, address and some other pertinent information.”

Having lived in Canada for ten years, Ou Yang couldn’t say she didn’t know the rules, but she was asking Simone for a favor, and to get it done without Francois’s consent. Plus Ou Yang had all the necessary information ready; all that was missing was his signature.

But Simone had been working in the Canadian system as a professional long enough to have a strong sense of what was considered “right and wrong.” As the older person with more conscience, she had no problem refusing her friend’s indecent request in the end.

Slowly, as Ou Yang got to know more about François, more and more was revealed about Ou Yang at the same time too.

One day, over the phone, Ou Yang finally told Simone the reason she wanted to check François’ credit: François had asked to borrow $3,000 to fill in an emergency cash flow shortage. She hadn’t been able to believe that the man she was dating would ever ask to borrow money from her. It had made her eyes pop and her mouth drop wide open. In her mind, no foreigner would ever ask to borrow money from his girlfriend, especially from someone who was more or less a single mother with only a regular job.

Even Simone had a hard time believing that a decent, experienced Canadian businessman would turn to his relatively new girlfriend in an emergency instead of going through his usual and reliable professional channels.

It was nearly impossible for Ou Yang to digest. She had thought she was dating a prince who was rich with money and void of any of life’s mundane problems. It was hard for her to see beyond the material, beyond the BMW X5, which, in her eyes, was a symbol of doing just fine. But this money issue had created a contradiction in all she knew and saw about Francois. She was beginning to think that her mother and sisters might be right about things. After dating him more than six month, she still didn’t really know him!  She stopped smiling.

 

To Be Continued…

 

The Hidden Seduction – Part VIII 2 – Trust (1)

Posted by & filed under Personal.

1441455451_heart_vs_mind_xlarge

 

Part VIII 2 – Trust (1)

Sometimes, we find that we are not in as favourable a situation in life as we had wished. Elizabeth felt that this was her case.

When one went through big life changes such as hers – loyal wife and lovely, capable mother of four relocating everything, including her own soul in relation to herself and her god – it took a great deal of courage and trust to hold her shaking limbs and heart and continue to find a way out.

Elizabeth finally met a nice guy through friends in early 2011, after unsuccessful tries on Internet. She was such a romantically powerful woman that she could easily overlook the difficulties of being hundreds of miles away from her new lover. She lived in Cayuga Heights, a suburb of Ithaca in New York, while Patrick Simard lived in Burlington, a US city close to the border of Quebec. He taught at Université De Quebec À Montréal before becoming a professor of sociology at The University of Vermont in 2002. He had never married and had no kids; Patrick came to Elizabeth’s world by a rare lucky chance.

After the prolonged after-effects of divorce – sleepless nights, endless dates and cups of coffee, disturbing and upsetting arguments about right and wrong – Elizabeth felt happy and relaxed with Patrick. Patrick suited her. He could engage her in long, interesting conversations and offer her food for thought in a scholarly way. Patrick, on the other hand, found Elizabeth passionate and interesting, trusting and daring, and above all, intuitive.

Spring came especially early in 2012. Early spring in Montreal means the beginning of May, when people start shopping for their gardens. Ou Yang had a little garden at the back of her cottage where the perennials were starting to bud. She frowned, though, seeing them grow so quickly overnight in the rising temperatures and nourishing warm rains; she had no time to look after them, nor was she in the mood to do anything else than get by her job and life with her son

The previous year, her friend Simone did some thing revolutionary to her own garden, after tearing out the grass completely, designed and executed a natural garden plan with the help of her adult son. She then started planning for the last long and narrow piece of land that ran along the side of her building, adjacent to her neighbor’s on the left. A train of bush half-dead from bugs and exposed roots served as The Middle Line dividing the two properties. The grass was scarce and eaten away by the persistent dandelions. Simone hated to have to keep two lawn mowers, one for the patch and one for the edges. She planed to get rid of the ugly grass and heavy lawn mowerscompletely.

One day, Simone found the kind of plant that suited her purposes. This plant would spread to cover the ground, instead of growing so tall that she’d have to cut them every ten days. Now, she could finally get rid of the dirty, hard-to-start mower. She went to Home Depot, Reno-Depot, and all the other garden centers, and bought all the thyme off their shelves. She planted two hundred roots of thyme on this piece of land, measuring one meter in width and thirty meters in length.

Thyme was chosen among many other climbing plants and they were planted on May 18th that year. They grew so fast that they soon covered the spaces in between in just a month and half. Nature displayed all its charm and power in such a short time.

Ou Yang did not show much of her happiness with new boyfriend François. Maybe it was because she was too busy with her job and son to have time to stop for even a second to enjoy her new state of mind, or even new ways of sex. Or maybe it was because she was still in a testing period when she was not allowed to release herself completely to enjoy!

Chinese do not ever talk about sexual feelings to any one – not to family, not even to friends. So no one could really know how she really felt sexually about François, except from her complaints that her husband Ge Wen was not doing much in the couple years before things blew up.

