Looking back through the year, and realizing, that first love, but now that you’re older, that first love, became a good memory that enriched your life, translated…
The Verse that Struck a Chord in My Heart, a Seemingly Absent and Seemingly There Love
I’d opened my e-mail, and received a photo you’d sent, that was, on our twentieth high school reunion, the former classmates who’d, pushed us together, for a photo op. I looked very nervous in the picture, and, you’d appeared, more than open, with that hint of gloating, with the photo, came the words, “how have you been? When are you due back? Do remember, to call me when you’d come back.”
Since our second year in high school, although we’d sat in the same classrooms, we’d not had any exchanges. During those days with the focus placed on climbing up the scale, to tell you the truth, you, with your lowered grades, wouldn’t get my attention at all, I only knew, that you’d not studied as much as you should have, hung around a group of other students who hated studying just like you, skipped school, gotten into fights, and, our English instructor had once gotten angered by you that she’d started crying too. And, I can’t remember what that guy that made the highest grades had, offended you and your group, that you’d, gone to his dorm rooms, and, squeezed an entire tube of toothpaste onto his covers, causing him to not have the covers to sleep under, which had caused him to run a high fever. Back then, toward you and your friends, with the attitude of “I could care-less”, I’d felt, a bit, disdain.
from the newspapers…
But, I’d changed my beliefs about you on that gym meet we had that year, you’d entered yourself into numerous competitions, sprint, high jumps, long leaps, basketball………I saw you, in almost every single sports competitive event there is. And, during the events which you’d sat out, you’d become, a cheerleader, handing the water, the foods, to the students competing, and, had gotten several other classmates to join in your cheering too; and that head of the class who was excellent in grades, didn’t do a thing, just hid out in the classrooms, reading away. I was in awe at your sense of responsibility, and honor toward the class. Later on, I’d learned, that the student who was too poor who couldn’t pay for the study guides in class, you’d put up your own allowances to help him get the study guides, and, I’d started, looking at you, through a brand new light.
After we’d gotten into our last year of high school, with the pressing of the college entrance exams getting closer and closer, your father who is a school teacher had, forced you to come to the school to study in the evenings, we’d started relating to one another then. You knew that you needed to, tighten up your acts, you’d asked the classmates to help you with the problems you couldn’t get, and had often bought the snacks and shared them generously with the classmates. You’d often, borrowed books, notes from me, and, as I got those returned, I’d always, found a bookmark, with the imaginative poetry. At first, I’d not, paid it too much attention, thought that you were, merely, marking the pages that you’d already read, and, as I’d returned the bookmarks back to you, you’d blushed, and said, that it was for me for keepsake, I’d told you that I’d read a ton of materials unrelated to class, that I’d loved Shu-Wan Dai’s poetry. And the moving lines from those bookmarks, had once, tugged at my dried up and lonely heart once, it’s just, that with the coming of the major exams, I can only, tuck all of those, seemingly there sentiments up.
A Little Over a Decade Flew by, Our Hometown Became Somewhat Estranged to Me
Later on, just as expected, you’d not gotten into university, and I, went abroad for my studies. Those couple of years, we’d lost touch, I’d just heard, that your father’s relations had helped you get into a government agency, where you’d worked in the entry level positions. On the year I graduated out of the teacher’s academy, because I’d not have any relations, I’d originally gotten assigned to a distant school to teach, but, you’d used your father’s connection, and helped me to get a teaching post at a middle school in town. At, it was also, at that time, that our broken connection got, reconnected again. Maybe it was loneliness, or, maybe it was, how grateful I felt toward you, or maybe, it was, love even, we’d started, going out, for a short while, and, your father seemed to have noted me as, your future wife.
parting, such sweet sorrows…
Although I’d felt that I owed you, but I just, never paid you back with marriage. When I’d decided, to marry afar, you’d asked me, in shock, “For real?”, I’d said, “yes, for living.”, you’d carried that look of deep loss and deep sorrow. And I’d heard your friends told, that during that period of your life, you’d loved “The Bride in Xiamen” the most, over and over, you’d, replayed the theme song, “Are you okay? Are you, living the life you wanted to live? Are you okay? Did you ever, receive the love like I’d felt toward you?”, and, my originally settled heart started, trembling.
Several decades flew by, and, we’d moved on, with our separate lives. I’d heard, that being very adapted, you’d gotten into a mildly high up position, and ran your own business, that your life is going well. And, the times I’d come back home, I’d felt, that things have changed completely, that the connections of the classmates weren’t as they used to be anymore, but, you’d always, hollered on the others, to make my return seemed celebratory. And, I’d asked about you in your marriage on an occasion, you’d smiled and said, “She is not as pretty as you but she is very gentle and able like you.” Your wife is an elementary school teacher, she’d treated you like you’re her everything, worshipped you, you said, that you two shared the same interests, and, I’d said those words of blessings for you and your wife, carefully, hid my own small scent of disappointment that I was feeling.
As I’d come back to Taiwan again, you’d gotten the group of classmates together, to send me off again asked me when I will return again, then, said that parting ways, is the beginning of the goodbyes, like it was to, give yourself the consoles, as well as putting my mind at ease.
With my parents passing away, I’d returned home less and less, and, the last time I’d come back was, three years ago, it’d felt like a lifetime ago, I’d felt estranged, in this place I grew up in. And so, I’d, not let you know that I’d returned, and, just stopped here for a few short days, then, left again.
not my photo still…
I’d, stared at that picture of us again, I couldn’t tell you when I will be back, but, that song slowly, sounded off inside of my mind again…
And, this, is on a love that didn’t quite make it, you two knew that you had feelings for one another, but, because you were both students, and, you were at the top, and he, at the bottom of the class, so, the two of you naturally, are on separate poles, but, you two had, felt that strong connection, and, because fate took the two of you to different places, that, was why the two of you never made it as a couple, but, you’d not have any regrets, because you are still a good friend to him, and he, to you too.