Revolution to Save Beatrice by L. Moffitt

April 27, 2006

Beatrice seems to think I’m Holly Golightly. I don’t know where she could have gotten such an idea; I guess to any sheltered Chinese girl who grew up in the sanitized suburbs of Marin County, a 27-year-old half-breed cousin (Ma married white) living in Manhattan by herself has got to seem glamorous. Never mind that I seldom go to parties and always leave early when I do. Never mind that I balance my checkbook and usually go Dutch on dates. And never mind that I’m an office temp and that my apartment is one room with the kind of particle board furniture even college students turn down. At least the ones at Harvard, which Beatrice was attending when she first came to visit me.

She came for Thanksgiving her freshman year, since her folks said it was too expensive for her to fly back home for just a couple of days. This I found hard to believe. Aunt Rose was the type who wouldn’t admit that anything was too expensive. Or, even if forced to admit it, she’d go ahead and buy whatever-it-was anyway. Her husband, Herman Yau, was a well-known architect and made big bucks, but not big enough for her spending habits. Meanwhile my mother, Rose’s older sister, whose husband washed dishes and checked inventory in the restaurant they owned, had a saint’s tolerance for her family members’ quirks. Why not let Miranda run off to New York, alone, without a real job? Why shouldn’t Rose buy a new car when she never drove the two she already had? (One was always in the shop, she explained, and the other was a stick shift; Rose hated driving stick.) In her late middle age, nothing particularly shocked or perturbed Ma any more, which made my “running off” to New York seem no more daring than a haircut. And yet somehow I’d gained a reputation with Beatrice as being bohemian, free-spirited, the black sheep of the entire clan…

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