I've been in China for almost a week now, and all the memories I have of this place is flooding back. Unfortunately, many of those memories are quite negative. A lot of people commented on my last journal asking why my stepmom and half brother had tried to kill me. It's not a secret and I'm in a weird mood right now so I'll retell the story.
I last visited China almost five years ago. I was unfortunate enough to be stranded at the LAX airport for two days. During that time, I met another girl my age who was also returning to China to visit family. We talked for a long time and I found out her parents are also divorced like mine. She told me how her stepmom would regularly burn her with cigarette buds. I was horrified but I felt lucky that my stepmom is kind to me. I told her I was lucky to have a nice stepmom. I had never been so wrong.
When I first arrived, my stepmom greeted me kindly, and we talked, joked, and hung out like a regular family would. But her mask was quickly cracking and she couldn't keep up with the facade anymore. What happened afterwards made no sense no matter how many times I've thought about it. It started with a missing fruit knife. It was a cheap fruit knife of no value. She couldn't find it and insisted that I had lost it even though I never used a knife at their place. She screamed and yelled for hours and hours at my dad about how I lost the knife. I would be in my room and I could still hear every word clearly. This entire time, her eight year son (my half brother) was in the same room, watching his mom losing her mind. I couldn't understand why she was so angry about a missing fruit knife until I heard her scream "- and your daughter doesn't want me here either!"
I was beginning to grasp the situation then. She thought I didn't like her because she's not my biological mom, even though that wasn't the case at all. In the next few days, she refused to move from the sofa or do anything at all. Before she started going insane, we had planned to visit a historical site as part of the family vacation. The day before the trip, she told her son that she doesn't want to go anymore so he's not allowed to go either even though he wanted to. She screamed and yelled all night but the next morning, she was smiling, happy, and ready for us to all go as a family.
During the trip, she would constantly disappear along with her son. One moment we would all be walking together, and then suddenly they would vanish for 10 to 20 minutes.
After the trip, she went back to screaming her head off. Then suddenly she ran away. I would later find out that this is the third time she had done so. For every time I visited my dad in the past years, she would pretend to be kind to me until her hatred for me could no longer be contained and she would run away. She hated me because I was a constant reminder to her that my dad had once loved someone else. I was kept blissfully ignorant and told she was just visiting family every time.
This time, however, her son was left behind. Turns out all those times they kept disappearing during the family trip was when she would tell him lies about how I was a "spy" sent by my mother and grandma to ruin his family. And when his mother ran away, all of his fears came true. I was the evil foreigner who came and made his mother disappear. So he decided to take matters into his own hands and grabbed a kitchen knife to kill me.
My dad was sitting on the couch with me when my half brother tried to kill me. My dad was disturbingly calm during the entire event. My half brother explained that because his mom told him I have a black heart, I need to be destroyed. Meanwhile, my dad calmly explained that there has been a misunderstanding and left it at that. My dad said it was no big deal because his son would try to stab people all the time, so it was normal. I was freaked out, but my half brother had put the knife away so I thought maybe he understood that I'm not actually trying to ruin his family.
We went out to eat dinner right afterwards, the three of us, like a family. My half brother even fed me some fries so I thought everything had gone back to normal. Turns out he was a lot like his mother, kind and smiling until the mask comes off. My dad went to bed early right after dinner. I went to work on my webcomic, 1000 Words, which ironically was about how much pain divorce has on a child. Having gone through it myself, I would never wish that same fate upon my half brother. While I worked in the office, he came in and opened all the drawers. He dug out every single wedding photo of his mom and my dad and started shoving them in my face. I told him to stop because I need to work. He said "Ha! I knew it. This is proof that you want to ruin my family because you're jealous. Don't underestimate me. I know how to kill you."
At that moment, the phone rang. It was his mom. I told her my dad is asleep and that she needs to seriously reflect upon what her lies have done to her son. When she found out he had tried to kill me, she laughed and said "that's your dad's problem now."
At that point, I had had enough. I packed up all of my belongings while my dad slept and got ready to leave for my grandparent's place. Right before I got out the door, my step mom came back and grabbed my suitcase, refusing to let me go. Her crazed reasoning was that if I leave, my dad would be sad, and he would blame her for it so I'm not allowed to leave. I had to kick and claw myself away from her. I escaped in a taxi and arrived at my grandparent's place after midnight.
After I returned to America, my half brother would regularly hijack my dad's QQ acount (Chinese messenger) to send me pictures of bloody knives and bombs.
Years later, when I found out that my dad was denied by the US to visit me for my college graduation, many people asked why can't I just go back to see him in China. I had to explain that I'm not safe there so people suggested that I could meet my dad in another country and vacation together, just the two of us and safely away from the drama. I thought it was a great idea so I suggested it to him. He said no, because it's too "bothersome". He doesn't want his wife to get angry at him for seeing me, so he chickened out. I kept bringing up that I want to see him, so he finally said that he was "dying" so he doesn't have enough time left to see me.
I cried, and cried even more when I found out he was completely lying to get out of seeing me.
I stopped talking to him afterwards. I would later find out through my grandma that he was complaining about how I'm such a bad daughter who doesn't even call. How unlucky of me to have been born his daughter. If I had been born his son, I could try to kill my own sibling and still be loved more by him.
Now that I'm back in China again, this time not to see him but to visit my grandparents, he wants to play father again. I got to see him once a month when I was a child, so there's a part of me that will always long to spend time with a father. But now that he's here, I can't forget all of the things that had happened. I can't enjoy my time with him. Every moment is filled with awkward silence.
I don't know what to do anymore. I want to be happy this time.