Thursday, August 18, 2005

A Night Is Not Just A Night

A night out with friends turned into one with great surprise and delight. It felt lovely in the way that you believe only New York can makes you feel.

We went to the bar called Livingroom at Ludlow Street to listen to the performance by my previous co-worker's wife, after too excessive of a dinner at Korean town. He is geekily handsome and there exists some little nice tension. We probably see each other once a year during ex-co-worker gatherings or at client's where he is consulting. His wife, Heather, the song writer and performer, is beautiful, sweet and talented.

The bar and lounge locates one block east of Allen, a street I used to frequent for Congee and fried dumplings. I have never really ventured into further east that much.

But the night we did it, we encountered Norah Jones and the lovely band.

The two other performances before her were fantastic including Heather. I love her voice, rich but with a sad touch. And I like her funny lyrics. I especially like a song about Saturn and Orbiting.

Jennifer, the girl followed Heather dressed like a housewife from the South but she was so passionate and powerful. She put me into tears when she sang "Everything is possible" in a soft and low voice, accompanied by only her own guitar. It was her birthday and we all sang "Happy Birthday to you" to her.

But Norah, what can you say--a real beauty with such a voice and vigor. We sat in the table right off the little performing stage--the platform. She filled my eyes with the beauty and atmosphere of hers, leaving no room for much of anything else. Her existence is that dominating.

Everyone else in the band is seductively unique in his own way, laughing, joking, casually intimate. I love the Bass Player's hands. I feel almost sexually aroused just by looking at the way the left hand rested on his instrument before starting--a moment of waiting but assurance of the move to follow. I heard that is the boyfriend.

The vocalist is fun, talented and with a great voice. Norah had the most interation with him. They seemed extremly comfortable with each other and well coordinated.

And the guitar player, a man in his 50s dressed in white shirt and black suits, make you wonder what he looked alike when he was younger, but then you would always decided that you love what you see now. Like grey hair is sexy, so is man who ages well or never ages from certain angel. But he would not need all that charisma anyway, his guitar says it all and so much more.

Up and close to Norah Jones and band on a little bar and lounge in lower east side, surrounded by song writers, music producers and just common New Yorkers at 1 am of a cool summer night. There were beautiful people, people with talent, or with a heart for songs that remind you of some moments that almost existed, that you want to believe that they existed.

I don't have to say more, except that I am in pink shirt and white pants and my friend was in her usual architect black from head to toe.

A side bar, the guy sat besides us began to get chatty. He was genuinely nice, young and innocent. He said: I am average height here and I really want to visit China. I heard it is hip and I would feel higher there right? like I did in South America. " I swear he is serious but not intend to displease anymone. He just said what he felt.

I looked at myself and my friends, both cute but PETITE, I said: you better go there fast if you want to achieve that. I heard they are getting taller and taller these days, fast. And you can earn your way there by singing live in some bars, even dollar have devalued, you will be OK.

I love New York.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Looking back --Paris Memoir

That day, when I called you from my business trip, you said in your half-wake voice that you dreamed that we are going to Paris together and you tried to catch a train to meet me in the airport. But you need to wait for a paycheck and you wre so anxious. And you woke up.

It was not about us, you said, it was a Panic dream.

It reminded me of the Paris that I visited alone last Nov, as if I needed to be reminded.

"The city I loved most in the whole world." So said Hemingway about Paris.

I remember the colors and liveliness of Jardin du luxembourg. I sent you a little note via blackberry, sitting in front of the statue of Baudelaire. We talked about the time difference. I was 6 hours ahead of you.

But I did not feel the impending storm coming toward you in your life.

The days I was in Paris, it was always grey and cloudy. I loved it. I think the building, bridges, banks of Seine and tree-lined boulevard looked the best in that wet and grey canvas. Cloudless blue sky would not have suited Paris or me in Paris.

