Wendi Deng Is Your Imaginary Girlfriend


Welcome back to Your Imaginary Boyfriend/Girlfriend, Jezebel’s series in which we explore the wild and entirely fabricated world of dating a famous person. As is the risk with most fan fiction, things might get weird and things might get creepy, but the important thing is that we all have a good time.

Today’s Imaginary Girlfriend is the newly single Wendi Deng.

Your mother had her first vision before you were born. She awoke suddenly in the middle of the night, the exact moment the clock struck twelve, to find her sheets soaked through with sweat and her pregnant belly heaving. Your father, a simple man who wanted for little else besides the love of his family and a place to watch football on Sundays, continued to sleep soundly, even as your mother — heavy with child — pushed herself off the bed.

She had paced the kitchen ’til dawn, wondering if what she’d seen was a dream — something ephemeral that pops into your head one night and is gone by morning. A dream is nothing. A dream is avoidable. This was not a dream and she knew that nothing could be done.

Once, as a child, you asked her why she couldn’t seem to love you like the other neighborhood mothers loved their children Why she never cooed with affection over your scraped knees or gently tangled her fingers in your hair while the family watched TV. You asked why she cried in the kitchen late at night when she thought that no one could hear her.

Her eyes — somehow the color of honey and trees and the ocean all at once — were cloaked in grief as she met your gaze.

“You don’t belong to me,” she said, reaching out to touch your cheek. Right as her fingers were about to make contact, her hand dropped limply to her side. “You belong to Wendi Deng.”

At the time, you didn’t know what a Wendi Deng was but the words filled you with a heart-wrenching mix of awe and dread all the same.

Wendi Deng, you whispered to yourself as your mother turned away from you.

Wendi Deng. Wendi Deng. Wendi Deng.

Over the years, you repeated those words so many times that they felt hammered into your skin like a tattoo.

Wendi Deng.

Your mother died when you were 11. She called you to her deathbed and apologized for not being better to you.

“I tried,” she said, voice thick, dusty and cracked like dried mud. “To mother you, to love you. I’m sorry it wasn’t enough. You’ve always been good, but the fates are unkind.”

She began to cough then, her bony body shuddering violently. Your father ushered you from the room with a sweet smile and reassuring squeeze of the shoulders. He was lucky enough not to be plagued by the visions. He never knew that you weren’t actually theirs.

You watched through a crack in the door as he wiped the blood from the corners of her mouth with a floral handkerchief. She was gone by afternoon.

It wasn’t until your late teens that you first saw Wendi Deng. Her image flashed across the screen of the television of the doctor’s waiting room where you had been working part time as a receptionist. You knew her immediately and somehow, though it seemed like an impossible act of magic, she saw you, too — through the television, from the other side of the world.

After that you sought her out. You could feel your mother’s imprint warning you against it, but you couldn’t help it. Curiosity and something even more powerful burned through you and soon your entire walls were covered in the photos of her that you had cut from magazines, her frightening beauty observing you from every direction.

You could feel her.

Wendi Deng. Wendi Deng. Wendi Deng.

She had tied herself to another — wrapped her long witch fingers around the pulse of a terrible, little old man who caused the world great suffering.

“Why do you feed on evil?” you’d whisper to her photos late at night. You never got an answer, only the same hard stares and cold smiles.

The day finally came. The one your mother had seen in her visions all those years ago.

TV anchors and periodicals shouted the news: “Rupert Murdoch to Divorce Wendi Deng!”

Divorce. Such a mortal concept. A person could no sooner divorce Wendi Deng than they could divorce the sun. What was really happening — you knew in hollows of your bones — was that she was detaching. Surely, the little old man had some evil left in his body, but she no longer wanted it. She wanted something fresh and new. She wanted you. There was no point in fighting. This was your destiny and nothing could change that now.

You didn’t try to sleep that night. Instead you went to sit at the kitchen table where your mother had contemplated your fate all those years ago. You could hear your father snoring softly from the recliner in the living room where you had covered him with a blanket and left him with a kiss on the forehead.

Scared, but ready, you sat with your back straight — barely blinking — and waited. The clock struck midnight and your kitchen suddenly erupted into a ball of fire. You didn’t jump. You knew she was coming the same way that your heart knows to beat. Instead you took her in, the beautiful blazing seraph coming to collect what had been hers this whole time. It hurt to stare her in the eyes, but you made yourself look anyway.

You don’t belong to you. You belong to Wendi Deng.

You nod — a small, resolved smile playing on one corner of your mouth.

“Okay,” you say. “I’m ready.”

She grins back cruelly, her perfect teeth gleaming like razor blades.

A blaze, then nothing. Nothing at all.

Image via Getty.

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