with each other.” Sun lit up a long thin pipe and sat contentedly puffing the sweet smoke, blowing billows of blue.
“My sister,” said Loy. “What happened to her?”
Sun did not look at him. “She was not naturally formed. It would have been a crime to allow her to live. She died shortly after your mother. They went together, and were put to rest together, up on the hill in the arms of the family.” Sun sighed. “It is very hard to maintain the structure of a family when the world is in turmoil and all the traditional things of life are being destroyed.”
Sun sighed again. “The old world is changing so rapidly it is difficult for a man to know what he should do. Now I am to come with you to Gim San, I no longer know what to expect of my life.”
Loy smiled and moved nearer to his dear uncle. There was a real warmth in Uncle Sun that he had never seen in his father. “You will just love it over there, Uncle Sun. It is not all Gwailo. There are plenty of our men in such places as San Francisco, and Vancouver, and Calgary even. There, it’s just like being at home, except everyone will call you a Chinaman, or a ‘Celestial’. That’s all.”
Sun smiled, puffing smoke slowly. “Just like at home?” He walked to the veranda door and stood there pensively smoking for a long moment. “That’s China out there. Mostly sleeping now. It is my heart.” He blew a long thin cloud of aromatic smoke and it hung on the windless air like a ghost. “Do you know, my boy, I have lived in this house for forty years, seldom leaving except to go to university for a while, or to do business. For me Gwailo country will be very strange indeed.” His eyes felt strangely damp, and he hoped it would seem as though the smoke was in his eyes. “Nothing elsewhere can ever be as it is in China.” He took another draw from the pipe. “Nothing. . . .” Then he simply had to walk away.