Reading an article written by someone else had initiated the memories here, translated…
The writer, Yueh-Jr Lee who wrote, “Parting is the Start of Goodbye” in “The Journey of Love”, about the friendships and relationships she’d had in high school, it’d, stirred up my memories of long-ago. Whether it was friendship, or love, we’d, weighed the pros and cons, and, it all felt, quite unreal now.
The head of my class in elementary school was a gifted and talented student, his shoes were, polished all the time, is totally opposite of me, who’d gotten punished by the teacher to stand at the back of the classroom, who always had on a dirty vest and skirt. I’d never, looked at him straight in the eyes, felt, that so what if he’s good in school, that he was able to study so well, because his mom is a teacher too; and, his going to practice on the piano in the music room, and, entered into numerous competitions on behalf of our school, are all privileges, from sucking up to the school principal, it’s, no big deal; his packed lunches always had meats in them, had people chauffeuring him to and from school, so long as I’m rich too, all of these, will be, easily, mine too. As I thought more on it, I’d, hated him more, and, every time he’d stood in the front of the class, announcing something, I’d always, put my head down on the desk, to sleep, treated him like air.
And yet, at the cleanliness checks, he’d always, had me to wash off the mud and the dirt on my hands from digging up the bamboo shoots, he’d placed his younger sister’s old handkerchief and napkins on my desk, and, he was laughed, “the head of the class liked the girl!”, he’d still done what he did, without letting anybody get to him. When it came to art, calligraphy, and handicrafts sessions at school, because I didn’t have the materials to work with, I’d, started, wandering about in the hallways, the discipline officer of our class would tattle to him, he’d, run out the door, and, came to me, panted, “This is for you to use, don’t make trouble!”, he’d handed me a very short crayon, a split at the tip calligraphy writing pen, and half dried-up pastes, I’d stared at him hard, but, stared, dumbfounded, at the items, now, I can’t find a good reason, to not turn in my assignment anymore.
As he went up to middle school, I’d, started working as a janitor of the elementary schools, I thought, that we would never meet up again, but, I’d kept, bumping into him; he lived in the elementary school dormitories, he went to school, I, to work, and, we’d often, run into each other with our separate bikes. He’d hollered out a “Good morning”, and I’d, greedily, taken in his backside as he went off. I took over the operations of the school library, and he’d returned the books his mother borrowed for him from time to time, and asked me to read the few he thought were interesting for him, and, no matter how difficult or boring these books were for me to read, I’d tried my best, to finish from cover to cover, hoped, to share what I’d gained from reading with him. Slowly, I’d started, paying attention to his mother when she’d talked about him, heard her talked of her son’s amazing scholastic achievements; on the weekends, I’d come to work, saw him far off, playing basketball with his classmates.
Afterwards, in order to get into his first-choice of public university, other than going to cram school, he’d, turned down ALL activities outside of class, and, I’d gone to the business high school’s night department, which made bumping into him even harder, and I can only, ask people I knew how he was doing; and because of his over-confidence, he’d only gotten into a private university, he was, hard broken, and decided, to take the national entrance exams, ignored his parents’ urging him to register into the private university first, then, transfer out after his first year, and, fell into a cold war with members of his family, and, since, we’d, lost touch with each other.
For my seven years’ worth of working as a janitor, I’d had to be at the teachers’ beck and call, they’d treated me like trash, and, no matter how hard it’d become, I’d always, told myself, that I still had him to accompany me. As I was about to, find a new job up north, and gone to where he lived and wandered on, finally, I’d, bumped into him in the track fields. Back then, he was, already, a student at N.T.U., tall, handsome, glowing with pride, with a slender girl by his side. I’d gone up to him, to say goodbye, he’d told me, “I hope everything works out for you”, a greeting, for some stranger, I fell silent, and, left, this place that made my heart ache in an instant.
So, this love may have been mutually developed, but, because the woman and the man’s family were too apart, that, was why it didn’t work out, and, because this boy was kind to this girl, it’d made her fall for him, but, in the end, it’d still, not worked out, because their family backgrounds, upbringings, values, were too far apart.