I—Vina Lee, Verna Lee and Cleopatra, born on March 22, fifty-five years ago, with my mother’s surname, after marriage to JP (Joshua Perov) I kept my surname, my son Jay took my mother’s surname, and I sat on the bench of a New York immigration court for twenty-five years.
When hit by a bullet, I (or she) saw the firework again. Fireworks appeared silently above the bronze, carved and hollowed-out iron round table, about a foot away from my black Gucci bag and the stack of leaflets pressed by the bag. They seemed to be about to land, but they caught up with the subway entrance in an instant. The back view of an Ecuadorian man who disappeared like lightning. The two escape into a new time and space at the same time, becoming a spring of time.
There was no one in the park at this time, no doubt because of the cold and the early hours. The wind whistled through the tall trees that were still bare but new green all around. The sun shines directly from the top of the tree, and people only feel a little warmth on the face-this is the case in New York. Even in early spring, when the cold snap comes, it is no different from severe winter. The sun is quite deceiving. Believe me, after a while, someone will find out what happened, and then there will be a huge crowd, and the more people will come, the better. In Bryant Park, which has a huge geographical advantage, this is a 100% thing, and the sensational effect is predictable.
Then old JP and Jay will get the news. What will happen to them?
The old JP has his jewelry store, golf balls, potato chips and ice cream, and a son he had with his ex-wife; he had an affair with a French woman when he was working in the New York Blackwater tax branch in Paris before he changed his career to jewelry. Dew’s daughter born of love; there is an old song “Kill Barney”. As for Jay, Jay had the eyes of a certain attractive Brazilian beauty on the campus of Harvard Law School who understood him and met his gaze.
I imagine the shock and grief they would have felt at first, but they would have transitioned from a normality where I was mostly absent, to a new life where I was completely absent. Their psychological defense mechanisms should be able to cope with mishaps characterized as “homicide” or “disappearance”. As the police investigate step by step, and the situation develops to a point, maybe then they will be proud of me, and the emotions that arise from this will finally heal their wounds.
Mother, what do you think?
The fireworks are very strange, and they come to visit suddenly at night. Several times I felt my mind sink into the blue lake of tranquility, and I was about to fall asleep. A long, narrow, erratic, arc-shaped, almost transparent firework flitted across the lake in a dreamlike way, startling my drowsiness away. At about three o’clock, I finally entered a kind of sleepy state, at the critical point of conscious sleep. At this time, the firework appeared again, which made me break out of that state and become very sober. Like firework, I can feel that what it moves through is not any combination of water, air, solids, darkness and light, but time.
Through fireworks, I see time. Under its reflection, I glimpsed the form of time existence. It is difficult for me to use words to accurately describe what it was like, but I can really feel the gossamer of time, flowing under every strand of consciousness. Indeed, the fragments of a person’s memory are the product of time, just as the more memory fragments fill my brain, the more time I feel has passed, thus giving birth to the feeling that the end of life is approaching. It’s not that I predicted that the man would take revenge for his cousin today after knowing my whereabouts on my face, but that this feeling was too real, and it was stripped from the direction of the matter itself.
In this way, I was drawn by some mysterious force, and I allowed myself to be transformed into an unknown substance between liquid and gas, flowing past the old JP beside me, and walking out of the apartment, in the vast and unknown at dawn. Walk around New York City. In less than a second I was on the 4 subway line to lower Manhattan, slipped into the immigration courthouse at Federal Building 26, and walked in and out of every courtroom at will. From there, I swam unimpeded all the way to Jay in Boston.
In an instant, I seemed to descend on his bed and kiss his forehead. In his sleep, he pouted, still the same as when he was a child. Next, I went to the immigration judges who were unhappy with the DOJ’s interference in immigration courts and were unable to do anything about it, suggesting that they might have an opportunity to change the status quo. Realizing that my imagination has given wings to my mind and the two have become one.
