Had Grandma Lanh known the jade bracelet couldn’t cure her daughter of the cancer, she wouldn’t have given it to her. But after 50 years of wearing it on her own wrist and witnessing the changes in the stone’s coloring, Grandma Lanh couldn’t help believing that hers was a special artifact blessed by Buddha himself. This was why she insisted on placing the bracelet over her daughter’s frail hand, in spite of the dissent from the family, in spite of the jade’s unbending circumference. “Jade bracelets aren’t meant to fit around the hand, anyway,” she reasoned. “We just have to twist her arm to get the jade past her fingers. Like this.” The act would have been less significant had she left it at that, but two days later when Auntie Men was taking her last breath, Grandma Lanh decided she wanted her bracelet back.
“The jade isn’t working on her. Our energies are not compatible,” she said. “The stone does not want to collect her story.” When she moved toward the jade, Auntie Men’s daughter caught her wrist mid-air and pulled her aside.
“You gave this to my mother,” she said.
But Grandma Lanh didn’t listen. She waited instead — until Auntie Men’s daughter left the room that night, until everyone left the room. Then she wrapped her hand over the bracelet and twisted it off as if it were a lid on a glass jar.