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  • It wasn't important that he didn't love her, for when was love ever important in a marriage?

    What was important was when he saw the fields of rice that his fiance's father owned, oh, the scale of the property, acres and acres of green, as green as the American currency, it took his breath away. Already, in his head, he was calculating the income that could be derived from such land, already he was assessing the value of the houses that would belong to him, one in the city, and one in the country.

    For that, he could overlook certain facts, such as, for example, that his fiance had short squat legs (legs that his younger brother called daikon legs) that her voice was astringent like lemon juice in your eyes (he would say) and the way she walked, having been educated abroad, she did not walk the way a Vietnamese lady was to walk, small mincing steps, instead, she walked as an elephant, trampling through a forest, with big lumbering strides, that could be heard even before she entered the house.

    But all that was endurable, because once he sired a son, his duty as a husband would be over--he would abandon her to the country house, where she would busy-body herself with the child, while he would take refuge in the city, in the curves, the lilting laughter, the grace of his mistresses (for of course, there were more than just one).

    My grandfather's plans were set. Except, the woman he married, whose squat legs he disliked, she refused to remain in the countryside, she accompanied him to the city, and when she discovered he had mistresses, rather than submitting like a traditional vietnamese lady as expected, she threw a porcelain vase at his head, running him out of the house, with the whack of a broom that she grabbed from the maid, and chased him, as the neighbors watched, laughing at the embattled couple.

    His father advised him to beat her, to tame the tigress.

    But he was afraid, for he knew that if he touched her, she would report it to her father, who ever since she was a child, the only daughter with seven brothers, she had been coddled, indulged. And that if she were to ever suffer the slightest bruise, the father would undoubtedly send his men, his sons to beat him

    And so it was my grandfather who became tamed, a tiger in a cage, with two big houses, an acres and acres of land, but imprisoned in a marriage, he became a respectable husband siring two sons, two daughters, who born without love, at least, were prepared as adults, to look at marriage without the eye of romance, but the eye of commerce.

    Except his eldest daughter. And she, she would pay for it.
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