“Did she sleep?” I asked as Dpal mo walked into my room and sat on my bed with a tired smile.

“Yeah. She was sleepy last night.”

“Poor Dbyangs ‘dzin.”

“Yesterday, that Barbie doll made her so excited and happy.” True. We can’t afford such toys.

“Will he come tomorrow?”

“Probably not.”

Her reply gladdened me, but my future wouldn’t be easy now that he had found them. “He likes her, right?”

“Maybe, but I think it’s just because Dbyangs ‘dzin is his daughter. He’s indifferent to most people. At first, I was afraid he wouldn’t like her.”

It made me uncomfortable that she understood him so well.

“Did you tell Dbyangs ‘dzin that the man who gave her the Barbie doll is her father?”

“Not yet. His attitude’s not clear. He said he would accept Dbyangs ‘dzin, but he must ask his father if their family would accept her. My little girl will suffer if her father abandons her.”

Dbyangs ‘dzin was a smart, sensitive little girl, so I guess she knew, but I didn’t say that to Dpal mo. I only said, “Yeah, maybe you can tell her later. So, will you marry him?”

“Don’t ask me again! He hurt me so many times, but he represents normal life. Not just for me but also Dbyangs ‘dzin.”

She stood and walked into the kitchen. Her phone rang. I couldn’t hear what she said, but when she started shouting, I was worried and was about to get up. Then she came into my bedroom again in tears.

“Dpal mo! What happened?” Dbyangs ‘dzin was sleeping, so I asked softly.

Dpal mo quietly sobbed. She had a fragile beauty when she was helpless. I impulsively kissed her without thinking. Not a passionate kiss, just a tender touch on the lips. She stopped crying suddenly and was silent with downcast eyes. I was afraid. Her silence had sapped my courage.

“Honey…” she said haltingly.

I wouldn’t apologize for my “offense.” I had helped her when her man had abandoned her, and she had nowhere to go. I took her in, cared for her daughter, and believed I was the only one who wouldn’t denigrate her because of her work.

“Who called?”

“His mother. She called to insult me again.”

“She can’t oppose your marriage to her son anymore, right?

After all, he lost the ability to reproduce in a recent car accident.” “Yeah, but I’m still afraid of her.”

This time she spoke in a victimized, sorrowful way so I would feel sorry for her. She wanted to be well-off and had already decided to leave me. I felt sick.

“Well, maybe you can please him or his father. Men can always resolve women’s problems in one way or another, right? Your man controls you and his mother.”

I didn’t wait for her to reply before adding. “You don’t have to worry, do you? Dbyangs ‘dzin is a girl, but his only child and you have plenty of experience pleasing men.”

Another offense, but I didn’t care. I was nearly crazy because I believed she would leave me for a secure life. I would then return to a solitary existence. That horrible man, not Dpal mo’s former client but my ex-husband, would fill my mind again. My fear of him would resume. Nightmares of him beating me would return. I would again despise living, but maybe I would find another kind-hearted woman during my next suicide attempt.

“Dear, I don’t want to think about this anymore. Maybe we can discuss it tomorrow morning?”

“Yeah, fine,” I said.

Later that morning, I threw the cheap lipstick she had given me on my birthday in a dustbin.



  • dpal mo དཔལ་མྒྲོ།
  • dbyangs ‘dzin དབྱངས་འཛིན།
  • zla ba dbyangs can ཟླ་བ་དབྱངས་ཅན།

(from Asian Highland Perspectives)

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