— “Geez, you are fast!”
I was quite amused with myself, sliding into the gate the way like Stanley danced the swing in the movie The Mask!
I was happy to have made people laugh by being funny and unpredictable. I almost always feel light, it seems I have got wings! Maybe it is because I’ve lost 4 kilos in the past 12 months and I physically feel good and light?
Lili opened the door. I heard her sweetly calling my name and she introduced me to a lady who was sitting by her dinner table. Her name is Pei and she stood up to greet me with a light smile.
— “Lili always talks about you,” she said. I felt a little shy when people give me compliment although I am not at all a shy person.
She is a fine lady with a slightly darker complexion. She moves and talks in a very graceful way, quiet and smooth, without a trace. She was not shy nor too outgoing. When she smiled, it was light and casual, nothing special or exciting. I saw a dark space on her left conner of her mouth. She missed a tooth there, but it made her somewhat peculiarly sweet and charming…She was there to babysit as I was taking Lili out to a business meeting at the Marriott Hotel in Ville Saint-Laurent.
The simple meal was ready and the three of us sat at the table while the energetic little boy was hauling out the toy box, trying to dump its contents all out right after his mom had put them away.
— “Zhuang Zhuang, hold it! Please do not dump them out. It is time to have supper!”
To my surprise, the little boy stopped, went to the other side, and started pushing the box back into the room. He is a sick boy with Fibroma, a sickness that is hindering his ability to speak and might develop into cancer at a later stage. His dad had left him and his mom a year and half after they landed in Canada from China.
Lili had prepared steamed fish, fried rice and a terra cotta pot of soup. She finished eating quickly and left for her shower.
— “She always saves the food for her son.”, Pei told me. Obviously, Pei had a deep and quiet sympathy for Lili and her son. She ate quietly most of the time, leaving me to find a subject to talk about. I have been in sales for eight years and I have learned to listen and adapt to different people with different interests and manners. She seemed not very much interested in the subject hence I stopped. There were bits of silence that left me the chance to read her.
Between her graceful and soundless way of eating, I saw something abnormal. Her hand was shaking when she helped herself with the food. I thought at the beginning that it was because of the hot soup, but the second time, I saw clearly that her hand did tremble when she was cleaning the table. She was so careful not to show that she had became a bit nervous. I thought she must be tired. She appeared nice, sweet and beautiful, but the gaps in her graceful movements, the unsureness of her body and dullness in her eyes and on her face just could not hide the deep secret of her life.
We slipped out the door when Pei followed the boy into the bedroom. In the car, the GPS fell again from the front window shield!! I picked it up and spit onto the little suction cup to make it stick harder on the glass window! Lili giggled at my ungraceful action and she peeped at me like a little girl. We exchanged glances as if we were up for some mischief!
— “Your friend, Pei, did you meet her at the Church?”
_ ” Yes! ”
_ “She is very nice and she does not look 51! I would say close to 40!” Yes, eh? We Asian girls are genetically lucky to have silky skin even at age of 50!
— “Yes, yet you would never know her situation though. She is still recovering from a suicide attempt!”
Really?! I was shocked! …though not without any preparation for something abnormal, but not to an extreme like this. I suddenly understood her, yes… the look, the slowness, the gaps, the reluctance hidden behind her light smile, the trembling of her hands…
I felt I was already crying inside and would imagine her lying on her bed with an empty bottle at her side and all the sleeping pills in her body…
I saw myself in 2003, sitting on a big rock by the St-Lawrence River as my second marriage was disastrously falling apart! Tears were running down my face, rain drizzled silently on my hair and clothes! Me — a person who had been so strong and who had never cried since I was 25 years old — felt the hopelessness, the vulnerability and enormous frustration that would seem to end my life! I was startled by a man standing behind and turned my head around.
— “Are you ok? I have been watching you for quite a good 20 minutes now”. Obviously, the gentleman was very much concerned about me staying in the rain without a rain coat for this long!!! I do not know if it was this gentleman who saved my life or it was just that my life was too precious to end after all.
I thought Pei had married a Chinese and it would be the usual sad story of a Chinese couple not being able to deal with the shocking effect of migration from one culture to another. But I was wrong. Pei was well married to an English Canadian, working for a big famous company as an engineer for years. They met 15 years ago and were happily married. At that time, Pei was just as pretty as the orchid and as fresh as the water lily. Of course, no man could ever resist her beauty.
Alas, wonderful life, so many times, offers us hot temptation to our naive and innocent hearts and leads our souls into a dead end relationship that would take “to be or not to be ( Hamlet of Shakespeare )” to break away and break through! We have just so much time to get to know who we are while growing without guidance and recognizing the places we fell before. The courageous ones never wait till we know who we are before doing things despite the fact that we, of course, got “hurt” often ( refer to point 2 on this page ). Yet isn’t the feeling of being “hurt” subconsciously turning into moments when we become more and more conscious of our status? So often, we would just forget about our fragile hearts and repeat the same stories only in different languages, different countries and different time. After all, we are made to follow our endorphin despite of all possible rationalistic side of our brain…
Life just means so different to different people. Pei would stay home while her husband went hiking, skiing, playing tennis, etc. She would follow her husband on trips only to please him and had no interest at all in anything he was interested. She would love to knit a sweater, or cook at home or stay home reading a book. They had never any arguments or disputes over anything. Then they divorced 3 years ago.
She was laid off after, but finance was not a problem for her, because the company gave her a little parachute that takes care of her need. It was her ex-husband who found her drugged and thus she is still alive today…
I would imagine the pressure for both of the idea of leaving each other. The relationship might have been long dead, yet no one ever wanted to utter first…After all, they did love each other, or they still do love each other in the big way.
What would stop us from feeling hurt while not losing the Romanticism that we need so much to live? After separations and separations, we tend to close our hearts to romanticism thinking that we surely won’t get hurt if we study and test, wait and see. We definitely have no conscience that Romanticism is not Romanticism when everything is clear and after we know everything. At the same time, difficulties and even tragedies paint mystical colors to Romanticism that makes it irresistible. The stories of classical Romeo and Juliette and many other stories alive like that of Pei have been the extension of this luxurious factor of life quality.
I can still be happy for Pei. She had her moments of romance, even though she got lost before and now. I would hope deeply that she could find back her love and interest for life and I wish to be an angel to heal her wounds by bringing her romance again into her still pretty life, the romance of falling in love with life and its beauty!