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Chapter 9 of Mr. Tucker’s new novel 2065, which we are serializing, on China’s invasion of Pearl Harbor fifty years after Obama.
For as long as she had lived, Susan never forgot the time she looked at herself in the mirror when she was four years old and was startled to see a stranger with narrow eyes, broad cheeks, and straight black hair staring back at her. Her mother had blue eyes and a long nose and yellow hair. What had happened? Who was this intruder living in her own skin? It was a long time before she allowed herself to look in the mirror again.
When she was five her mother pulled down a heavy book from the shelf and opened it to a page with a drawing with lots of colors in it and pictures of tiny little houses. “This is China,” her mother told her. “It’s a land far, far away. You have to travel far across the ocean to get to it.” She looked at her mother quizzically. “Your father and I once did this. We travelled all the way across the world and stayed in China for a long time. Do you know why?” Susan was as puzzled as ever. “Because we wanted to find you. We wanted to find a beautiful little baby girl with long black hair. And that’s where we found you. In China.”
Susan considered this for a moment. “Do all babies come from China?” she asked.
“No, just some.”
“Did my brother Brandon come from China?”
“No, had him right here in America. We found him here.”
“Is that why he looks different than me?”
“All babies look different, dearest,” said her mother. “There are white babies, black babies, brown babies, fat babies, thin babies. There are all kinds of babies. But we liked you the best. That’s why we picked you and brought you home all the way across the ocean. And we were so happy to have you.”
She looked at the tears welling in her mother’s eyes and realized something was going on that she had never seen before. She did not quite understand. But Susan took these things into her heart and thought about them.
It was true what her mother said about babies. At school there were all kinds of children. There were raucous black and white boys who ran around the playground playing tag. There were black girls who sang hand-clapping songs as they jumped rope. There were conspiratorial girls who stood off in the corners giggling with one another. And there were boys and girls like herself who stood off by themselves and did not try to play with the others. The teacher often came by and asked if she did not want to join the other children but she said she did not mind. She was content to be by herself.
What she liked best about school was drawing. From the beginning she become lost in thought whenever she had a pencil in her hand. She would draw elaborate curves and swirling lines and then try to make them connect into a pattern. Then she would try to draw little flowers and birds in the middle of them for decoration. She would choose an object on her desk and try to draw it perfectly, line by line. The teacher would hover over her work, obviously impressed. “You should take lessons,” she would say, and then whisper to her aide, “She’s so calm.” But Susan was content to draw on her own. She brought all her drawings home to her parents, who put them up on the walls and the refrigerator until they filled the kitchen.
Her brother Brandon was a source of both fascination and annoyance. She had enjoyed having the sole company of her parents and was unhappy when he arrived. Although she didn’t remember it, her parents told her they had invited a magician to her fourth birthday party and when he asked what trick she would like him to perform she had pointed to her baby brother and said, “Make him disappear.” But she had quickly become fascinated with his gurgling and endless efforts to put everything in his mouth and by the time he was able to walk she became his constant playmate. They devised an endless game where she would build elaborate structures with his blocks, towering up three feet off the ground, Brandon watching in fascination with a growing gleam in his eye until on a nod from her he would charge in wildly and knock them all down, laughing uproariously. The first few times he did it she had cried inconsolably and gone to her mother but as she grew confident in her ability to reproduce these intricate kingdoms and as Brandon honored the rule of waiting until she was completely finished before letting loose his destruction, the ritual became a secret that bound them together.
One afternoon when she was nine years old her mother and father called her into the kitchen. “Would you like to learn Mandarin?” her mother asked.
“What is Mandarin?” Susan responded.
“It’s the language they speak in China.”
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?