The Interlude of Love in Our Fourth Year of Middle School

The young and in love, of course, these are, only passages in our lives, they’re not, meant to last, are they???  Nope!  Translated…

Perhaps, This Would be, the Very Last Ten-Minutes We Ever Get to Walk Together………

The Beginning of an Unknown World

This place, “the fourth year of middle school”, it’s definitely, a unique experience for the youths who were involved in it during that era of time.  Regularly, it was after we’d all graduated from middle school, but we’d continued, wearing those uniforms every single day, and pretended to go to school daily, it’s just, that the location where classes held was no longer on campus, but in this 50-centimeter space that’s tightly cramped.  But for me and Jack, it was, the start of our trip away from home, getting to know a foreign world, we’d both believed back then, that this was only, a year-long temporary thing in Taipei, which helped us to become, more adventurous in life as we got older.

young and in love, not my photograph…

That year, we both had our separate failed ventures in love.  We fell for two sisters from Shijr, I think they were, cousins.  Although we’d felt attracted to them, but, based off of the conditions back then, we couldn’t do anything about the attractive feelings, and so, after our cram school sessions, we’d accompanied them on the ten-minute walk from the classes to the train stations in Songshan, during those short ten-minutes we’d come to share, it’d become, the happiest time we’d ever had in our fourth year of middle school.

Jack loved the older girl, but, their differences in height was too enormous, the girl was 5’8, while Jack was only 5’5, every time I’d walked behind them, it was, like watching the temple deities making their parades, but, because they’d bickered a lot, it’d, added to those harder days of our youth, and for the year, we’d both followed behind them, watched how things played out with them, sometimes, we’d laughed until our stomachs hurt, and sometimes, we’d caught each other’s gazes, and, seemed, to have a lot to say to one another, but, we’d, suppressed the urges to talk, and just, walked on quietly.

Don’t Forget How You Feel at This Precise Moment in Time

The final day of our fourth year in middle school, the four of us maintained our usual formation, walked toward the Songshan Train Station.  But we all knew, that perhaps, this would be, the very last time, we walked together for the ten-minutes, and, the tall and short who’d fooled around and horse-played both, settled down.  The very first time, Jack and I bought the tickets, and followed the sisters into the station to wait.  As the train came in, I knew, that if I don’t say something, then, it would be, too late, but I’d not spoken a single word.  Before she got on, the younger cousin turned her head around, said to me, “Goodbye”, god DAMN it, I still didn’t have enough courage to say anything, I’d just, nodded my head toward her.

teenagers in love 的圖片結果like this???  Not my photo…

Before the train started, I’d quickly taken out the sketch I’d made secretly in class of the younger cousin’s side profile, and handed it to her who found a window seat, that was the very first time, that she’d stared me in the eyes, and, flashed that enchanting smile at me.  The train moved, and the older girl tilted her head out the window, and called out “Jack!”, Jack attempted to run to keep up, but the train already, sped out of the station, I saw Jack’s panting backside, and there seemed, to be tears, mixed in his sweats, this was, probably, the very first time I ever saw Jack cry.

Before we left Taipei, we did something together, celebrated our birthdays together.  We were both, Taureans, born in the month of May, eight days apart, we’d bought ourselves a small cake, with one candle on it, we sat at the bus depot at the back of the train station and made a wish together.

“Although we’re dirt poor right now, but, we’d, shared some great times together, we will, NEVER forget how we both feel at this  precise moment.”

“I hope we will sit in different countries, and celebrate our birthdays together.”

so young, these kids, and yet, the love they’d found, are the purest…not my picture still…

“Are we going to be sitting, in the different bus stations of the different countries?”

“Ha, that sounds very cool too!”

“We must work hard, to make names of ourselves, work hard, and we will, succeed!”

So, these are the days of our youths, we’d found that first taste of love, but, because at the end, we’d needed to grow up and part ways, but, the memories of our shared moments will always stay alive in each of us, like it was, yesterday!

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The Love Found in Midlife

A love that’s, geographically undesirable, so, you can’t, hold on to it, and chose, to let each other go…translated…

Young and wild, believed that we’d sought out the love bravely, sacrificing everything, love will be ours to behold; and after we’d ruined ourselves, in the encounter with love, we’d only begun, to learn, that we can’t force anything in this world.

The first time I saw C, it was as I’d learned that a famous instructor from an Ivy League university was giving guest lectures at N.T.U., back then, I was a part-time lecturer, and I’d selected a few courses to audit.  And, based off of my experiences, the western instructors from the U.S. and Europe encouraged the students to voice their questions, encouraged in-class participations, the instructors prepared the course packets, and guided the students in their learning processes based off of the handouts.

What caught my attention was C, who’d not prepared any materials for classes, everything he teaches, was coming from his memories.  He’d used a chalk, started writing the formulas, the theories on the blackboard, with forms here and there, then, started lecturing endlessly, and, after he finished with one section, he’d, stopped, and allow the students to ask questions.  He was fluent in English, very articulate, organized, and, must be the most outstanding of the dozen instructors who’d come to guest lecture.  I’d sighed, on how Asians, if they were to, become outstanding, they must, out-perform the white people tenfold.

