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Chris Yan

Wedding Day A small car approached the black iron gates and parked a few feet away. A young man and woman stepped out wearing dark, heavy clothing and sunglasses. Even in the bright, mid-March sun, Jiangsu province was cold this time of year. Holding hands, the couple nodded to the gatekeeper and walked in. The young woman held a bouquet of white chrysanthemums in her arms, and the young man held a packet of Hongtashan cigarettes—“Mountain of Red Towers.” The air was calm and the sky was a cloudless bright blue, an occasional sparrow crossing above plots of wizened cypress trees. This is a good place, said the young man. He followed the woman past rows of small stone shrines, many with fresh flora, incense and bowls of rice wine placed carefully on the bases and mantelpieces. Her steps were evenly-paced, tracing a path through the maze of stone plots that had been walked many times before. Finally they reached the plot they sought, stopping a few feet away and turning to directly face a vertical stone tablet. Ba, I’ve come home, said the woman, bowing her head. Hello, Ba, said the man, bowing as well. I’ve brought your nuxu—“son-in-law”—home to see you, she said. He knelt down before the stone and moved aside the shriveled chrysanthemums that lay on the stone base-piece, exchanging it for the fresh white ones in the woman’s arms. With great care, he repositioned the bouquet in the center of the stone, suddenly remembering the time he had brought home a bundle of chrysanthemums for her. 58

Connective Tissue 2013 | Volume 6