The madam’s hand slipped into her lap as she stood up. Her fingers quickly signed, “Thank you, daughter.”
The nun barely caught this exchange. She busily relayed the message to the rest of the women in the cellar in Mandarin. Cries of anguish filled the room when the sister felt a tug from the madam.
The madam quickly signed, “I must get my house in order and get my girls ready.”
“Do you plan to fight?” asked the sister in return.
A sad smile graced the scarred lips of the woman, “Of course. If I do not, who will?” She kissed the hand of the sister and made her way up the stairs. Her daughter followed quickly behind.
O-Lan watched this quietly before she asked, “Where does she go?”
“She goes to fight them,” the nun answered. She stood up slowly and adjusted her skirts, “As do I.”
The other women quieted down at this exchange. After a moment, many of them moved back to their beds. They picked up the weapons they had kept with them since they had been freed.
The sister turned to all of them, “You don’t have to do this. You didn’t choose to fight this battle.”
O-Lan replied angrily, “We didn’t choose the life that was forced on us, but we can choose to do this.” She moved quickly toward the stairs, “Are you coming?”