When the long expected dream came true for Ou Yang, the charm of the dream suddenly disappeared, which made Ou Yang even more perplexed and frustrated….

 

 

To Be Continued…

Maison de Transition – Relief ( A True Story in Daily Life )

Posted by & filed under Personal.

human trust image

 

I rented an apartment in May to a Quebecois guy called Mathieu Dufort (name changed)-a 32 years old young man with a boy of age 6 (not living with him). He told me that his credit was not good because of something he did back in 2007.

It is hard to have someone very clean for a little one person apartment. The key turns around within the group of people of great uncertainty – no stable job, no good credit, usually single with not much education.

Mathieu sounded responsible on the phone and appeared with his son on time when the appointment came. He seemed correct and told me directly about his bad credit, but with no debt. He was honest, I thought. He wanted to move in 1st of June, but the old lease would terminate till after June 30th. He insisted in waiting for a month, crashing in with one of his friends.

The lease was signed from 1st of July 2013 to 30th of June 2014.
June 30th came, there was no call for the keys. I left a message on 1st of July inquiring about his absence. No answer. Another message, no answer.

“Fuck, another asshole!”

I had to rent it again besides the loss of at least one month’s rent.

A few days ago, I missed a call from an unknown number. This person also left a message. Guess what, it was Mathieu. I followed the instruction and called him back. I was very curious.  The number belonged to an institution that I didn’t even know what it was: Maison de Transition. No one answered, so I left a message to the name Mathieu Dufort, telling him that I would wait till 21st of July to cancel the lease at the Rental Board  and to claim a year’s rent from him.

In the afternoon of the same day, when I was driving on René-Levésque, a call came in. I recognized the number and knew who was calling, of course.

To my surprise, now I know what Maison de Transition is. He was arrested on June 2nd and put in prison ever since for something he did in 2007, he told me.
I had been angry and disappointed because of his total disappearance. Now, I felt I was relieved and even a bit happy to have heard from him at all. It was a bad thing for him to have been to jail, yet it released me of my anger.  Of course, I was still annoyed, but I found my hope again at least, not that we could continue the signed lease, but the hope for trust and care – the base for smooth business and life, even though many times, the base could not be built solid easily.

I thanked him for calling me and consented at his request that I will still keep the door open for him when he is ready in september, if the apartment is still available. Of course, that will be done with different and more measures to guarantee the business.

I wish that he could have trust from other people when he will be looking for a job. But before all, he himself has to give out his hand. I have seen his effort in him telling me the truth about credit, persistence and punctuality, and lastly, in calling me to let me know what had happened, apologizing, I have seen hope and the hand he reached out…

The Hidden Seduction – Part VIII-1 – Counting and Accountable (1)

Posted by & filed under Personal.

http_imgload-1.cgi

 

 

Chinese are famous for knowing how to count the money hidden under their mattresses. It is a cheap mentality which teaches our children and ourselves that we are the only ones who should benefit from business and everyone else should work for free, a mentality passed down from kingdoms of sovereignty in which people worked not for their own benefit but for the benefit of kings and their imperial families. The difference between then and now is that each one has set himself up as a king, keeping everything for himself and expecting everyone else to serve him as well.

Living outside China, Ou Yang got to know about other nations: Greeks too are cheap. They are so cheap that they almost corrupted and collapsed their own country because people refused to pay taxes on the little work they are willing to do. Must it be the fault of joining the Euro Zone?! No matter where they go, Jews bind their community tightly together through marriage and business; Arabs like to bargain just as much as Chinese do; Germans are hardworking, serious and highly organized, but dry and stern as tree barks; Japanese respect rules to such an extent that they themselves become the definition of rules; Italians can talk with their hands around their heads for most of a day caring too much about what they love and little about what really makes sense; Swiss are famous for their non judgmental banks and ambiguous attitude towards world affaires with high mountains protecting them, and Canadians impresses the world nicely with American way of life, yet a better social and medical systems…

It is difficult and dangerous to generalize, yet for Ou Yang, or for any one who judges, the judgement is rather an expression of who they are than who the judged ones are.  When we go about any business, our judgment is needed. The ways we generalize or judge lead to different directions. In the end, deep down, we are all some“-ISTS” – either nationalists, internationalists, racists, socialists,  capitalists, and humorists etc. The day we remove all our “-ISTS,” we become impossibly perfect or impeccably  ignorant.

As young people, we know nothing about counting, nothing about the value or worth of anything. Love is sweet, free, and exciting. Life is simple and happiness is as easy as an idea, a song, or a tune stuck in our mind. Life is measured less, we are fearless because life is timeless, and we can truly smile, laugh and live.

By the time we reach our 40’s, we find that we have lost our ability to keep things simple. We have measures, requirements and criteria.
For Ou Yang, who once married beneath her, and Elizabeth, whose marriage went off track, meeting their  goals was not as easy as they thought it would be. What should they do next? Should they continue searching for the “right one,” letting time pass and getting old along the way? Or should they simply settle for less?

 

To Be Continued…