Scarring Jasmine-Chapter Sixteen Divorce

06/29/2024 Saturday 62-86F Cloudy

Yu came back late that night. Jasmine already had gone to sleep, but she left one little wall light on for him. Her eyes were swollen from crying, and she was snoring slightly like a sleeping cat.

Most of the time, he was the one who went to bed first—Perhaps Jasmine regarded it a wife’s duty to only sleep after the husband. Tonight, she must have been worn out. A sympathetic feeling crept into his heart. He bent down, with the help of the light, examining her face. This woman had been his wife for two years; people claimed that he had the prettiest wife in this county, but he seldom paid attention to who she was. Now, after reading all her facial details, and knowing her miseries, he realized that she was like an exquisitely built gazebo standing alone by glittering water; she was beautiful, innocent, and unfortunate. 

This discovery sorrowed his heart; he couldn’t help reaching out his hand to touch her face tenderly. She didn’t move. The feel of her skin on the tips of his fingers was silky and soft; her breath was warm and fragrant--therefore her body beneath the blanket must be equally soft, warm, and fragrant. How charming it would be! A familiar desire inside of him awoke, he kissed her lips… 

When Jasmine woke up in the morning, she found herself on Yu’s arm and him sleeping soundly. She got up, soon after heard a gentle tap on the door. She poked her head out: It was a maid. Upon seeing her, the maid bowed, “Young madam, master is in his study wanting to see young master.” 

Jasmine nodded to her, then closed the door. She walked to the bed, spoke in Yu’s ear quietly: “Yu, wake up, father wants to see you.” For some reason, she blushed when Yu opened his eyes and saw her.

Yu went downstairs. Jasmine got herself dressed, then drew in a deep breath before she walked down. Yesterday her mother-in-law slapped her in the face; she felt reluctant to see her. However, she knew that she wasn’t innocent; she must take the blame and not further offend her in-laws.

In the study, Wang pointed at a headline on the newspaper page to Yu, scolding angrily: “I just called the newspaper office, they told me that last evening you asked them to post this notice. Why did you do this? Who gave you the guts to do this?! I told you that I would take care of it!” 

“It is my marriage, father. I want to divorce.”  

“You want to divorce? So why did you let the news say: Prominent couple divorce due to irreconcilable differences? Why not tell everyone the truth that you seldom stuff your wife therefore some other man did the job? We made the deal; I gave you all that I promised. But you never tried hard enough to fuck your wife!”

Yu trembled with anger, “Enough, father!” He yelled out, “I never thought that you could be so rude! And you stalk me! I hate that! I hate you! I hate mother! In this house, everyone is nervous! You are nervous about your reputation; mother is nervous about not having a grandchild; I am nervous because you all believe that I am sinful! I can’t breathe! Every day I am miserable! Yes, I loved a man, but you made it impossible for me not to marry Jasmine, who is just a scapegoat! I will no longer be your puppet! I must get back my freedom!”

Jasmine met her mother-in-law in the living room. Qiao glanced her over furtively, then sighed. Without a word, she went on knitting. Jasmine felt embarrassed; she didn’t know whether she should leave or stay. While she was hesitating, she heard Yu yell from Wang’s study, each word was unmistakable. 

Qiao also must have heard it; her face turned terribly white. “Jasmine, go upstairs!” She commanded. 

Jasmine hurried toward the stairs. Right at that moment, Yu flung open the door and rushed out, leaving Wang shouting furiously from behind: “Get out of my house, today! I don’t want to see you again!” 

The mother cried out: “Yu, where are you going?” 

Yu stopped when he saw Jasmine, then turned to his mother: “Go south or north; everywhere will be better than here!” 

Wang heard Yu’s answer, thus shouted again: “Do whatever you want! I will inform your father-in-law about the divorce! Remember, you can’t survive without me!” He slammed the door from inside.

Yu walked to Jasmine, his face seeming to be covered with ice again: “Jasmine, we are divorced. I will take you to your parents’ house this morning. The maids will pack your belongings and make the delivery.” Then he went up.

Everything happened too soon; Jasmine felt like she was in a dream. She returned to her room and found Yu changing his clothes. She sat on the couch, looking lost. She hadn’t recovered from the shock. Yu noticed that. He came to her and took her hands. This time, his voice became full of love: “Jasmine, let’s go out. I want to be with you alone.” 