"I wish I had died before I loved anybody but her." Hemingway thus said about his first wife when he fell for his soon-to-be second wife. I wish I had not met you before I met you.

I wish we would have gone to Paris together, as you have dreamed in your dream. Just a trip. Paris, or Spain, that is all I wanted for us, really.

After I came back from Amsterdam, I moved from my lovely hotel in the left bank bordering Quartier Latin, a block from Notre Dame, on the corner of St Germain, to the island in the middle of Seine. That was my last day in Paris. I was very close to the apartment where Rodin's lover lived out her insane life.

Before I head out that day, I was asking the concierge about the shopping centers in the area of the right Bank. I am hopeless that way. There were so many small shops on the island I lived in, yet I am asking for directions to go to a big mall.

A young and pale-faced guy walked in to the hotel lobby. He smiled at us, listened to our conversations, and checked out the prices list on the wall. Then he walked out.

I spent 5 more minutes with the concierge and headed out for my last day's adventure in Paris.

I walked with ease and relaxation and a little feeling of sentiments for the upcoming departure.

As I was checking out my map one last time, I almost walked into someone. When I looked up, I realized it was the man who was in the hotel lobby. He was wearing a scarf and he was smiling at me. His eyes and hair were both color of chestnut.

He asked: Where are you from?
"New York".
"I was in New York, too. I studied in the New School."

He studied Philosophy in New York and was currently living in London, doing research and writing his dissertation. He came to Paris to do more research. He would spend a week here. He offered lots of information during that first 2 minutes.

We smiled at each other and I was ready to move on. But we both hesitated for a second. Then he asked about my plan. I said I am going to Musee Rodin that afternoon. He said he need to go to a library to find some book.

"But, let me show you this great neighborhood, the Jewish quarter, not far from here".

We crossed the bridge to the right bank. We passed many little shops and visited an amazing little library. And finally we arrived in this beautiful square lined by buildings among which Victor Hugo used to live.

Sitting on a bench in the square garden, we did not talk much. I was thinking the Musee Picaso that I will not have time to see for this trip. I was thinking of you. I was thinking of New York. Yet for all the time, I was also thinking of Paris, of having to leave it soon, and this man I just met.

I need to leave to see Musee Rodin. I said I got to leave. He said:" I want to see you again. Maybe we can meet later today." He was quite pleasant and intellectual. I do not see the reason of saying no.

I didn't have a cell phone that works in Paris, he could not send e-mail that afternoon. We agreed to meet at 7 in the lobby of my hotel. Then we parted.

I got in a taxi and went straight to Musee Rodin. What I loved most of his work there was not the Thinker or the Balzac. It were those of lovers, with burning passions that put me in a mood of seeing you. I was missing the touching of your hands on my back and my throat.

I remember that by the time I walked out the compound of the museum, it began to drizzle. It was getting dark, lights were on. Paris was gray, wet but warm. I walked toward the Eiffel tower from Musee Rodin. I knew from the map it is not far. I walked with my pace, checking out little shops and cafes on the way. I felt a little lonely and missing you a little, but Paris was like the other true love, it alleviated my pain.

I walked along a narrow alley, wrapped my scarf around my head for the rain which was getting a little thick. I passed several cafes, with people sitting and talking. I was away from anyone I knew. I was alone in the whole continent, but I was not alone either. I was in the city that I dreamed so many times before and lived through the eyes and minds of Hemingway and Proust, through the pain of Jake and Brett.

This was something that I would have for myself. This was the moment and time in life that I shall save it and remember it when I am old.

I walked toward Eiffel tower and I finally was standing at this side of the great lawn and she was there, tall, golden and elegant, in the tender rain of the fall of Paris. I felt again intimate and warm. I felt my face was wet, from rain drops or it was just I was cring silently. I stood there for a long time.

Then I walked toward the Tower with the excitement I felt when we used to set a date to meet after work. My heart beated faster.

It was as if I know moments like these would be able to put something into my heart that was empty until I know you. And leaving you now makes me feel like death.