At a gathering, we’d met at Yangming Mountain, and I’d forwarded the invite to C, and he was glad to join us.  The meeting place had series of glass pane houses one right after another, gave us a view of the city of Taipei in the nighttime.  The dozen of us gathered there, and conversed on the values we held, and our lives.  As the summer was nearing end, C was about to return to New York, and he’d asked me if we can go up Yangming Mountain again, but, that eventually, never came true.  The day before he left, we’d met up at the café next to the school, for about an hour, we’d chatted away on history, literature, and the topics drifted toward his life, and his values.

I’d just met a man, started admiring, liking him, without having the time to get to know him on a more personal level, and he’s, about to leave.  As we bid our farewells, I’d known, we will, never meet again; we work in different fields, with our separate lives, and, there’s just, NO valid reasons for us, to drift abroad to visit one another anymore.

The love found in midlife is regret, is sigh, it’s an incomplete circle.  Like that gentle summer breeze, it’s something you can’t hold on to.  The love in midlife is quiet, it’s with less passions, it’s, easily forgot; in a corner of our hearts, we’d, wished, that all is well with one another.

So, this, could’ve developed into something more, but it didn’t, because they were from two geographically undesirable regions of the world, and, it’s just not right, that either one of them asks the other to give up their life to join the other, so they can be together, and so, they’d, let each other go, and this affinity became, nothing more than just another, good memory of one’s own younger years.

Compromises, a Short Prose

Learning from his past mistakes in love, and now, hopefully, this new love won’t end in break-up too!  Translated…

He and she shared a bowl of shaved ice, and can choose four toppings, he and she both selected two.  Although, they’d not talked about it first, they would avoid selecting the items that one another hated.

Later on, they’d, moved in together, and this sort of a knowing, vanished; he’d always done things that made her angry repeatedly, and she’d kept, mentioning the old memories he had no intentions of remember over and over again.

And, as the result of not being able to agree, they’d, brorken up.

On this day, he’d taken his new girlfriend into that same shaved ice shop, he’d told her, “Let’s order separately, because what I enjoy, you don’t like.”

So, this, is what this man learned from his last love, and, because the result of his last relationship ended bad, because he and she both compromised too much, for love’s sake, and, that was why it’d not worked out, and so, this time, he’d not compromised on the smaller matters with his new love.

In the Gathering Dust, a Poem

It’s all because of FATE, that we were able to, find one another, translated…

In the Endless Space & Time

Everyone is

Only

Specks of Dusts

Nothing More

like this???  Not my art…

I am a Speck of Dust

Light as the Pollens

With My Fate

With the Wind

Gotten onto Your Shirt

not my photo…

In the Midst of All the Dusts Populating

The Gathered Dusts

Out of All the People in the World

I’d Still Found You

This, is how destiny (or if you want to call it “fate”???) works, because the two of you were meant to meet up, that is why, when the timing is right, the two of you will meet.

 

Deary, I Understand…

The secret code of L-O-V-E we share!  Translated…

Marrying, into a traditionally male-oriented large family, I’d bore witness to how the men would eat first, then the women finally got their opportunities to, and understood how when my husband defended me, he’d gotten laughed by his family members of being fearful of me.  Inside this house, women are just like children, we hear, but we can’t say a word at all, and this made it hard, for me to adapt, from a family with a mother who’d ruled over the homes.

At first, I’d said what I’d wanted to say, and it’d, alerted my sisters-in-law, after a while, I’d slowly grown accustomed to it, and, managed, to develop a sort of a secret code with my own body.

Touching my lips a lot, hinting, that I’d needed more food; during the family meetings, blinking repeatedly meant I agree, touching my nose meant I don’t………under everybody else’s watchful eyes, my husband and I, used our nonverbal cues to communicate, it’d added, so much more fun into our lives.  And because of how large the family was, we’d especially cherished our alone time together before bedtime at night, we had the chances to, shut the bedroom doors, and speak our minds aloud.

Few short years after we were wed, my father-in-law’s condition relapsed, he’d started having troubles sleeping, my husband and his siblings needed to steep some teas, and engaged in conversations with their father through the nights.  And, for several nights, I’d waited by my pillows at night, I couldn’t, take it, so, I’d, taken a look into the living room, he’d raised his chin at me every now and then—what’s that mean?  A little while longer, or, I shouldn’t, wait for him at all?

like this???  Photo from online…

Watching by the side wouldn’t do any good, and, we’d, developed this cipher, that if he’d sat in the head seats with the teas, then, it’s an all-nighter then.  So, seeing him steep up that tea, I’d gotten it, “Darling, don’t wait up for me, go to bed.”

After a good ten years past, we’d moved out, and started our own nuclear family, and I’d found, that secret code of body language still worked.  Every time he’d put out the teapots and the teacups, I’d understood, that something was, troubling him, that, we’re going to, stay up all night.