They wandered on the street. The sun shone brightly over their heads; the sky was a cloudless blue. Jasmine followed Yu, far behind. This was their first time to walk together on the street; just one hour before, because of Yu’s tenderness last night, she thought that he might have forgiven her. How naive she was! That was just his “last night’s duty”! 

Yu stopped, turned around and smiled to her: “Here is a jewelry shop, I want to buy something for you.”  

She followed him into the shop, standing a few steps behind him. Looking at him talking with the salesgirl and carefully selecting the jewelry, she wanted to cry. She was divorced, divorced by the man whom she just fell in love with last night. What a misery! It was like she was left alone on a barren field; then all of a sudden, she encountered the most magnificent meteor shower; but afterward, everything disappeared, the night became darker and she felt an unbearable emptiness. She thought of that Sakura tree—Without a sign, he decided to withdraw himself from her life right after a full blooming night. So today was his farewell; willful as it was, she had no choice but to accept it.

“Do you like this pair of pearl earrings?” His eyes were smiling at her, “Let me help you try them on.” 

The salesgirl brought her a mirror, and praised: “Madam, you look wonderful with the earrings!” She looked into the mirror: The luster of the pearls was glowing ravishingly on her earlobes. Behind her stood a very handsome man, whose eyes met hers. They both were silent. “These earrings must be his ‘last day’s gift’.” She thought. Her eyes teared up. 

“Don’t cry Jasmine,” He took over her handkerchief to dry her cheeks, “All will be fine.”

They left that shop with the earrings on her ears. Then they took two rickshaws and stopped at the stone bridge where Shanyuan and Jasmine separated. It was about noon; the street was empty. Everything seemed to doze off except for the water, glittering dreamlike under the bridge. 

After crossing the stone steps, Yu stopped. “Jasmine, promise me: Be happy, ok? This marriage was a mistake in the first place; you shouldn’t blame yourself for it.” 

Jasmine looked at his eyes, asking miserably: “Is it true that you loved a man?” 

Yu turned away to avoid seeing her: “Yes, I did. But Jasmine, please don’t dwell on this. It’s no good to both of us. There is a man who loves you and is waiting for you; forget about me, I am damaged.”

Jasmine felt so hurt that she couldn’t stand. She squatted down, crying: “How can you be so cruel to me? You one-sidedly divorced me, without making any inquiries or explanations to me. Or was it just your excuse to find fault with me so you could walk away from our marriage? Then you asked me to be happy, how can I? I am not one block of wood; even if that is how you think about me, any nail hammered into it will leave a hole there after its removal. How can I eliminate that hole you left in me?” 

Yu didn’t answer; he didn’t know how to answer her. These questions were too unexpected and beyond his cognition. He stared into space as if he were trying to search out the answers from there. “Jasmine, I am awfully sorry.” He drooped his head since no answer could be found. “I didn’t mean to hurt you. But if you can, please try to forgive me.” He held Jasmine up, “Go home please, apologize for me to your parents.” After saying that, he strode away.

Jasmine watched him walking up the bridge; she wanted to call him, telling him that she loved him, and that she wanted to follow him wherever he went. But these words hung at her lips—He vanished at the other side of the bridge.

At that moment Yu walked hurriedly as though he were running from a ghost. Jasmine was that ghost, haunting his mind—was he selfish and irresponsible? He must be; he didn’t even have the courage to see his parents-in-law or to stay with her longer. 
Was she his burden or obstacle thus he was eager to make up excuses to get rid of her? He didn’t know; he was afraid that he must have made another mistake. Did he feel guilty? His answer was positive. Last night he had a tremendous joy with Jasmine; he felt that his body and soul were together. A strange feeling about her had kept growing and at present it was trying to struggle out of its pupa, so he must hurry off before it hit that tipping point. 

But one thing for sure was, if, if Jasmine called him, he would stop; he would change his mind; he would go back to her and take her with him wherever he went. But she didn’t call, thus he passed the bridge.

Jasmine and Yu’s marriage ended abruptly like a premature interruption to a song.

Later that day, Yu found Jasmine’s green handkerchief in his pocket, with which he dried her tears in that jewelry shop. He examined it, trying to find her tear stains. But nothing was on it other than three little embroidered jasmine flowers, of which the top part of the petals was white, and of which near the core were skillfully blended in different beige hues to identify the changing shadows. These blossoms were done by Jasmine; they were her blooming tears. “Oh, Jasmine!” Yu buried his face in the handkerchief and cried out. 


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