But hey, we would go to Paris together. At least let me have Paris to remember.

I walked toward it in the rain, getting closer to something that I love but do not really know yet.

The last batches of tourists were getting on the elevator to go to the top. I did not want to go up. I heard there are steps to be taken. I didn't want to do everything in Paris, alone. There are certain things I wanted to save for future, when the future might be different from now, even that future might not come.

When I roamed under the steel structure and took photos, a handsome student-like Indian guy walked up to me. He asked in good English: do you need a company? He was like those young Indian guys you see in the graduate schools here. He looked sincere and persistent.

I smiled and said no. I said do you wait here everyday to meet some single woman who seems that she might need a company? No, he said. I don't. I liked you when I saw you.

"No, I am leaving tonight. Actually, I am leaving now. But Thanks."

I got into Taxi and went back to my hotel on that little island in the middle of Seine.

The yound man was there right at 7 when I walked down my stairs.

"Where should we go for dinner?" I always let the man choose.

I always let you choose.

He said let's go to Restaurant Voltaire. It was near Pantheon and Hemingway used to live in that building. I thought of Jake in the Sun Also Rises. I thought of the symbolic sentences that filled that great book and our many "damned" good time together.

"It was a bit walk though, maybe 20 minutes".

"No, I don't mind walking."

Paris is the city for walking with someone. In each turn, it half-hide the secrets, stories and memories, named ones and nameless ones. You will miss it if you don't walk by it. Any they may remember you as you walk by it.

We crossed the bridge this time to the left bank. We walked uphill a bit. We crossed the happy crowd in the Greek Quarter. He gave me his arm to hold on to.

We talked about New York. His studies were on the contemporary Philosophers. We talked about deconstructionists. I threw out couple of names I know. Paris is the city for the intellectually rebellious and contending. Cafes are filled with friends who always are in heated debating of certain subjects. They will also have heated love making, I guess, but with debating as the foreplay. I would have liked that.

I project myself living in this city. I believe that you and I could be happy for sometime in Paris together. That would have been all we needed.

The restaurant was cozy and lovely. I looked into this man's face. He had a fine feature, which had not yet been damaged in any ways by the agony of love or struggle. I was not sure about mine.

He had beautiful hands and a piercing look, although it was not a poacher's look, yet. He had not yet played lots of games of love. Neither had I. He was a natural, maybe because he was still young.

After dinner, we walked back to the lovely pub at the corner of the island where I stayed. We continued to talk. I forgot what we talked there. But it was not about him or me.

When it was almost midnight, I had to leave. I had a plane to catch the next day. We walked on the quiet street that leading toward the island, heading to my hotel. We were passing little shops. Small European cars parked along the street.

He held my hands for a while, and suddenly, he turned around and kissed me. I must have felt liking it too. But that was not the kiss that will make my head swim. I knew I was being kissed. It was almost like it had to happen that night in Paris. Not like when you and I kissed, the first time on the corner of 32 and Madison, I did not know what hit me, but something did.

When we parted, an old couple walked past us and the old lady smiled at us and said something in French. He chuckled and told me" She said I knew they were good looking".

We continued to walk toward the side of the island, now walking down a slope of the river bank, toward the Seine. I remembered admiring Notre Dame in a different angel. It was quiet and beautiful around us. There was nobody on the bank. There maybe lovers in the shadow which I can not see.

It was a lovely night of fall in Paris. The air was mellow and cool. It leveled your head. It was the night of tender moments instead of burning passion.

I wished that you were there with me, standing there with me. We wouldn't hold hands. Since you were not a big hand-holder. But it was this very tender man who held me in his arms then. Was I trying to prove to myself that I could indeed be meeting someone that I might like, love and replace you with. It proved nothing.

I left the next day to New York. He stayed and will go to London and was thinking maybe spending the rest of the year in Israel or New York. I forgot him almost soon as I left Paris. I think of Paris often, but rarely him and that night.

