BLUEST SKY by Linda Simoni-Wastila

Min Zhan sat cross-legged on the floor, his grown daughter beside him, parsing through the detritus of his wife’s death. The trunk was like a Russian doll, boxes within boxes, each filled with Hui-Wen’s treasures: letters, sepia-stained photographs, silk scarves. The grainy ultrasound of Tien, their Winter Surprise. Diplomas, citizenship papers, birthday cards. Holding their formal wedding picture, Hui-Wen smiling in her red qipao, him nervous in his silks, wrung pain from his heart.

In his lap, the last box, silk-covered, the color of bamboo.

He did not know that box.

Tien leaned against him. Inside, a vellum folder embossed Acta Neurologica Science Prize. San Francisco. March 1982. Crisp tissue covered the program and the faded news clip of Hui-Wen accepting the gold cup. Her brightest moment without him; he’d traveled to Beijing tending to his dying mother.

A postcard slid out, gaudy with palm trees and bluest sky melting into sea. Even before picking it up, he knew the card came from Hawaii. A shared dream, never realized.

One week, my Princess, and we celebrate your prize. I shall drape you in leis and love. V

The smudged post-mark confirmed the hard knot growing in his stomach. He gazed at his daughter, her pale eyes foreign as the postcard, and understood why her mother named her Sky.


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14 responses to “BLUEST SKY by Linda Simoni-Wastila

  1. Ouch, love the prose and the ending! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Brilliant! And what a way for him to find out! Or for her to let him know.

  3. Kim Hutchinson

    A sad and lovely story.

  4. guy

    Hmm… if the daughter’s eyes were pale, shouldn’t he have figured this out long ago? Fortunately, one can plug that potentially implausible element back into the story by saying that his cluelessness must have been a motivation for the affair.

    • Ah Guy, I struggled with the obviousness of her eye color, but how to explain in 250 words or less? Of course, eye color can be ascribed to the foibles of past generations, so perhaps someone else can be held accountable? Thanks for keeping me on the straight and narrow. peace…

  5. Dawn Armstrong

    I like the questions one is left with after reading this. Did the daughter know? How long did the affair last? I also want to know much more about V. Wonderful, thought provoking story.

    • Thanks Dawn! The daughter is actually a character from my novel and I’m just using her in shorts, playing around with her. No V in my novel, though ;^) Peace…

  6. Really well-done, the poignancy of the stab to an already grieving heart.

  7. Oh, I really liked this – and now there is a whole other story to follow

  8. Thanks all for reading and commenting! Isn’t it fun (and funny) how these shorts can often serve as launchpads for bigger stories? Love it. Peace…

  9. Should have suspected such an ending but I was so caught up in the well-crafted journey, you ambushed me.

    About the eyes, I’ve met a few people here with lighter eyes, still brown, but lighter. Actually, many of my half-Asian friends in Hawaii have such eyes; light, but still looking Asian.

  10. Pingback: Week #28 – the postcard | 52|250 A Year of Flash

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