by Myna Chang
I know the task of sorting my belongings will fall to you. I hope the novelty of this old jacket has enticed you to pluck it from the shipping crate and try it on, to discover this note waiting for you in the pocket. Do you like the embroidered edges and slip-knot closures? My grandmother was an excellent seamstress. I imagine you with my jacket draped over your slim shoulders. I’m sure you look lovely in the plum-colored silk. It was the finest available in my grandmother’s village. She traded with another family for the fabric, a box of candles for a length of satin-weave. Do you see the sheen of it? Grandmother said the color mirrored the dawn reflection of plum blossoms on the little pond by her family’s home. On the night the soldiers came, she wrapped it tightly around my mother and they fled, leaving behind their lives and their land and their ancestors. Mother was glad of its rabbit fur lining, warm under those sharp stars. Do you feel the rush of their footsteps? Does the collar brush soft against your throat?
When I was a girl, my mother nestled me into the jacket before she sent me alone on the next wing of our family’s flight: a midway point, harsh, but safer than the way she’d come. I drew myself deep into the fur to escape the covey of unfamiliar faces and voices. Do you hear it? My fastling pulse echoing through the silk and the years?
Before you fold my jacket into tissue paper or toss it in the discard bin, grant me this wish: turn down the cuffs, slide your fingers along the embroidery, and walk outside. Let my jacket shimmer again in the morning sun, content in the completion of my grandmother’s journey, begun those many years ago. Perhaps you will find comfort in its touch, a hint of plum blossoms on your Western breeze.