I was travelling alone, but was also travelling with you.

I still wish that we will go to Paris together, someday, in dreams that may visit our innocent sleep one of the many nights to come.

And please catch your train this time before you wake up.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Short In Words, Deep In Soul

I am not a native speaker of the English language used in this country. I grow up using a totally different language and system. Vocabulary of my English is limited, in terms that if I want to use this language to convince or impress that I am leading a life with depth and delicacy.

For the sake of clarification, I have more than adequate working vocabulary to ensure that I can pretty much thrive in my job and prior to that getting my MBA degree. (Click here for an example of my working vocabulary). But they don't strike me as so useful when you need to get into a smart conversation in the bar with a cute stranger (does a thing like this even exist) or in an after work party.

I am very short in words in daily life. Sometimes I feel I am living a silent movie type of life at this end of earth. People who are not close to me think I am quiet.

I am especially unfamiliar with nouns that describe little things that one might find useful in life, like certain type of nails or bedding items. I can not name many plants or vegetables; better at fruits and meat, but very bad at cheese or cold cuts.

I can not name any major symptoms of disease in this language other than “ache”, “itching”, coughing or running nose as well as a lack of sleep.

I am afraid I can not be a good mother or wife in this country.

On the other side, I am not familiar with nouns that describe very complicated emotional state or experience either. I know jealousy, pain, loneliness or hurt, but I don’t know until someone tells me the feelings of guilt over happiness, opacity, sabotage of relationship and masochistic.

The combination of this means that I can not be very talkative to you with small things that will make you feel at home, nor would I be able to talk to you about delicate feelings so that make you feel I am extremely sensitive.

And I don’t have enough verbs to interchange, because of that I can not even give you an example, because I don’t have enough verb to interchange.

Or maybe I do have one: When I say love, I mean love as it is, I don’t know words like I have feelings for you.

I am afraid I can not demonstrate a deep soul with such a shortage of words. And I am afraid we can not get that close when I can not name all the things that you have in your apartment or I can not be as witty to you as any other girl who might have just one tenth of my sense of humor or determine to make us laugh together, but much more words to use.

I use the word “stuff” a lot, referring to small nameless things to me. I use the word “things” a lot too, referring to all kind of feelings, utensils in kitchen, list to do and topics I want to ask you next time we are together.

And I use the word “use” a lot too.

In our conversation, I often time says: you know, that word, what is it, strangle, yes, I want to strangle you. Although I really meant to shake you up and ask you to make up your mind and tell me what the hell is this thing that is between us.

And when you say to me, “you know, that is not some kind of “self- fulfilling prophecy either”, I am amazed at the fact that I totally know this expression in Chinese but this is how you say it in English. Great! But I do think it is a self fulfilling prophecy. Yet I missed the time to tell you since I am so excited about the word you chose to use.

Yes, not only am I short in words, I am not fast enough to spit out those that I know either. I feel mute.

And this is compounded by the fact that you do not say much at all for me to react to when it comes down to things that matter. I do not get a chance to practice and improve my language skills with you. We are many times faced with each other, heart to heart or whatever it is that you have that still pumps blood, and wordless.

How is this going to work when I am short on words and you are short on expressing with words?

Maybe that is why we have awkward silence in our phone conversations, when I know what to say but is finding my words while you know what you want to say but is holding it back.

You said to me once that “you write or talk with such straightforward ness. It must be a culture thing.”

I think it is a blessing that I do not have many words to manipulate in your language. I will choose the plainest yet most accurate, the very reason that it probably mostly likely to be known by me.

So really, when I say love, I mean love as it is, I don’t know words like I have feelings for you.

PS from author: there is not much about deep in soul in this writing. It started with the topic and I still like it, but in the middle of the writing, things (see how much I like this word) take a turn, and I do not know how to get to the part of my soul. I decided to let it be.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Man and Their Intentions

"You know", my friend typed in MSN, "I am not sure of his intentions".

