It had been eons since Angie Lee had returned home for the Lunar New Year, and she was looking forward to proudly, and finally, introducing her husband, Chris Kwong, to her judgmental and status-minded extended family. They would know she scored because he was educated, good looking, well mannered and employed — all the attributes her family absolutely loves! She couldn’t wait!
“Gong Xi Fa Cai (Congratulations and may you be prosperous)!” Lee greeted each of her relatives, ready to make the big reveal. “This is Chris, my hus … ”
And then Lee, who has spina bifida, had a lightbulb moment. What if she didn’t tell her relatives she was married? She could really do with some hong bao, red envelopes traditionally filled with cash and given by married couples to young children and single adults as a symbol of prosperity, luck and all that other feel-good stuff. How much could she get?
“My hus … husky, wonderful caregiver,” she said with extra emphasis as she surreptitiously slipped her wedding band off her finger and into her pocket.
Kwong was caught off guard. “I was livid! I was going to walk out!” he said later. “But then the hong bao just kept pouring in and I thought, ‘That’s why I married her! F**king genius!’”
Relatives typically belabor single adults about when they are going to find a partner to marry, but with Lee they knew better. After all, she was disabled.
“No point giving Angie oranges and all the other traditional symbols of wealth, love and happiness. She will always be stuck in that awful wheelchair. What she needs are some goddamn prayers,” said Aunt Kelly, watching the dragon dance.
“Poor Angie. She must have done something evil in her former life to deserve being in such a tragic state,” yelled Uncle Mark over the sound of firecrackers going off. “She’s such a bad luck omen and burden. Who can love her like that?”
At day’s end, Lee and Kwong had amassed quite a fortune. Looking at her reflection in the mirror and at her husband-in-crime, Lee smiled deviously and thought, “I am one badass symbol of happiness and luck right now, and it’s going be a heck of a roaring prosperous year of the tiger!” She then proceeded to make a list of other unsuspecting relatives they could visit in the next 15 days of celebration.