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The Red Chamber's Dream1

I have diffused onto a dried rose in the shade of caked aged blood.  The brittle petals eagerly drink me in preserving themselves with my watery salt.

I am her life's last tear, her final payment of gratitude.  Like the others before me, I am formed for his sake, to glorify him.

We were all shed in obedience to her for him.  For him, we were all drawn from her deep, indelibly heaven-stained roots.  Each of us were numbered, each accounted for.  None were trivial; all were necessary to complete her resolve of sacrifice.  For every drop he gave, a tear was owed.  I have been chosen to come forth as the last one, the one to mark the exhaustion of her sorrow. 

But as I expand with her grief, encasing her iris in a glistening shell, I swell with unquietness.  Realizing my life was not my own, I begin struggling to remain, to live against the will set for me.  And while clinging to her eye, my own weight rips me away from her.  As I descend to the red mortal dust, and she ascends back to the heavens, I become the omega, the alpha — I become all the tears.

-tsai

1 The Red Chamber’s Dream was written by Tsao Xue-Chin.  The story unfolds with a fairy tale, literally a tale about fairies.  It begins with Jia Bao Yu, a minor fairy in the heavens, who waters a flower everyday.  Extremely grateful for his faithful service, the flower resolves to repay every drop watered by the fairy.  Circumstances change such that the wish comes true.  In the tale, the fairy and the flower descend to the earth, otherwise known as the ‘red dust’, and become human beings, but both are unaware of their past lives.  They fall in love.  But in this love affiar, Jia Bao Yu causes Ling Dai Yu, the woman who was the flower, tremendous distress and sorrow.  And until the day of her death, Ling Dai Yu would constantly be shedding tears for or because of her lover.  In this manner, with all her life’s tears, the flower repays her debt to her waterer.