On how love is lost, and then, found, translated…
It was, dusk on a summer evening, T lazily walked to the roof, there were, the bonsais that stopped getting watered, the thyme was already, half dried up, the leaves from the corn plant became yellow and started curling up, the rims of the sacred lily became yellowed too. All of these potted plants, including the chrysanthemum, jungle geranium, lilies, are all bought with his ex-girlfriend, S, from Chienguo Flower Market, all the way, they’d, carried them home, smiling at one another, their hearts were, very connected. S was T’s type, cute when she’d smiled, soft-spoken, with long hair, draped over her shoulders, very “cleanly”. For his four years of college, T was what his roommate called “his girlfriend’s dog”, “the called-upon beast”, but T didn’t care at all. He’d, stooped lower, than low, just to get S’s attention, by his well-done performances to please her. The women are willing to dress up at all costs, to please those they love, and men, willing to spend every last dime, to please the women they date, so what? What he’d earned for tutoring in a month, he’d, squandered it away on a lobster special supper with his girl, after he’d returned to the dorm, he’d had some instant noodles, and, felt more than blessed. T enjoyed watching the stars on the soaps, and although his looks can only make him a small character, but at least, he could give S, this beautiful flower, the date she deserved. Whenever he saw S smiling bright, it’d been, more than worth it, asking to borrow money from him own mother, and his mother’s words, “Keeping a girlfriend, don’t waste so much money away, don’t play the fool!”, but, T never took any heed.
At sunset in the summers, T walked up to the rooftop all alone, the thyme still insisted on keeping just that ONE leaf, with the rest of it, drying up, the potting soil became too parched in the sacred lily, around the corn plant, there were only, the freshly grown stems on the inside rims, everywhere around it is already, withered away and yellowed, like an orphan without anybody to love. After T graduated, he’d started working at the scientific park, S, in an airline. Underneath the yellow fixture light of the café, with the soft music sounding low, S kept her usual light smile, “I don’t have any demands, just that I want to get married in Bali, everything is beautiful there, the photos would be, even more amazing!” T hollered out inside, oh no! S grew misty-eyed, “I’d dreamed my whole life, 999 roses, candlelight underneath the moonlight, the white sandy beach, four days three nights, a super romantic wedding, make me so very happy as I thought about it.” T witnessed that princess inside of S, she must’ve been baptized by the wedding of the century of the TV stars. But, the four days three nights, including the hotel stays for the friends, relatives, and families, the roundtrip airfare, it surely, wasn’t, nothing, not just a matter of “money” but, a matter of “a lot of money”! S looked, passionately into T’s eyes, “You wouldn’t, say no, to this, tiny, request of mine, would you?” T made an estimated calculation, everything will cost, up to a hundred million dollars. T’s smiles stiffened, and, he’d, remained silent.
Going home, T spoke outright to his mother about S’s requests, the mother hollered aloud, “What do you think we are, bankers? Don’t walk in the footsteps of others! Superstars, those rich second generations go to Bali to burn their money up, you are too? What are money made of, shells? Or, do you, print it yourselves?” the series of rants came down on T, T started, stuttering.
Yup! The billion dollar is the best servant, but also, the most horrid kind of owner. T felt in an instant, that “money doesn’t bite at your hands, but, gnaws on your heart!”, an ordinary man getting married, and putting on that heavy chain made of gold AND silver, no matter how strong you are, a dog, to your girls, you will, get crushed, no matter you are willing to, go to the ends of the earth for that other person, you will, become, overworked, and too tired. T inhaled that cold air deeply.
The same café, at a different corner, another kind of light music. T carefully proposed another choice to S, “getting married here, you can look just as beautiful. Change the location of Bali to Danshui, there’s also, a lot of sun, the waves, the sandy beaches, that setting sun, making a beautiful wedding photo too. Based off of the T.V. personnel’s appearances to the stars’ wedding at Bali, “It surely was, romantic, but, it’s, a total waste of time, the weather too hot, we’re, sweating like crazy, everything happens, so very, slowly there.”
S’s face drooped, that smile evaporated, the corners of her lips turned, downward, “you can’t even say yes to this small request of mine.” S minced her lips, rolled her eyes at T, “Bali, Danshui? Dare you to speak it. As my girlfriends hear it, they will, laugh their butts off, so very bad!”
T cleared his words up, “No, after we’d saved a billion, then, we’ll, get that picture done then!”, it’s more important, to be able to, than to live on fantasies. Making just fifty grand a month, there really, isn’t a need, to falsify himself as a rich guy. Being with S, T’s bank accounts became like the winter snow, slow to build, but, spending off quickly.
