Wednesday, July 20, 2016

When I Met You - Part 1

Alright so, here's the first of 3 parts for When I Met You. We'll be translating the other short stories as time permits after we finish this up. Also a note, this story is actually 1 continuous story, we just decided to break it into three parts due to time constraints. And don't worry we'll be coming out with God's Left Hand as usual on Saturday mornings.

Actually, I already met you before.  But at that moment, I didn’t realize that our fates had already been intertwined.

Winter in Beijing is much colder than back at my home town.  It was so cold that when I sat on the bench inside Zhao Yang Park crying, the sadness wasn’t even the first thing on my mind--- ---Because it was so cold, it seemed that every drop of tear would instantly freeze into ice.  Therefore, I had to stop crying every so often, look up, and use napkins to wipe the tears.  Then--- ---continue crying again.

Suddenly, I felt something different.  I was somewhat startled.  Then I realized that it was a napkin moving towards my face.  I probably had cried myself silly, so I unconsciously reached out for the napkins next to me.  Sure enough, there wasn’t any left.  I looked up and saw him.

This was how I met Jia Han for the first time.  He sat there, nodded slightly to me, and sincerely passed over the napkin.  I knew it was his own napkin, not stealing from those I had put on the bench.  I, with my bad taste, still liked to use napkins with the fragrance of floral water.  But this one in his hand had no scent at all.

His lips slightly tightened with a somewhat pent-up frustrated look.  But what I could see on his face from beginning to end was an unperturbed calming smile.

He’s maybe a few years older than me.  As I was thinking about this, I hesitantly took the napkin and quietly said: thanks.  Afterwards, I couldn’t help myself from sizing him up.

As I looked back now,  maybe the only reason that I had talked so much that day--- ---I, underestimated him.

I was quite surprised after I looked more closely.  He was sitting right in front of me.  But right in front of me was the main passageway of the park, then he--- ---I immediately saw the wheelchair under him.  This may have been the reason that I let down all my guards.  Unconsciously I must have thought that, because of his disability, even if he harbored any evil ideas it would be difficult for him to carry them out.  So, I poured out all the words that had been buried for a long time inside of me.

I cried a few more times in between.  Words became unclear when I tried to talk while crying.  Maybe my vision was blurry, but he seemed to come closer and carefully looked at my face.  Ha, I self-mockingly thought, maybe, a crying beauty is still a beauty.

Just like this, maybe it lasted only ten minutes.  But after I vented all my emotions, I suddenly discovered--- ---that the sun was beaming high in the sky.  I thought, this was where the idiom “every cloud has a silver lining” came from![1]  Even though this stranger didn’t say a word or show any emotion, I was still very thankful for that piece of napkin he handed to me on that freezing morning.  Maybe without it, I would come down with a cold after I got home.

His nurse or assistant rushed over, panting.  “Your older brother insisted that I bring this over.”

I looked more closely, it’s a thin blanket.  The young man didn’t show any objection.  His assistant opened the blanket and put it on his lap.

The legs were long, but very thin.  Without knowing why, my heart sighed.
I got up, thanking him again and said my goodbye: “Thanks, I got to go……”

I didn’t expect to see him frowning and looking at my side.  I finally realized that the trash, which I had created while I was crying myself out, had piled up into a little white mound.  With an embarrassed smile, I hastily scooped them up and quickly threw them into the trash can nearby.  I turned and showed him both my hands.  I mean, I am environmentally conscious.

I wasn’t mentally prepared to see him open his mouth and smile.  I didn’t know that a man’s smile could be so comforting and beautiful.  I think my heart probably fell for him right at that very moment.  Even though I wouldn’t admit it for a long time afterwards.

[1]: The Chinese idiom is “雨过天晴” which literally means a clear sky comes after the pouring rain, which is essentially the same meaning as the English idiom “every cloud has a silver lining.”