At which time, I’d, quietly, put out a plate of cookies, then, I’d, returned, back to the room, and, he surely understood what I meant, “Have some cookies with your tea, won’t hurt your stomach, I’m headed to bed first.”

or this even…photo from online still…not the kind talked about in the article here thought…

So, this, is the synchrony that a couple developed, after being married for a long time, and, there are, these pet peeves that the both of you carry, and sometimes, it’s, easily overlooked, because you’re both, stuck, inside your frames of mind, trapped by your own issues about life, to even pay attention, and that, is when love is, slowly, lost, but gladly, this pair knew each other well, and developed this sort of a secret code.

My Second Aunt’s Peppermint Chicken

A dish, made, with a TON of love, translated…

Mom called to ask, if I wanted some peppermint?  “Of course!”, I’d hung up my cell, and, my second aunt came to my mind.

Mom has two older sisters, the closest was my second aunt.  My second aunt married off close to my grandmother’s house, and lived their lives, as hardworking farmers with my second uncle, she’d often used the spare time she had after work, and carried bags and bags of homegrown produces, rode the night trains up to Taipei; her appearances would always cause all of us to holler so loudly, and, those homegrown fruits and vegetables had helped save a lot of money for my parents, who aren’t really that well-to-do.

薄荷雞 的圖片結果marinating the chicken in mint…phoot from online…

One summer, mom took me home to visit when I was in the elementary years, I’d wandered around, there were, fowls kept at the front of the field.  And, suddenly, a red-faced duck came toward me, half-crazed, bit down tightly on my skirt, I was so thrilled I’d started crying loudly.  At which time, my second aunt came out of the kitchens with her cooking spatula, and “shooed” off the ducks, at the same time, trying hard, to comfort me who was already, flustered and freaked out.

The aromatic scents came from the house, it’d, made me forget about the scare I just had.  “So aromatic, what are you cooking, second aunt?”  “I’m making peppermint chicken for you guys”.  I’d entered into the kitchen, saw an assortment of yummy dishes, on the tables, it’d made me, drool.  Her way of showing us the hospitality was, kept getting the foods from the plates, into our bowls.  I’d smiled and told her, “Enough, I can’t even see the rice underneath now!”, my second aunt told me, all of these, are simple and plain dishes.

Later, I’d learned that it takes a lot of preparation, to make a peppermint chicken.  Once we’d arrived at my second aunt’s early, my uncle said, “Your aunt went to harvest some mints at the fields, she should be returning soon.”, a short while later, my second aunt came in, with two large bags of mint, seeing us, she’d, swiftly, picked enough mints and washed the leaves, and, killed a rooster swiftly, and, set up the stoves, to start cooking the garlics, the chives, then, started, stir-frying the mints.

My second aunt salted the entire rooster, then, stuffed the rooster’s inside full of the stir-fried mints, then, she’d, started, cooking the rooster.  As the fire crackled on, she’d kept turning the chicken, to prevent it from burning, she’d become like an octopus, working on other dishes as well.  As the crispy mint chicken was plated and served, I couldn’t help, but get the mints out of the stuffing, and stuffed them into my mouth, and, it was sweeter as I chewed.  My second aunt immediately ripped off one leg, placed it inside my bowl, with love flowing from her eyes.

媽媽打電話來,問我要不要薄荷草?「當然要啊。」放下手機,我不由得想起二姨。 圖/...illustration from the papers…

After I married, I’d lived closer to my mother’s home, every time as she was going to visit my second aunt, she’d always called me up, “Your second aunt asked me if she needs to make the mint rooster, she’ll make one for you.”  “Of course,” I’d exclaimed excitedly.

Many years later, I’d not felt right, troubling my aging aunt, I’d said, “just the mints would be fine”, I’d cooked by my aunt’s methods, but, I could, never quite make the mint chicken like she was able to.

This day, I’d recalled my second aunt, working in and out of the kitchens, I’d, lifted my head toward the skies, said to my second aunt, “Thanks for making your, amazing mint chicken for us!”

Because this family member had, prepared the food with such great care and love, that, was why those who were served it, loved it, and, this is probably why, the writer couldn’t quite, make the same dish like her aunt had, because, her aunt had, cooked with care, concern, and love with them in her mind…

A Cage, that Set You Free

You were placed, in a cage, kept, behind these, steel bars, and, it’d, set you free surprisingly.  Being locked up, it helped set your life BACK into perspective, you’d done, so many evil things, to hurt some unknown strangers, as those who loved you, and cared for you too, for a very long time.

A cage, that set you free, you’d waited, a long, long time, for the day, that a hand from the outside to come, to reach toward that latch, that’ll, unlock, and set you free, but, as the day grew longer, longer, and longer, you’d felt, more, and more, AND more despair, ‘cuz the hand, it’d, never come.

not my photograph…in love's cage 的圖片結果

A cage, that set you free, how can you be set free, locked, inside this cage of your mind, huh?  A cage, that set you free, how?  Cages are supposed to, keep you bound, right?  So, how come now, you’d locked me up with this love of yours, and, I still feel, so free???

A cage, that set you free, that, is what love became, you’re, willing to, let love lock you up, and yet, as you’re, bound by these, handcuffs of love, shackles and chains too, you feel, so free that you could, fly, high as an eagle!  How’s that possible, huh???

with the key, out of your grasp…not my artwork…