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Chapter 3 & 4
A wide range of thoughts stir up Winnie’s mind about herself and her friend Helen. Winnie finds that even in day-to-day household matters, fate seems to favor Helen. For instance, the case of the fish that Helen has once bought from the shop. Winnie knew that it was a stale one, but quite contrary to Winnie’s expectations, it turned out to be delicious at the dinner table. In selecting things, Winnie always had a keen eye for fresh good ones. But somehow things never went the right way for her. When she had bought the best fish in the market for celebrating with Jimmy Louie, the good news of her getting a new job, the end result was the opposite. Instead of celebrating, Jimmy Louie had to undergo an operation at the hospital, as the fish-bone had got stuck in his throat.
Winnie hoped that now that they had finally migrated to the United States, she would find the much-needed solace from her fears and troubles. Her husband Jimmy Louie was a loving man and she had two children to dote on. Her children were quite young then. Jimmy was a minister. One day, after one of the congregation, as Jimmy and Winnie were greeting the member, she met Lin, a man from her uncle’s place, with whom she had bright chances of getting married. Winnie, at that time, had just refused to marry him. Now, when she is introduced to Lin who is a doctor and is respected by most people, she feels that she was too silly to reject him.
When Winnie had migrated to America, her friend Helen was still in Formosa. Later Helen had asked for her help, as she and her family too wanted to migrate to America. Winnie had come to her assistance and Helen had migrated claiming to be Winnie’s half-sister. However, later she changes Helen’s role, when she casts Helen as having been once married to her brother. Pearl now calls her Auntie. Helen’s relationship with Winnie is far deeper than any blood relationship.
Now, Helen feels that there is no point in keeping this a secret from Pearl. As a mother, Winnie too feels that she should confide all her innermost feelings to her daughter. Though Pearl feels that their relationship is strained, Winnie acknowledges to herself that she has always loved her daughter more than her son. Winnie now feels that she owes her daughter the truth that Jimmy Louie is not her father, but her real father is Wen Fu, her much despised first husband.