I knew she would come to find me.
After getting back, I slept for a short while before waking up at around noon. Then I had a bowl of rice noodles at a restaurant beside the repair shop while frequently looking out the restaurant to check.
She hasn’t come.
I worked in the shop for the whole afternoon. Even when the orange hue of the setting sun enveloped the open space in front of the shop, she still did not appear. Perplexed, I thought to myself, I didn’t know she’d be such a level-headed person. Or, is she bogged down by something?
Around nine in the evening, when I was done with work and everyone else had left, I noticed an orange-red car coming toward the shop along the road while I pulled down the roll-up gate.
The driver’s skill was not good, evident from how slow they took the turn. Seeing that it was her, I left the roll-up gate open with a gap for her before going into the shack behind the shop.
The shack was around ten square meters in size. My boss allowed me to stay in it with the condition that I looked after the shop. A yellow light bulb illuminated the place from above while a pile of my books filled the table at the side. I found two clean stools, placed them beside the bed, and sat down to watch the pot of noodles that was cooking on the stove.
Someone knocked twice on the roll-up gate before I heard her voice, “Is Wu Yu here?”
Again, I felt like laughing for some reason and said with my voice raised, “Come in.”
She quickly lifted the curtain outside the door to my place and came in.
I raised my eyes and took a glance at her. She was all cleaned up with her face looking radiant, probably because she had had enough rest. She wore a simple T-shirt on top with a short skirt and… I suddenly felt as though a flash had hit my eyes.
Below her short skirt were her legs—thin, pearly-white, and straight.
The noodles were cooked.
I turned off the burner and placed the noodles into a bowl. Seeing that she clung to the door without moving, I told her to sit down. Immediately, she took a seat on the stool in response.
Like a rabbit, she was sometimes smart, sometimes confused; occasionally quiet, occasionally frank.
With a bowl of noodles in hand, I sat beside her and started to devour the food while feeling her gaze on my face. If she knew who I was, she probably would have never thought I had become like this. Yet, I already did not care.
“Why didn’t you come earlier?” I asked.
She was taken aback briefly before saying, “I came as soon as I woke up.”
I took a look at the clock and saw that around ten hours had passed.
She’s really at ease. Even though so much has happened, she’s able to sleep soundly, keeping me waiting for a whole day.
Good for her.
After I placed the empty bowl on the table, I grabbed two bottles of water from the corner and passed her one; she only took a sip. I raised my head, drinking half the bottle before noticing her slightly shy gaze on me.
A feeling of edginess suddenly crept into my heart, but the evil thought that appeared in the deepest parts of my mind soon subverted, and I continued to drink my water calmly.
“What do you want to know?” I asked.
She looked at me straight in the eye and said, “You didn’t answer my question last night. Why did you appear there?”
The question triggered a surge of old memories to flash by my mind, yet ultimately, the pitch-black night scenery outside the window and the lingering image of her previously clean and fresh appearance was left. A brief smile appeared on my face as I took out a cigarette from my pocket to light up. However, I could not find my lighter.
Before I knew it, she had found the lighter on the table and held it in her hand toward me. I suddenly had an urge and said, “Light it up for me.”
“Alright,” she replied. I looked at her thin fingers that were right in front of my eyes as I got close to her with the cigarette in my mouth. She struck the somewhat old lighter several times without success, so I reached over, holding her hand with the lighter. I gave the lighter a good flick, and it instantly lit up. While still holding her hand, I reached over with my face to light up the cigarette. But as soon as I let go of her hand, she tossed the lighter back to me with her face glowing red, avoiding my eyes and looking somewhere else.
“Tell me then,” she said.
There are no obligations, but every bit of support helps, especially to help pay for editors and my bills.