She previously stated that his mentor of the research center, has taken her onto a 7-course wine tasting lunch and bought her a bottle of wine at the end of it.

I refreshed my blogging site, looking for comment, while typing into MSN "don't think too much, just enjoy old is he? '

"He is an old man with a beautiful wife who was his pupil".

"Bad track record."

"He is the previous mayor..."

I gasped, I am snobbish that way. I love smart, funny, successful or extremely moody or considerate man, something set them apart. Plus we are not talking about Paris, Texas. What we have here is a top sin city of this country.

"When I come visit next month, can you introduce me?" I don't care what his intentions are, to my friend, I don't mind knowing some man who had been there, done that. And he sounds nice too.

"He should be very glad to meet with you." I hope so. I need to go out sampling man, one other friend told me over one therapeutically phone conversation, as if men are lining up in small bottles in front of me and I will just pick what suits the mood.

She called me 10 minutes later to talk about another guy that she just met (I want to go back to school campus where meeting guy seems so effortless with all the time you have on hands and schedules filled with parties). She is in west coast and I am a late person. So it all worked out.

She said he is a tall Chinese guy who teaches swimming. I pictured nice figure, firm but smooth skin, and he is tall too. "Sounds good."

"But he wanted to come up to my place first time we went out. What do you think he wants? I told him that we should be friends first. You know, I really like him. Does he JUST want sex? "

We worry about man's intentions once they grow fond of us. Before that, we worry about making them grow fond of us if they have not previously and voluntarily done so.

Such mindsets call for questions too soon as to what are they after? How long will they be interested in? How long will they stay after the Moment, if ever? That is why I don't like the method of "Sampling" man. You are obligated to deal with such standard questionnaire from day one. And you miss enjoying it.

I believe in going for it for whatever it is worth. I believe in enjoying it to the fullest without worrying about intentions of any sort. I believe in equilibrium in the non-physics world of love where what flows out will ultimately flows back. I am still an optimist.

Plus who is to say that only man have intentions. We dress stunningly to please the eyes that we want to please. We launch witty conversations so that we see sparks in the eyes that we could not resist looking into. Women are filled and covered with intentions.

Intentions are meant to be when they are intentions for getting closer and opening up. Intentions should be cherished when they are intentions to make the moment a little more memorable and life a little more enjoyable.

I remember a note to me that says: I have been silent and I have not been around. But none of these are intentional on my part". But it is the intentional part that is more valuable to me.

Being intentional means taking actions and making choices. Even not-so-good intentions revealed courage of actions and taking the consequences. Doing things with clear intentions shows readiness to get rejected, exposed and despised.

Intentions may cause unsatisfactory feelings, but it seldom hurts, at least not for long. Since it promises well managed expectations. Things that have pained me more are unsettled minds, non-accessible feelings, and shifting heart and what culminate into the famous Silence of Man.

So, man with their intentions does not worry me. Man that comes up to me with no clear intentions scares the hell out of me. We should be warned of such species when they are within 10 miles radius. So that we stay in safety realm and keep the cool, so that we won't become stalkers because we think he INTENDS to see us but could not for whatever valid reason that they have offered.

Maybe some men indeed do not have intentions or too weak to formulate one. Their presence and charm are just for themselves and such passive aggressiveness are misunderstood and misused by those of us who have hoped that they would come to us with intentions to love and love loudly.

After all, Men, with or without intentions, could not have hurt us if we have not allowed ourselves to be hurt in the first place (I think I borrowed this sentence from Stephanie Kelin). So the threat is not from Men, they are not our natural enemy. It is our heart that we should be guarded against. It is the intentions of our hearts, to love and be loved, and to not easily taking no as an answer.

