the multitudes

Dear clouds, Fucking cold today, my kind of weather... gray skies and dim greens. I don't know when, how, or why I've become a London/Seattle weather girl, but it does make me wonder if the perfect city for me isn't a blend of London, Seattle, and New York. Throw in a Beijing, a pinch of Tokyo, and do we have a go? Do we have a go? Ladies and gentlecats, I think we have a go.

I've been lazy with updating my Chinese blog. Jing's been keeping a pretty good journal though, so lest I forget anything... I can alway cross reference. Today the entire building got woken up nine in the morning by a fire alarm. Apparently our kitchen caught on fire. Don't ask... cuz I wouldn't know, I was in my room under covers waiting for the fire alarm to end... Don't ask about that either... cuz on cloudy days I dream of New York and fire escapes and it wouldn't matter if the whole world burned down to cinders...........

Every once in a while, my roommate elicits a frustrated yell that mirrors my own. We both talk to ourselves, sing to ourselves, walk slowly at our own paces, go into the Sunset A on accident, watch the crowds dissolve in front of us, climb roofs, climb up, look at the stars, will you just. look. at. me?

My roommates says... as we conquer roofs and watch stars: 【Ching, maybe we do need a guy. It would've been nice to have them around. 就像現在, 淩晨兩點, 滿天星斗, 坐在屋頂上俯瞰樹海, 有很棒的音樂, 有正在猛烈衝擊心髒的情感急流. Eveything would be mind-blowing. 越過他肩膀所看到的明亮星空, 我也許會記得更清楚.】

and for a moment I'm stunned, because I didn't expect it, and I hadn't thought about it, and the remote loneliness doesn't set in until I flash back, and I see Jing's face mutate to Mao's days before I left China. We were eating at the same restaurant near his place. He was trying to hook me up with a co-worker of his... That's when I say to him "mao mao ahh... I'm leaving in a couple days to America." He's cute when he responds: "I know, but will you think about it Qing, maybe when you're back, next year... the two of you...?"

I watch his eyes. Mao is pretty as a doll with long eyelashes and full lips, but when he smokes he skulks like a boy. Before he met Rong, he says he was like that boy every single day. The woman in his life then was bjork. I watch his eyes, and I say to him, "mao mao... is being in love... really that great? is it really the greatest thing?"

"Yes," he says to me, unabashed, certain, bold even.

and I simper.

Jing's not the same anymore. She's exactly the same and not at all the same, like the first time I saw her in Beijing after months... she's standing on the bus stop curb in her stylish pants and permed hair like an actress who wandered off the set. I looked at her. Everybody looked at her. She looked back at me with a flash of recognition and screams and gives me a hug. "Ching-chan...!" she says it in a way I could almost see the "C" instead of the Q. She's beautiful and sophisticated and statuesque and we were in China... and perhaps we were both different in the same ways, and the same in different places.

I remember.... the day I left Beijing was the day I shook the boss' hand while he was sleeping. Jiang Jian was out cold from working too much, but he was the kind of person who loved the rush of pulling all-nighters and the adrenaline of never sleeping, because when he sleeps he looks older than he really is and he looks like he'll never wake up.

So I take his limp hand in my own and was surprised how soft they were. They were made of cotton and cloth but he was made of steel and fire. On the day I left he said "Qing Qing keep in touch... let's keep in touch... keep us updated with your life, school, career, boyfriends....." he smiles into his mojito. Jiang Jian was into an Aquarius girl them. We were both Libras and he found an Aquarius match. Tan Tan and I are still waiting for ours. That was a conversation in Shanghai when Lianggong dropped in and sang us a song called "the Libra Woman." Some oldie with lyrics that had us in stitches.... That was summer in Shanghai... right, summer when I got lost riding the bus and had to take the taxi. The driver said he thought I was Shanghaiese and I wondered if that meant I was stylish and materialistic...

That was the summer. And today... today is today. Tomorrow we'll sing.

- Cheers, Q