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Continued from Following the breadcrumbs:

Still smarting from Heinrich’s infidelity, Yry strengthened her mask of unapproachability.  Yet, she kept crossing the path of a young accountant called Yuan Chang. He never failed to compliment her in some small way. She was used to ignoring male attention.

“That hair style is very becoming, Yry,” he would half whisper with a winning smile. Or “What a beautiful dress!” It was often a dress she had designed and sewn for herself, which doubled the compliment. She began to look forward to his warm gaze from across the room. He seemed like such a decent man, so serious, so different from Heinrich. His sincere attentions soothed her prickles.

Yuan asked her to join him for dinner. She demurred several times, but one warm spring morning she arrived at work flushed and enervated from a brisk walk to the office. The air was particularly fragrant, full of the portentous richness of blossoms on the threshold of bursting open. She felt so peaceful and at ease that she shocked herself and Yuan by finally accepting his dinner invitation. The rest of the day jerked by slowly. She argued with herself repeatedly about the fine mess she’d gotten herself into. With trepidation she watched the clock ticking nearer to what she knew would be an uncomfortable evening.

To her surprise the evening sped by. Yuan dazzled the dinner conversation with tales of his family, his life, the countries he’d seen, his work. He spoke about life in China and about his parents who had saved up their money so that he could go to school and have a solid profession. Dinner was followed by shared lunches and more dinners out. He was so easy to talk to, so kind, so interested in her! In his quiet, non-threatening manner he drew Yry out of herself in a way no one had before. He had studied poetry and religion, history and politics. They talked about philosophy, about love and loyalty and war and peace. No topic was too large or too deep for them to discuss. He took her to Chinese restaurants and explained how the food was different from his mother’s delicious home-cooked meals. On weekends they visited the World’s Fair. She fell madly and passionately in love with Yuan.


At World’s Fair in a coat I made. 1940

(Yry’s hand writing on the back of each image)