Family feuds were funny things, Cynthia thought as she sat in her car looking at Lolly in the cafe having the desired breakdown.
You thought you were outside of them, oblivious to them. That they were products of a distant, less civilised era. That they’d been swept away in the egalitarian banality of suburbia, left in a past of feudalism and family registries and small petty wars over small petty fields.
But when Mrs Park – her friend and confidante, one of the few people she could rely on – had asked her for help. Well. Here it was. Singing in her blood, vibrating through the years. A war cry torn from the throat of her ultimate grandmother: the start of the MacDonald family tree.
Mei’s line may have decided to forgive and forget the Chens but the giver of that name was a black sheep only two generations back. Marriage between the rebel son and an Irish woman they didn’t know linked back to her. The original MacDonald, nee Xu. She who the Chen family treated with such disregard and disrespect.
It’s true a nice girl like Lolly didn’t deserve it.
But vengeance didn’t care about casualties. And in the end, it could even be for her own good.
She imagined the current Grandmother Chen, a woman that seemed to replicate in every generation like cloning. The kind of soul that made her wonder if there really was reincarnation. She imagined her finding out her granddaughter was marrying into a Korean-Vietnamese family and cackled.
She actually cackled. Like an evil witch from a Sageuk. The scheming woman in the court, bent on revenge.
She would be all those things, those cliched things. The name Chen would hardly be lost to history but this branch would be. She’d see, that old woman, that vicious Chen. She’d see who was left standing at the end.
Cynthia slipped on her sunglasses, picked up her phone and made the call.
She was ready. It was time.