Number Eight Daughter

I’m ugly because when I was a baby, no one cared enough to wipe the raindrops off my face. That’s how Mother Kang explained it to me, but who can trust a woman ruled by her superstitions?

It had rained furiously the day the Kang family took me in as their future daughter-in-law. Their youngest son, Jin Lok, was only a toddler and I was an infant, but it wasn’t unusual in those days for a well-established family to take in an unwanted girl, raising her as their own, training her to cook and clean under the strict eye of the family matriarch. The son was then guaranteed a pure and dutiful wife who knew her place, and the family gained a servant who required no payment beyond simple food, a cot for sleeping, and the promise of marriage.

By giving me to the Kangs, my birth family had rid themselves of the burden of an extra mouth to feed, especially one that belonged to a useless girl.

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