So at the end of our 3 hour conversation of her man problem, I suggested in a very professional tone, as a woman who just launched herself unintentionally into the No Man's land, that to " Follow your heart, enjoy the moment, strategically position your emotions and feelings to ensure you can withdraw with minimum wounds whenever you can".

"But how do you suppose I am going to make that work?"

Well, I work in Direct Marketing agencies and are used to see account directors present strategies the implementation of which are not humanly possible. But we make money.

Or, if you decide to stay in the trench rather than withdraw, I suppose we can always go read the War Art of Sun Tz(yes, it needs that kind of strategy), the famous strategy book of our ancestors. That shall craft our practices.

We can even read the Chinese version. Let's consider ourselves lucky.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

You Are Sexy

I remember I sat on a bench on 72 street and Central Park west on the park side, reading the book Interpreter of Melodies. I was in non stoppable tears after reading The Temporary Matters–the first story that ends with: they wept together for what they now knew.

I am not sure after how long of a crying, in my teary eyes, I found myself begin to read a very different story. It is called “You are sexy”. My tears stopped miraculously since I was totally emerged into this story with a little of everything: satire, darkness, pain, but only a little, almost just a hint.

In the story that smart little boy said to the heroin “We think people are sexy because they are different”.

That sentence sticks to me.

And then one night you told me: But you are very sexy. We have connected in many ways other than physical. Yet you said what you said, with the BUT.

I don't know what does that mean but I feel sad hearing it. I feel a push back to the Caveman age from the sidewalk of 21st century New York where platonic crush is plenty. The latter is always more seductive to me.

I believe there are all kinds of sexiness and some of them are universal. But sometime we do find a kind of sexiness only in people and places we seldom seen or visit. We call that exotic.
Things could look or feel sexy because it is rare, different from what we see normally, or we know that we will not keep them for long.

I want to know which category my sexiness falls into in the mind of you. I hope whatever category it is in, it will be different from the categories that I mentioned above. Or maybe that is too much to ask.

I am no super model or bombshell material. I am not tall and quite a petite build. But I get my fair share of lustful looks or appreciative stares from men on the streets, in bars or in a meeting. But so are many other women.

I draw no particular pride or joy from such attention, since it is not customized, it does not take extra effort on the side of the lookers. And it says nothing about me inside the shell I am walking around in even it is a stylish shell and deserves the attention it gets. But my soul is not on the cover.

I check out sexy man too in the same way, but I know in that look, it holds such little hope to give or desire to know if the sexiness is only based on looks but not on how he talks, thinks, or lives his life or treats people around him.

And I could not in this side of the world be rid of the shadow of Asian fixation and its impact on my image in eyes of man. That is such a weird notion when it comes to the fixation of any kind. Like a fondness of certain type of fruit or cheese. It indicates a fitting into the category.

But can we really tell what is causing the feeling of attraction? Is it a smile, a pose, shape of a finger or every time you begin to hum that tune?

So when you say I am sexy, I inevitably wonder is it because you find me different in many ways from you or your prior encounters, or because I am sexy in the most conventional way that you will find on a woman whom you love and find sexually attractive and refreshing on each passing moment that you are with or not with her.

Let me rephrase, do you find my soul equally sexy?

Yes, I enjoy being sexy but only after you know me, not just because you know the look of me and touch of my skin or the feel of my long dark hair through your fingers or the fantasy of all of the above.

I will not be truly happy with a man who looks at me not much different from how a man will look at me when I walk past him for the first time and he whistles.

Let me know you will not be that guy who could have whistled when you see me walking by.

Instead, you would have come up, look into my eyes and say: “Can I know you?”

I am old school when it comes to this subject.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Love of the Color Red

I take a fancy in the color red. It seems to have got me going. This is a comparatively recent discovery, since last summer. That was the time when I became alone again.

I was tasked, for the first time in a long while, to decorate my place with total freedom and authority. The secretive designer me caught a breath and got down to work.

