Diane Tuet is a SAF living in Northern California and making her living as a photographer, artist, Chinese herb specialist, and Food Network follower. She is the quintessential SAF Seeking ‘True Love’. (Other SAFs look for career highs, physical achievements, a really good hairdresser… it all adds up to a certain happiness… but I digress.) Nonetheless, while going through one of her first bad break ups, one of her great lessons of love came from her Chinese mother who came to stay one night with her to help her cope. She wanted to share the lesson with other SAFs, just in case it might mean something to them.
In the midst of despair, you wonder how you forget all the important stuff your parents tell you.
I awoke from a surreal dream/nightmare to find my mother had fallen asleep next to me. Just a little bit before, she had told me this story in hopes of comforting me from my broken heart.
Mommy always said, “you don’t get to marry the one you love.”
She waited 4 years for the love of her life to man up. Obviously he never did. She finally gave up and settled with my father who patiently waited and courted her for seven years, fully knowing she was in love with another man.
She started her stories about my non-dad with, “Ah we wrote the best love letters.” He was a journalist… AND an international playboy with the heart for only one – my mom. Throughout their separate travels, poems, and shared dreams of the future he never mentioned he lived off his family’s fortune, had not finished college nor wanted to make it on his own. From a humble family on mainland China, my mother worked since she was 12 to bring income to the family table. Pride and independence was in her blood. She finally had enough when he asked her, “Would you support me while try to finish school for the 3rd time without my trust fund?”
After that, my mother gave the responsibility of collecting his letters to her sister. From then on, his letters were returned to the sender and just like that she vanished without a trace from his life. He continued to write even after she married my father. His last letter arrived at my aunt’s a few days after my brother was born. He had penned it in his own blood, gross by today’s standards but utterly romantic back in the day. A true sign of devotion?
Decades later, the local Chinese community newspaper featured an article interviewing him. Apparently he made a name for himself but went on to say he went through the motions of achieving “success” without much excitement–got married, had kids, and built his own empire. When questioned about his passions, it was all about dancing. My mother was taken aback by that reveal in the article. Dancing was ‘their’ thing. He couldn’t dance and she loved it. Seems he still takes lessons to this day. In the article he spoke of how he counts out loud then… although my mom won’t tell me which words, somewhere in that little newspaper bit, he made her heart skip a beat. He said a quote that was a ‘secret’.. it was a saying he shared with my mother- ONLY.
So I guess -what she was saying is- you may not marry the one you love, but you might keep them in your heart forever.