"You and I have nothing that is ours," my mother said tonight as she drove us home from campus. Her eyes were fixed on the highway, but in the dark I knew she let a soft tear fall. "Remember it: as long as your father has a stake in things, that woman has a stake in it too. So I have to do this."
She paused to wipe her cheek before resuming. "What have I gained from him? Nothing. Only losses, like with that plot of land. I never thought one day the deed would say her name. All along your father said he had changed it to his. And why should I allow this?"
I didn't say anything in return but sat watching the streetlights pass by. The whole situation - the divorce, the rivalry between wives - reminded me of the first scene in Four Reigns, a modern classic in Thai. All of a sudden, the novel's opening lines began to imitate life:
"Their ferryboat was turning into the river Chao Phraya when Phloi's mother said to her, 'Pay attention to what I'm saying, Phloi. When the time comes for you to take a husband, make sure you find one with a single heart. Keep away from the great lover who must have many wives about him, or you will suffer like your mother.' A short pause followed before the advice was concluded. 'And you must never become any man's minor wife. Never. Do you hear?'
Phloi heard and, duty done, peered out from under the awning at life on the Chao Phraya...Stealing a glance at Mother, she said nothing. This was the first time Phloi had traveled so far from home. Her mother told her they were never going back there...that they had left it forever..."
A great TV production of the novel; after a long title sequence, the scene starts at 3:25.