I know what I want for my room, somewhat. I will allow two main colors besides the white washed wall. I already have and love my dark wood furniture, black framed keyboard, black designer leather chair and black leather couch. What would be the other main color? Silver and glass does not count as color for me, since they could be invisible. They state nothing rather than coolness. I meant a solid color that one can not see through and one could not avoid.

I walked around town trying to figure out what I am looking for. I went to Crate and Barrel on Houston and Broadway and added on to the dark wood collection by getting a tall and elegant screen of the same color as my head board of the futon I was sleeping on.

I needed a piece of large carpet in front of the couch and I know I want a single color simple patterned one. I found it in this one little store in Soho. It meant to be there for me to own. A cubic patterned RED carpet made in India, a country famous for colorful Seri and occupying a continent covered with red dirt.

From there on, decisions are much easier. The Carpet set the tone. But what turned out to be a huge hit among my designer and architect friends (I value expert approval) were really the two separate pieces of red silk cloth I got from a small store on west 38 street, also owned by an Indian couple. When I hung them on my screen, and then covered my futon with the reddish 500 thread Egyptian cotton sheet, I finally felt I have build myself a nest that I can calmly savor my newly found loneliness and independence with no fear.

Yes, what else can contrast yet not giving in to the elegant and heavy and absorb-it-all color of black than red. And together they give me some feeling of solidness. Nothing is float in the air. They know what they are and where they want to be and stay there calmly.

And a visit to the new MOMA has shown me that I am not the only one who feel this way toward the color Red, Matisee said: "I can only see things as they truly are with the background of red". I love his Red Studio, albeit I also love all his paintings with blue background.

I kept on wondering why it is Red that has satisfied me and pleased me. I had never liked it in the sense that I would have people see me in it. Actually I don’t own much red outfit at all. I wear white, black and blue, yellow or green for bright days.

So maybe it has suited my mood during a tough time when radical changes were initiated in my otherwise quiet and routine life. It is like a revolution, fast forwarding and rebelling. Maybe that was why I have gone with the color Red. It is a color of revolution and passion. It is also a color that symbols happiness and festivity as well as joy of marital love in the 5000 year of Chinese civilization.

That may have explained it. It is in my blood and it is in my up-bringing and it all comes back in time of need. It is a color that makes me feeling secretly exciting, associated with happiness as well as boldness. Maybe I needed an invisible red banner to lead me when I decided to give it try to march down the path of life alone.

Maybe the color of the room for newly wedded couple in my ancestors land gives me some warmth and comfort when I left something that meant to last forever.

That must be it. And once it comes into life into my consciousness, I instantly rediscover the color red from every bits and pieces of world that surrounds me.

Although I have never realized before, the most and maybe the only indispensable make up for me is to put on my lipstick. The different shades of red covering my lips to prepare the face I am preparing to meet with the world or a loved one. I could skip everything else but not this one step. In seconds, it transforms a face, a heart, the woman who wears it. It is to me the Channel No 5 to Marilyn when it comes to that realm—that could be the only thing I am wearing. So it has always been there after all-red lipsticks and our readiness to kiss and to be kissed. No wonder I take a fancy in red, when I am the loneliest and most vulnerable in my life. I need to see the color that makes woman of all kind radiant for their lovers.

It is the color of robe worn by each and every Chinese bride, in old times, carried in the red Sedan Chair to meet their husband whom they have not met before. It is the color of silk cloth with the most exquisitely embroidery that covers her beautifully powdered young face, a face that shall reveal no sadness for leaving her parent’s home to start a new life at a stranger’s where she has to behave, please and produce a son. The red silk cloth shall only be gently lifted by her future husband at their first night and may that hand belong to a man with a nice looking face and a soft heart.

It is the color of the Red Young Pioneer scarf I had to wear everyday to school when I grow up. We were told the shape of it being triangle is that it is cut off from one corner of a red flag. Born in the 70s meant that I was one of the many children who “were raised under the red flag” when our mind were filled with make believe stories the sole goal of which were to tell us to love the party, the leader but not each other, to be conformist but not individualist. But it is still a childhood with pure heart and wonderful dreams, with liveliest imaginations and tender feelings from the first blush for a boy. There are things of life even the Red Guard of Mao can not kill.

