Dumpling Sister's Thoughts
12.3.2007 Waiting (Chinese Version)
The crowd was
building up, little by little, there were more people coming
in. It was seven o’ clock at a corner of a restaurant of the
city, is her sitting there undisturbed. She arrived there at
five and asked for a two-persons-table against the wall, and
politely ordered an Irish cream. She enjoyed the drink, sip
by sip, savoring its sweet and the creamy flavor.
The sky’s color change was clear made outside the window; she thought to herself, that the sky darkened pretty quickly this time of the year.
She was used to not wearing a watch, which was an old habit of hers, so she could only estimate the time but often times didn’t know what the exact time was. She looked up to guess the time judging from the people around her, it must be near seven. She looked around the customers and noticed the footsteps of the waiters had been replaced by the talking sound of the hungry diners. What was not replaced was her anxiety, and she looked up the time on her cell phone and found that it was a quarter after seven.
“Strange, how come he is not here yet?” She thought to herself.
“Maybe he is stuck in the traffic, hopefully he drives carefully.”
“Hi waiter, can you please bring me another glass?” she asked the waiter for another glass, a drink that might help her kill time, but more importantly a drink that might help her calm herself down. The nervousness inside her was like a tip of the iceberg; it could easily crumble once the right spot was hit.
The table next to hers had finally met up with the expected person, and now the two of them were chatting loudly. She overheard the conversation and found that they were colleagues at work years ago and now finally had a chance to meet up to talk about the good old times. She thought to herself, “They really have something to talk about.”
It was now seven thirty, and the person still hadn’t shown up; the phone was not connected. She took a deep breath and asked the waiter for another glass. It was good that the empty glasses were taken quickly, else she might give people the impression of an alcoholic. That thought put a grin on her face, but it was quickly removed and there was no emotion left on her face.
Just continue waiting…
She could hear the ticking in her mind; was this the second hand ticking or was it her heart beating? The frequency has slowed down, and the wait had soaked her inside out and left her the feeling of both being empty and expecting, elegant and disappointed.
She now knew, knew it well enough that the person she was waiting for was not going to show up. She felt the itch in her nose, the tear started to gather in her eyes, and her hand twitched a bit. All the sudden she could feet the cold air on the other side of the window. The hot soup on the menu didn’t appeal to her, neither did the roasted garlic buttery bread. Eating was a thing that was boring for her.
Yes, she knew it from the start; she knew that he was not going to come.
She closed her eyes, might as well let her hands support her face and covered her eyes. It was good that the table she sat was near the corner and so there wouldn’t be too many people casting their curiosity on her, but she didn’t really care for that either. All she could feel was her slight aching heart.
“He is not going to come,” she once again said to herself, like a song that was put on a repeat, “… He is not going to come/ He is not coming…”
She put her hands down and looked ahead and tried to squeeze her view through the tight space between the tables and the people. She started to think about the memories of the years ago. Involuntarily, she reached out her hands and tried to grab on to the images and feel that period of time and the person that was once before hers. There was no conversation in the memory but just a blurry image of him from the back and the silent look on his face when he turned around.
The people who left, she was still waiting.
The times that passed, she was still remembering.
Should she leave? Yet she wasn’t able to move her legs. Although she no longer glanced straight at the entrance, she still was listening. She tried to pick up the familiar footstep sound of his and its owner. There were less people at the pub now and the conversation became light. She noticed the sleepiness of the waiter who was standing by a corner. She thought the night must have become even later than it was before. Her sight stayed at the corner of the window where the fog gathered.
Indeed, she has already expected the outcome of this evening. However, she still came early to wait for the gentleman who was not going to appear. She was hoping that he would come to ask her to stay.
She made up her mind, since there was nothing else holding her back, she picked up her cell phone to connect a call.
“Hello, the second brother, it is me. I am all good. How are things at home? Oh ok. I am thinking of going shopping soon, ok, eh, I will, take care of yourself.” She carried the conversation with a smile, and with a pretended enthusiasm, then elegantly hung up the phone call.
(Note: This dialog was derived from the movie “Lust, Caution” which was directed by Ang Lee and the story was written by Eileen Chang. The movie opens and later revisits the dialog due to its significance. Going shopping is a term that was used to tell the other party of the spy was going on a mission, most of times that meant assassination. )