Even so, I tried a few times and couldn’t reach a point in the more distant past. For example, on the night of my fourteenth birthday, a voice suggested to me that I should be able to move forward in the river of time, but I couldn’t. The light waves of the river rushing back and forth shielded the path, and there was no trace to be found everywhere. And at that moment, out of nowhere, I was suddenly outside of me, seeing her in myself, and she could see me. We merged into one, inseparable me and her. I don’t know who sent that firework.
At that moment, I saw her touch her heart reflexively, and the black leather gloves were stained with sticky liquid. It was blood from the wound. She sat down on the chair beside the round table, wrapped her red Maxmara alpaca coat tightly, took off the black Hermes mink fur-trimmed shawl, wrapped the shawl with one hand to cover her chest, and straightened her back as much as possible. I have to admit that after last night, observing her as a third party and getting along with her as a friend is particularly objective and interesting, and our relationship is so harmonious. We are between “I” and “she”, without the slightest blockage, just as gentle, as natural, as continuous as breathing air.
It should be milliseconds before the dull “poof”, the bullet entered my heart. The man must have used a good muffler. No pain, and the initial shock was, as those who survived the shooting say, numbness. Most of the bullets that hit me were small-caliber bullets, probably 9mm, which did not shatter when they were shot, and the pain caused was not strong. After the initial numbness passed, maybe thirty or forty seconds, maybe a minute, the wound produced a burning sensation. I don’t feel tired, and my mind is clearer than ever. The body cooperates supernormally to maximize the supply of energy to the body, so that the body can maintain its operation in the state of injury. Obviously, the brain has received the signal of physical injury, and urgently released a large amount of adrenaline, which raised blood pressure, increased heart rate, and expanded the air passage to the lungs.
The night had already faded away, and the sun was shining brightly. She sat there with her head slightly raised; her shoulder-length, dark maroon curly hair was blown erratically by the wind. Every time, when she blinks, the bright shadow of the sun is on the tip of her eyelashes, dancing playfully and gently, waiting to meet her. She closed her eyes for a minute, and the lights and shadows scrambled to unfold under her eyelashes one after another, forming a bright light, which was amazing. She couldn’t help laughing, accepting the omnipresence and majestic kindness of the sun. At the same time, a layer of light filled her three-dimensional face with a combination of Chinese and Western elements (deep brown eyes with a slight green halo, slightly raised nose, thin and small lips, and softly contoured cheeks), making her His beautiful face is set off vividly and abnormally. It can be said that her whole person is like a landscape, so radiant and eye-catching.
In a sense, she looks more like Cleopatra than ever—even though the real Cleopatra VII of the Ptolemaic dynasty of Egypt is not as beautiful as Elizabeth Taylor. The former wins with wisdom, and it is surrounded by a large number of intellectuals in the court, which is different from the image portrayed in the movie.
At this moment, the pigeons were wandering not far away looking for food, flying up and down. There was a young Latino man coming from the newsstand with a small woman on his arm, and they both looked surprised as they passed. The woman had sharp eyes and asked her: “Ma’am, what’s wrong with you?” The man also asked: “Are you okay?” ”
Thank you!” She said as calmly as possible, “It’s okay, I just feel tight in my chest, and it will be fine in a while.” .”
The two walked away.
She wants to wait, preferring to wait until the last moment. No one came to the park, maybe the fireworks will reappear, show her a certain path, and let her pull out the one she wants from the gossamer of time.
When he left home, old JP had finished his second breakfast. Making his bed in the bedroom, his old little black radio was playing NPR. He hummed his old “Kill Barney” song, his brown eyes were probably foggy, and he didn’t say goodbye to her.
He always sings this song, there are five lines in the lyrics, he only knows the first three lines, “I love you, you love me, let’s go and kill Barney together.” The last two lines are humming, don’t remember lyrics. Barney, the purple dinosaur from a TV show decades ago—children love it until they find out that it is just a man pretending to be a man. They feel cheated, so they meet to kill it together, or have a fight to kill it. game. The old JP still thinks about it so far, and has not forgotten the fun of it. Oh no, he got into it, and made up different lyrics: “I love chicken, I love liver, ummmmmmm…” “You idiot, he idiot, kill you all together Drop…” or: “Kill, kill, kill, kill everyone…” When he was happy, he even patted his round belly twice. Morning and evening, whenever he thought of it, he would hum a few words. He hummed the unaesthetic old tunes with passion, and easily killed any association of a person with beautiful things in an instant.
