The Life Of Susan Yen Liang I was born on November 25th, 1941 in Tian Jin, China. I was the last child to be born to the Yen family and the second to be born to Jeanne Prosperi and Joseph Yen. I had one brother, Franklin, three half-brothers, Gregory, James, and Edgar, and two half-sisters, Adeline and Lydia. I loved being the youngest in the family, adored by everyone. When I was about three months old, Father and Mother, along with my other siblings, moved to Shanghai. Aunt Baba and I stayed behind. Without Mother around, the atmosphere was peaceful. I didn’t miss her at all; instead, I enjoyed all the attention Aunt Baba gave me.
When we finally had to pack up and leave, I felt as if Aunt Baba had become my mother. I hadn’t seen Mother for ages and I hardly even remembered her. The day we arrived in Shanghai was the day I first hated my mother. Since I had last seen everyone, I had grown into a cute toddler with black hair and large eyes. When Aunt Baba and I arrived in our Shanghai home, I rushed around the living room, very excited. The reunion went quite well until Mother attempted to pick me up. The way her hands felt around me was shockingly hostile and I was scared, it felt as if a stranger was picking me up.
I screamed for my aunt. I could see Mother’s face turn red with anger. She dropped me on the couch and started to beat me. I cried and screamed but she didn’t stop. Suddenly, I heard, “Don’t beat her anymore! She’s only a baby. ” Mother turned around fiercely and glared at the timid little girl standing in the corner. Through my teary eyes, I recognized Adeline. Mother stared hard at Adeline, preparing to yell. Aunt Baba lifted me up and took me away. Although that day was many years ago, I still remember it very well. That was the day the bridge of hate between my mother and I emerged.
Mother openly adored Franklin. As I grew older and older, this became more obvious. Although both Franklin and I were her blood-related children, we were treated very differently. Whenever Franklin needed something, he would order me to get it. The first few times he did this, I felt happy that my older brother needed me. However, soon I grew tired of this. I complained to Mother, but she only yelled at me and told me that Franklin was older and therefore I must obey. This made me loathe her even more. How could she not love me as much as him? One day, Franklin came home in a bad mood and went straight to bed.
That night was stressful. I remember lying on my pillow next to the door, listening to Franklin groaning. The next morning Franklin was gone. He never came home. I never truly understood why until Adeline explained it to me. Mother soon became depressed and would constantly neglect me. The bridge between us continued piling up with hate and anger. When I needed her, she was never there. Because of this, Father and I grew closer. He loved showing me off to his colleagues, his beautiful girl with thick black hair, large eyes and exquisite features.
After graduating from college in the US in 1964, I returned to China. I got a job as a schoolteacher and lived at home with my parents. I started dating a dentist and soon three months zoomed by. Mother started to bother me about marrying him. Once she intercepted my call and I became livid. All my anger boiled up inside of me and I exploded. After our horrendous argument, I ignored Mother. Father pleaded with me to apologize. Upon looking at his anxiety-ridden face, I gave in. The next day everything was fine again. Soon I was engaged. Not to the dentist, but to a wonderful man named Tony Liang.
He had graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was the son of a prominent Shanghai businessman. We got married in Honolulu as per Mother’s request. It was a beautiful wedding. Afterwards, I rarely visited home, and because of Tony’s prominence in Hong Kong, I was constantly featured in newspapers and magazines. I was upstaging my mother and I loved it, every last bit of it. One day, my friend Shirley came to visit. I had to cancel my dinner with Mother. She became furious, so I decided to treat Shirley to lunch instead. That night’s dinner was awful.
She kept insulting me, saying I was unworthy and unfilial. She even accused me of being conceit and shallow. When she started crying over the death of Franklin, I couldn’t stand it any longer. I said to her, “ Franklin was a sadistic, Mother and I’m glad he’s dead. Even though you’re my mother, I think you are vicious and vindictive. You love no one but yourself. You certainly don’t care for me, and you never have. ” After I said this, she became hysterical. She slapped me across the face and starting blabbing about how I was so ungrateful and how I was a waste of her money.
I calmly drew out my purse and said, “ How much do I owe you? I’ll write you a check. ” At this she screamed, “ GET OUT! Get out now! Don’t ever come back! As far as I’m concerned, you are dead! DEAD! ” That was the day, I, Susan Yen, was disowned from the Yen family. However, that day was also the day my father ‘died’. His body remained, but his soul was gone. He was lifeless on the inside. Father was never the same after that. Every time we had lunch together, he would stare off into the distance as if he were already gone, his soul floating in space.
Soon later, he passed away. Looking back at all those years, I regret the relationship of hatred between my mother and I. The bridge we built between us carried so much resentment and anger from over the years that eventually it collapsed under all that weight. Every time I walk down a street and see a girl and her mother enjoying their time together, sadness engulfs me. However, after being disowned, I feel as if life has come a full circle. I feel at peace again like when I was merely a child. I have finally returned to where I had begun. ????.