Forgotten Fragments
Vida Janulaitis

Hayward Fault Line Winner

I was confused. I didn't want to be here. But the will specifically stated that being the last family member I had an obligation, especially if I wanted to inherit my mother's estate. So here I was between China's east coast and Korea watching out for flood warnings. My mother had a great sense of humour but I doubt even she would be laughing now.
The stories about my grandmother losing her life while trying to stop the floods were ingrained in me. Poor peasants trying to bank the shores. This was the heritage my mother left me. To face insurmountable odds against nature claiming what she thought was rightfully hers.
Days after the funeral I caught a plane to travel a thousand miles back in time, in order to finally step foot on the east bank of the Yellow Sea. This was where the wind scattered her ashes. It was also where I noticed the strange hues the sea gave out from the shore to the strange looking platforms out in the sea.
Asking around I learned that the Yellow Sea has rich oil deposits and those rigs out there were an abomination against the water, land and people. The damage done could never be reversed. I was caught in the middle of it when nature decided to rebel against the rape. The earthquake was devastating. I don't know how I managed to survive. I know many didn't.
Days after sleeping under the stars we finally had shelter and food. People were dying and I needed more of the simple things I took for granted. Now everyone was watching the rising waters and I was waiting to receive blood from the Red Cross. I didn't have a license to practice here but I don't think anyone cared. I even stopped caring about the patients I left back home. I was more needed here. Maybe this was the gift my mother always intended to give her people. I wrap this legacy around me like a shawl while I keep watch on the rising waters.

First published: August 2000