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It was true; Ariel knew nothing. She was too young to understand what was about to happen as her mother and her fled from her beloved home and friends. They went from boat, to hitchhiking to everything imaginable that transports fugitives in this day and age. However, the situation wasn’t life and death for her mother. It was more like limbo; a place where neither life nor death hold a strong enough presence to be considered dominant. It was just a depressing, inescapable end to her former life. This life would indeed be a bitter way to end.
Her mother had become the concubine of a rich man in Shanghai and they were to meet him at his house the very next day. Ariel had never met her biological father…he had left the family before she had a chance to really understand what a “father” meant in her short little life. To her, he was just another stranger on the street whom she has yet to ask “are you my daddy?” to.
It was indeed a very depressing vision for her mother to see her only daughter suffer through such trauma at such an early age. But for herself, Ariel’s mother could only think of protecting her daughter, no matter the consequence for her own self. As they traveled through the outskirts of Shanghai, her mother caressed her dear sleeping daughter’s head and thought of all the things she wasn’t able to give her. She promised herself that her daughter would never feel what she felt as a kid, but she never kept that promise. Ariel’s mother was born poor and lived all her life poor, unable to keep up with debt and unable to manage money.
So she decided to marry a rich man who would be able to tackle these inevitable day to day battles with money and finance. Even though she was not in love with the man, she knew it would be best for her family to live this way; away from worry and strife, away from knowing when their next meal will be, away from the anxiety she felt every time the landlord would ask for rent. She felt this was the safest way to live even though she will remain unhappy because she did not love the man.
As they reached their destination, Ariel woke up to see an incredible sight in front of her; a large, white, clean mansion with gold borders and five different flags. The trees surrounding the place were intricately displayed to show the owners strict needs for organization and neatness. Leading to the unnecessarily large painted wood doors, were stairs that seemed to have led to Heaven itself. There, instead, she met Hell.
A large, odorous man greeted Ariel and her mother with folded arms and a stiff disposition. He nodded at her mother as if she was just another piece of flanked steak he had for dinner. So pompous, Ariel thought. Suddenly, they were greeted by 3 other women. Their faces were painted up marvelously, and they wore dresses that accentuated their figures. They were quite differently in terms of her Ariel’s mother’s apparel, which consisted of a modest fitting brown dress with buttons that lined the middle and a belt which gave her a figure. Ariel was surprised to see such beauty before her own eyes.
“So this is the new trash that came to our doorstep,” said one of the women.
She was the tallest of the three, and probably the best looking. She wore little make up and her hair was waving so much it was as if an angel had come down to greet them. Too bad her attitude did not meet those same expectations. It’s true when they say never judge a book by its cover.
“Yes, we have another ‘wife’ to care for now. Too bad she isn’t as beautiful as master said she would be,” said another with a chuckle down her throat.
This one was less pretty, wore more makeup and had no figure. Ariel suspected that she would not like this woman at all.
“Ladies, please. This is just another woman, master will probably tire of her easily, ” said the last woman.
She was older, most likely the head wife or first wife. Ariel was afraid of her. She had a very graceful elegance to her and yet she looked so strict. This woman was definitely not going to accept them easily.
“Hello, Clara, Jenna, Fiona,” said Ariel’s mom in a very composed manner.
Ariel was very shocked at her mother’s behavior; even though they had insulted her in her face, her mother did not lower her self respect to their level. And with that, Ariel in return held her head high and took her mother’s hand with a smile.
“OOOOh!! And what do we have here?” said the tall, beautiful Clara. She was looking directly at Ariel who now became too afraid to hold her head high and ran behind her mother.
“It’s another one of those,” said the less elegant Jenna.
“Jenna, don’t be a pest. She probably doesn’t even know what she is,” said the first wife, Fiona.
“Wha…what do they mean by that momma?” Ariel said, innocently enough.
She didn’t know that what they were referring to was that a child without a biological father was strictly looked down upon in this society. She was considered a “bastard” with all the negative connotations that linked towards it. Everything about Ariel now was labeled according to her social environment; she was disgusting because she was not “planned”, she was not up to what the higher class would consider “up to par”, she was just another filthy disgusting bastard that was able to merely have her mother marry rich and therefore had an advantage.
The wives were clearly jealous over this 5 year old who had no idea what she doing and how her life was planned. Ultimately her mother felt the same way. She knew she screwed up when her first husband had left her with nothing but a child. However, she never blamed him for leaving them because it wasn’t his fault…in reality it wasn’t his fault.
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