“It wouldn’t be the same!”
S picked up her purse, left, without looking back, T chased after her immediately.
“Without Bali, everything IS off!”, she’d set her foot down, no room for negotiations.
T was dumbfounded, where S left him.
The first tear was cried, out of embarrassment, the second, from melting down………
T finally, got a look, at how he’d lived by S’s side, it was all, one-sided in their communication. Once they disagreed, they can’t get through to each other. Without Bali, then, he was, slapped, across the face?
Since their love became emotions, the cell phones became, turned off; they’d, drifted apart, and, in her parents’ arrangement, she’d started, dating someone who’s, rich, tall, and handsome.
And, in the end, Bali became, what, separated them. T and S’s original way of interacting, like a fish tank, the hearts became, too separated to be merged together again. They’d gone, separate ways, without sharing the same beliefs, how can you last, for the long run?
After his coworker learned of T’s breaking up with S, they’d consoled with him, “It’s best that this had, happened now, not that we’re saying that your love wouldn’t end well, it’s just, that dating S is one thing, marrying her is, another, you may not be able to, keep with her high-end lifestyle.” “Love can be found anywhere, you must marry someone who looks at you like you’re her sun, not a shooting star, someone who treated you so awfully, it’s best, that the two of you break up earlier.”
T became silent, and more silent. Turns out, that the beautiful ladies are heavens for your eyes, but, hell for your wallets. Without a billion, coming and going, their two worlds, shattered, all that remained, were, the memories. Even if they were, once, so very much in love, so long as the pockets aren’t, deep enough, there’s, nothing to keep the love going. No strengths to keep going, no miracles, only kicking you to the curb, no apologies, just bye-bye, no need to see each other again. The lovebirds eventually, gone, separate ways……….
T collected up his memories, collected up all his sorrows, returned, back to reality, looked down, leaned against the walls, those two dark lines, extended, into his eyes, silent, extending, to the plastic buckets that accumulated up the rains, moving, forward.
This is?………….his gaze searched on, this should be, the root of that sacred lily, the roots from the thyme too, extended alongside the roots of the sacred lily. He’d lifted up the pots, and found the roots from the three plants were, totally, entangled, connected, they’d become, reliant, off of one another, working alongside, to get through the harder times together; so long as there’s water in one of the roots, the three plants will surely be able to, share. This was, the fates of the potted plants in the buildings, fighting off the drought, with the roots, linked together. Finding that exit of life, growing together, as one.
Staring at the plants’ “connected by the roots, and the hearts”, T felt that shock from inside of his heart, isn’t this, like the world of a man and a woman too? So long as they’re on the same page, working together, toward the same goals, they won’t, feel tired. So long as the two get along well, the two of their hearts are, connected, they can, overcome anything, and can, break through all sorts of, barriers, flying together, soaring high, against the light, sharing that same bitterness, and the sweetness of life. T felt this, deeply.
What is affinity? When you want to get involved, the other person showed up; when you want to be married, the other person being, right by your side.
What’s blessing? When the two of you talked of marriage, sharing the blessings, as well as, the willingness, to weather through the hardships together, the line between you and I blurred, knowing one another by heart, by each other’s sides until you grow old and gray.
Looking at the plants, his wife’s short hair, oval face started, making him feel warm inside. For five years, his wife worked alongside him, building up their “love nest”. His wife didn’t care that T “looked okay, that you’d need to, hold it all in, to look at him”, didn’t care that he was “a very tiny bird, and, no matter how he’d tried, he can never, soar as high”, didn’t care that they’d had their wedding day photos done in Bali, Danshui, T felt very warm inside. Sharing everything that’s good AND bad, doubling the happiness they’d come to share. Sharing the same heart, helping each other grow, turning mud into gold; crossing each other’s boundaries, finding that middle compromising point, bringing harmony to his house. That, was what those three potted plants had taught T, that thunder that came out of silence, is loud enough, to shake up the entire world.
As T drifted back into his own mind……… “come down for supper!”, his wife’s loud voice sounded from the entrance to the rooftops.
So, this, is what this man learned about love, he loved this other woman, who was everything he’d wished his wife would be, but, her high-end lifestyle eventually became, unaffordable to him, and, because she could no longer feel like a spoiled rotten princess by him, she’d, dumped him, and, he’d, found another, more fitting woman to be his own wife, and, he’d realized about what he really was looking for, in a woman, was, what he’d finally found, in his own wife!