It is the color of the walls of Forbidden City, which stretched for miles with its 1000 chambers that ever housed so many beautiful and young women who wasted their youthful flesh in endless waiting of the visit of one man.

It is also no coincidence the red is the color of our blood. As when it is spilled on the yellow sand of a Bullfighting ring of Servile.

No matter what race we are, white, yellow or black, we have the same color in blood. We may vary in color of eyes, skin and hair, but we don't in the color of blood. Thank god for that so the racists would not have to use a more sophisticated coding system to arrange who is going to sit where. Thank God for that so that we will not have to worry what type are more attractive to us, blue blood Sean or Green blood Steve. We are all red and hot blooded and we are equally beautiful. Yes, let height and size of eyes or some other organs (I am thinking the size of heart if you are wondering) continue to dominate our potential mate rating system. Life is tough enough. One less thing to worry about is always good. And thank God for that so we can even give each other blood in time of needs since our blood are of the same make, like the air we breath and water we drink. It is for sharing on an equal basis on the most primitive sense of being. No wonder red is also the color of love.

And of course red is also the color of the most important organ of all, the human heart. The organ we use to love and to feel sad. Maybe it is the brain that does that, but I tend to believe it is the heart until somebody shows me the proof, like when you have to convince people that earth is not the center of universe. Ancient Egyptian believes that in the after life they can do without brain but not heart. So they hold them dearly during burial to ensure whenever they are, they are not far from their heart so that they can always have a soul. I find that beautiful and credible.

I remember a sentence from the play Closer “Have you ever seen the human heart, it is like a fist wrapped in blood”. Yes, a heart that never is free from struggling, fighting and plight.

And a small painting that my boss hang in her office, made by a co-worker in one of the charity activity our company held, is having an unusual blue background to contrast the color red of the fisty heart, it has this quote: they wept together for what they now knew.

I remember the time when I was reading the story where the quote was taken from, sitting on the bench on 72 street and central park west, I could not stop crying. Tears just kept on coming. I sat there and wept for a long time. But the tears did not turn red as they say might happen.

Yes, color Red as in Rose red. Color red as in the light that shines on top of Empire State building on the day of Valentine. I was being kissed by a man on that night, in front of public library. When I looked south, I saw that deep red light dominating the night sky. I said to myself that I shall remember this night but leave.

Color Red as in Red Cross and Red Sox, it is a color of ultimate victory and triumph of spirit for the wounded and the hurt, but the passionate.

Color red as in that of strawberry and red wine. I remember the red wine that you took from the collection that the friend of yours had and we were listening to Aimee Mann while swallowing the wine and the bitter and sweet moments of a night when your heart was heavy and mine was heavy for you. The stain of wine lingered on my lips and tongue even the longest kiss can not wash them off.

Red Wine, it is what I drink in my studio apartment when I am alone and knowing that I will be alone for the remaining of the night, waiting upon something. It keeps me company when I am missing someone.

Color red as in the decadence red worn by the dancers of Moulin Rouge. Color red as in the red light district of Amsterdam which I removed from my list of place to see since windows with woman posing saddens me deeply.

Color Red, as in the lovely robe of Santa Clause, as in the little hat worn by the little girl crossing the forest to visit her grandma and as in the red shoes worn by the girl who danced until she die. Stories of such lighted up my childhood with the descriptions of places which exists beyond the Eastern China Sea, beyond the ancient land with temples, beyond the teaching of Chairman Mao and ancient Chinese characters with its endless strokes. They described things that happened in a nether land one day I will visit and call it my home.

Color red, may you continue to light up my life with all you splendor and strength while I am walking down the chosen path with a smile.