Forty-one years, she met him forty-one years ago. She had just turned fourteen, and JP Sr. had visited her for the first time on behalf of his jeweler father, three days after her mother “disappeared” at Los Angeles airport on a connecting flight to Sydney. He was Joshua then, and Josie, the loyal son of her mother’s friend.
”Cleopatra!” Josie blurted out.
”Don’t you know?” he added, “You look a little like Cleopatra in Cleopatra!”
She was fourteen and he was twenty-four. At that time, Josie came every day, always walking twenty blocks from the Blackwater Tax Company in lower Manhattan at 5:30 in the afternoon, with a flushed face and sweat on the tip of his nose and forehead. When he looked down at her, a lock of hair on his forehead always hung down and dangled slightly over the corner of his right eye, reminding her of some lovely dark brown curving ferns in autumn. He told her about his family, that sooner or later he would take over his father’s jewelry store, that his father wanted him to take care of her, but he didn’t want him to intermarry. He sometimes played chess with her and sometimes took her out to dinner. They talked about Hemingway, Faulkner, Fitzgerald, Woolf, and American history. He taught her French and she taught him Spanish.
She can still hear Josie’s voice, talking to that girl.
”Cleopatra, you’ve won again!”
”Cleopatra, you’re a quick learner!” ”
”Cleopatra, ‘No one can Tell you, forewarn you, what to do in order to go on living. Do you understand? This is loneliness.'” ”
”Cleopatra, ‘A man may be destroyed, but not Defeated.’”
“The Old Man and the Sea.”
She lowered her eyelids as a girl, and her heart became warm. And she was also smiling, under the clear sunlight, the moisture in her eyes blurred into a thin mist, and then slowly closed. It’s just that he wasn’t Josie anymore, even though he took over the jewelry store when his father died, divorced his ex-wife and married her, and called her “Cleopatra” for many years. Now that he is old JP, he doesn’t call her that anymore. He called her VL, an abbreviation of her full name, Vina Lee. She called him JP, short for Joshua Perov, to be fair (of course she would never call him “old JP” to his face, no one likes being called old).
The jewelry store is looked after by capable and loyal subordinates. His son and daughter have already married and started a business. Josie is getting fatter and fatter day by day. He was content with the status quo, enjoying his pleasures, golf, potato chips, ice cream, and especially food, like celebrating her birthday at that French restaurant last night.
The two chatted one after another, talking about the same topics as in previous years. He destroyed his beef, helped her finish the onion soup, and finished her Provence stew. The restaurant brought a small cake with a candle, and several waiters sang happy birthday and clapped. She ate two bites of the cake, and he ate the rest. She finally sighed and gave him a worried look, but he said, “Come on, VL, you know I hate wasting food!” ”
God, I eat like a pig! I eat too much It!” Finally, in two hiccups that lasted a second, he burst out two greasy French, “I hope you had a good night and happy birthday to you, VL!” And she, all the
time I remember what my mother said. My mother used to be a nurse and was very busy at work, but the most direct influence her mother gave her was her aggressiveness. So she always worked hard and made continuous progress, from high school to college, to law school, to the New York Department of Homeland Security, and became the chief attorney of the Bureau’s General Counsel Department in the fifth year, and then was appointed as an immigration judge by the Department of Justice. In twenty-five years, she tried countless cases. She is always the best. However, she didn’t listen to her mother’s advice on Jie’s matter, and followed in her mother’s footsteps.
