I’m sure I heard that sound this past Friday, after a phone call closed one of the best options for my husband’s internship. The person in question echoed much of the same discrimination we’ve known from the past. It sent me reeling for much of the evening, and well into Saturday.
Maybe it hurt me harder because I considered this person’s very emergence a miracle. That kind of “hey, someone else actually believes in my husband too” sort of feeling. But the person turned out to be nothing more than a mirage, and so were the opportunities.
Still, even if they’re not real, mirages can sting. I should know, because I came this close to just giving in, just saying, “To hell with it, maybe they were right all along.”
But yesterday, I donned my Red Army cap, the very one I bought years ago on a trip to Chairman Mao’s hometown of Shaoshan, Hunan, and headed outside with my husband to kick around a soccer ball in an empty soccer field nearby. It’s something we do as a way to exercise as a couple and just let off a little steam. Yesterday, however, surprised me. When I first tried juggling soccer balls with my feet some four years before, I couldn’t even hit it twice. But yesterday, I hit it eight and nine times in a row, twirling around and lunging my leg to catch the ball with a grace I never knew before. Every kick and every jump thrilled me, because even months before I couldn’t imagine juggling a soccer ball with such ease.
Later, I wondered — if I could do the impossible with a soccer ball, then couldn’t my husband and I do the impossible with his future? We still want to finish his training in this country. Many people out there seem to collude against him, to suggest it will never happen, to imply his failure. But this is too important to stop. If it takes more time, so be it. If we must pound the pavement and keep calling on more people — even strangers — we’ll be out there. With time and effort, we’ll figure out how to juggle this and make it work too. My husband calls it the “Long March Spirit,” the same spirit behind that Long March taken by China’s Red Army in the 1930s.
More than a month ago, I wept before a friend of mine. “Where is our miracle?” I asked her, after months of losing support and watching doors get slammed over and over in front of my husband. But now I realize I was wrong. We had a miracle all along — that my husband and I love each other so much that we’ll march together, hand-in-hand, until we make it.
Now where are my boots and my Red Army cap?