Bumping into an old friend, and all the memories of your younger years just, all came back, translated…
I accidentally bumped into a classmate of mine from the elementary school years, Hsieh. There weren’t any reunions since we graduated. And it’d been, thirty years since, and, as we’d bumped into one another, “we’re both middle-aged men and women with the bellies now”, we’d made fun of one another.
“Oh, I think you’d not changed at all, you’d been chubby since you were a kid”, Hsieh added, and her words had, roused up ALL those long-forgot memories of my younger years.
“Do you recall once as we were practicing volleyball with the team at school, sudden, there was, a draft…”, before she’d finished talking, I’d hollered out in excitement, “I thought I was the only one who still remembered!”
That day, the sudden draft caused the dust and the dirt to turn into a dust storm on the fields, and, we weren’t worldly yet, and had all, hollered in excitement, “Look a cyclone!”, the few volleyballs on the ground were, rolling all over the places, and this “cyclone” had carried up the hats the students placed by the side of the volleyball court.
Watching those orangy-yellow caps turning in the wind, we’d all become, dumbfounded, treated the hats as people, we’d screamed, “Help! Help!” and the hats were carried off, about a dozen meters, causing this huge ripple in our simplistic elementary school years.
“But, I’d remembered the most, that we were all practicing sports, and you were singing by us, ‘let me tell you a secret place………’ then, the cyclone came.” Hsieh’s memories roused up mine too. Back then, I was nicknamed Fatso, but because they’d needed extra players on the team, so I got called up. And, the practices every morning wasn’t what Fatso was supposed to do, but, unfortunately, I can only help pick up the balls, and used my own way, to self-entertain.
“I saw you on the papers, I’m really glad for what you’d accomplished and what you’re doing now”, Hsieh turned the subject, and I don’t know if I was mistaken, but I think I saw a hint of sorrow from her eyes.
“Reading the news, I knew you still lived in Shulin, and that your parents were gone. I remember, that once a couple of us went to your parents’ shops, and Mrs. Yao gave each of us a bowl of shaved ice, with the toppings filled to the top…”, Hsieh seemed to have been even more immersed in the past now, each word she’d spoken, was with fuller emotion.
“You know, I actually stayed here too, and now, I’d, moved back home. It’s weird, how we’re, living in the same areas, and, this place is so small, and yet, it took us a whole of thirty years, to bump into one another.” What I was thinking of, as I heard this from her, got taken aback, I’d feared, that I may have, roused up something in the past for her.
“What are you doing now?”, I’d inquired, I’d wanted to switch to a more manageable topic, so we can carry on in conversation.
“Nothing much, I’m a housewife, I didn’t go to college, unlike you.”, ‘d recalled, that in the elementary years, she’d always made the high grades, and gone on behalf of the school to compete in a drawing contest, she was, multi-talented; don’t know if she’s being humble, or that she wanted to divert from talking about herself. As she talked, the wrinkles from the corners of her eyes would become this deep groove, I’d tried hard, to picture what she looked like as a child in my memories, that naturally curly hair, with a somewhat noble look, like the Sweet Girl from the cartoons—what had happened to through the years, and in her life, that’s, made us, into who we are right now?
“You loved to sing so, and, became a mime.”, I recall how we both fought for the first-place title of the singing competitions, we were both nervous, both wanted to win, there was a period, when I’d hummed, “I’ll wait for you by the docks, there’s a light drizzle coming down…”, I’d really wanted to ask this newfound classmate from my childhood, “You’d loved to draw so much, do you still draw now?”, but I just, couldn’t manage it out.
“We’ll see one another more then, old classmate!”, Hsieh, with her shopping basket in hand, and patted me gently, I’d held her wrinkled hands tight, it was, warm, and firm.
I think, everybody has her/his own stories, the way they coped with their separate lives, with a story of our own, it’s just, that it goes, without telling.
So, this is, bumping into an old classmate from your elementary school years, and, over twenty years had passed since, and, you are both, no longer who you were back then, so many things had, changed, you’d weathered through the separate storms of your separate lives, to get to where you currently are in life right now…