Jay’s father, like her father, was tall, had charming eyes, and was a married man—although neither she nor her mother knew it beforehand, but it was too late. Autumn in Big Bear Mountain in the suburbs of New York, the red leaves all over the mountains, and the white curtains and cherry blossoms blooming outside the window of a hospital for the wounded in New York in the early 1960s, two love affairs, two time and space, one went to Washington DC to work in politics, One recovered and returned to Sydney to reunite with his wife and daughter. The crystallization of two loves: she was never dissatisfied with her mother, and Jay was quite critical of her.
Regardless of the FBI’s judgment that her mother was most likely to be in Los Angeles to visit her dying father in Sydney, she was attacked by traffickers and kidnapped to South America, and she insisted on asking the FBI every year. Because she often goes out, Jay insists on living with her boyfriend despite her objections. This was intolerable to her, but Jay insisted on going his own way and ended up not coming home to see her. She thought if her mother was here, how would she teach her?
There are more pedestrians on the street. The New York Public Library, the Midtown Manhattan Library, the State University of New York System Center adjacent to the park, and the subway entrance are only five meters away from the corner where she is sitting. The location is superior and meaningful. The right place to make a message. How people will refer to, talk about Vina Lee, or Verna Lee, or Cleopatra, is their freedom.
”Flyers signed ‘Immigration Judge Verna Lee’!”
”The leaflets are densely packed, and the judge’s revelations are too rich. From the problems in the application of the law, the hard indicators set by the Ministry of Justice for judges to hear cases, to the scandals within the Immigration Bureau and the Ministry of Justice, they are analyzed one by one, one by one, not necessarily That’s all.”
“Did she be killed because she called for the reform of the immigration court?”
“The FBI and other government departments should not reject the evidence that is decisive for the client’s case, so as to cause the tragedy of the client’s loss of life.”
Fan The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal have reported all these things one after another, and they became hot news for a while, and fellow immigration judges across the United States joined the wave of reform one by one.
She could never forget the man’s cousin.
When the man’s cousin heard that the FBI agent denied that he was an informant who cooperated in the investigation of the drug smuggling case in Ecuador, his eyes showed despair. Bound by the law due to lack of evidence, she had to reject his application, and he paid with his life for it – being deported and murdered by gangsters. Within a month, the man found her, hinted to her that he was someone’s cousin, and came to collect debts from her.
Now there are five or six people in the park. She felt more strenuous than before, and the burning sensation was stronger, like being stung by a bee in the heart, the stinging pain was endless. Its thorns have been drilled in. Then someone sticks a bunch of needles into it, but each time the needle goes in, it keeps being pushed farther and farther, without end. Pain, she felt pain, and she only thought of her mother. Mother, mother!
Her body was tilted, as if she was about to fall down. Her body was running with high energy consumption, and she couldn’t hold on. Her hands trembled, and the shawl fell to the floor.
”Hurry up, someone is hurt!” shouted a man behind him.
”Call 911!” someone yelled.
”Ah, her heart is bleeding!” Someone shouted hysterically.
A lot of people came at once.
Now, I see her whole body on the ground. The body is turned to the right, the head is pressed on the right arm, the blood from the wound is absorbed into the red coat and is not conspicuous, and the makeup on the whole body is still neat.
Cleopatra was elegant.
Her pupils began to dilate, and she couldn’t see their appearance clearly, and she couldn’t even tell whether they were male or female. Tears flowed involuntarily from her eyes. When they dripped on the cool stone bricks, in a branch of the big tree in front of you, the fireworks appeared, and there it flickered.
Not sure, she wanted to blink hard, but she couldn’t even blink. Her body temperature was dropping rapidly, but her heart was on fire. There were more and more people, and the police kept shouting “Please get out of the way”, and the ambulance came with the screaming siren, and she was carried into the ambulance. Finally, the fireworks suddenly flew close to her, and it turned out to be a crystal tear. Through it, she caught a glimpse of her mother. oh mother!
How wonderful is the ring of time. At this end of the ring of time, the starting point can be seen, and the dandelion-shaped floor lamp installed by her mother is emitting soft light in countless ways. Mother bowed her head, kissed her, and said goodnight softly. She giggled, still the same as when she was a child.