Wednesday, September 27, 2006

What Is in the Air

The client dinner in the Brazailian restaurant across World Plaza was more fun than I expected, the endless offer of various type of meat was filling. I actually enjoyed the company, my co-workers and the blonde client woman who is crazy but we now kinda of bond. Maybe because I am crazy too. The girl I work with a lot whom I love sat across me. J was not far either, which made everything else that much less real and less important.

Former senior client was worse than what I heard he was, he was obvioulsy shamelssly lustful as well--that made him a little more human than just a difficult nastry person that I heard he was. He obviously wanted us to go to another party with him, me and my co-worker. I just met him for the first time this night. But what is up with the piercing look and gaze? We were polite, amiable and like: tomorrow night. Let's plan for tomorrow night.

How do you reject advances of client other than postponing it indefinitely?

I left the client dinner early to meet up with a couple of friends, whom I cancelled on earlier of the night for client. I promised to meet up with them for drinks. One friend came back to New York to visit from Beijing, with his German wife; one girl friend, both are architects.

Drunk from the dinner, I led them the wrong way while searching for a bar. A little embarassed, I said: I need to walk off all those meat I just had. So we walked along 5th avenue toward south. I was thinking of taking them to Simon River, that bar that I did not go back ever since our time.
It is good for talking.

But on 44 street, I glanced right, I saw that sign of M Bar. For no reason, I decided to walk in there. I thought I have been there before. Turn out I have not. A small and quiet lounge with bookshelf and books. Woman of all ages occupied a large table on one side.

I walked toward an empty corner table and casually looked at the guy who was sitting on a nearby table. He was alone and quiet. He was handsome looking, in a geeky way. He looked at me.

Like ice melt into water, like a window being open to a familiar street, like recognizing a face, I said: I know you.

He said: Yes. I know you too.

We hugged. I noticed his shirt, that white shirt with blue patterns which make him instantly melancholy and different.

When did you come back from Scotland, Matt?

That is a former co-worker, whose wife's performance I went to see a year ago in the lower east side, before they sailed to Scotland. The same night, I watched Nora Jones.

I looked away from him, several feet away, his wife was playing the keyboard. I went up and hugged her too.

Then I introduced my friends, this is hao and hao. They have the same first name, although one very tall, one very short. Matt shook hands with them. Then we all sat together and chatted for a while.

How is your study of artificial intelligence in Edingburg? Great. I will be here for two weeks and go back.

How are you? Are you still at that company?

Yes. I am. Same. No, it is not same.

How do you just randomly walk into a place and see someone you know.

Truth is we barely know each other. But some how we bump into each other once a year and everytime we find it pleasant, or surprisingly pleasant like this.

Wife is still pretty in that pink dress of a blues singer. I looked at my boring corporate shirt and pant, and chukled a little.

They seem to be able to live a life of their choice.

After Matt got up and went back to the band of his wife and friends, male hao looked at me with a look, analyzing me.

I touched his unique-looking stripped long-sleeve T shirt and said: this looked like the sailer sweater, what we call The Sea Soul sweater in Chinese. Where did you get that?

This, belonged to my mother in law. She wore it in the 80s. My wife got it from her and almost threw it away, and I recued it and now it is mine. I liked him better for that.

He is the one who told me when I was in Beijing this past winter: Live the life of your dream. Stop looking at yourself in a spring and just do nothing about it. Live. And no more whinning, I don't want to listen to any more of that. Just live.

He does not pretend, his word could be tough to take but they are real. I needed that. I need that still.

We both got Manhattan. Well made. Strong. The other hao got pink lady which was so sticky that she can barely talk and we laugh at her.

What is in the air? Friends visiting, ran into people you know, parallel universes collided. Guy who wore cute shirt, guy who wore old sweater. My drinking with people I was not close to, coworker and clients. My drinking with friends in a bar in mid town. Person missing.

It is random, maybe it is not that random.

Hao said: I brought my roller blade.

From Beijing? Are you crazy?

No, I want to roller blade in Central park, like I used to do.

Did you bring your bike too? Almost.

That is how you miss this city--you want to redo everything you did here before.

It seems to be the season to be with people and almost like with no people. I am with the most imporant person in my life a lot, myself, even when I am with others.

It is time to see the familiar faces, it is the time still missing the face that I am looking for, like in my favoriate song, On Every Street. That song, I listened to so much in Memphis.

On every street, what are we looking for?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Red Glass

Whether the little boy
is still searching
for the pieces of red glass
washed ashore,
and here so complete and
so intentionally displayed
as a whole

Monday, September 04, 2006

A City Revisited

My plane was approaching Seattle at 9PM. The cloud covering the city was red rimmed by the setting sun. Surrounded by water, glimmering with evening lights, Seattle seemed peaceful and inviting.

I was admiring the sceneries, overlooking this city that left me memories of bitter and sweet.

There is no more person here that I came to see with a pounding heart, or left with a broken one. It is work, and memories that brought me closer to you, that were waiting for me.

Memories that used to make me ache. I made it a place of pain rather than hope and fun, it was the latter that I now recognize it for.

From Summer to Winter to Fall, here I am, grateful and peaceful, I came to find only memories to remember and cherish rather than to forget and distance.

The lovely book store at Pike Place Market is red in theme, of course, since it is the book store for the Left. I like the broken blue sofa on the red carpet. Blue and red is a taboo combination where I from, but it is perfect here, to me. Perfect.

I left a dollar bill to the girl playing violin outside the bookstore and smiled to her smiling face. She looked like she was 12. The nameless tune was familiar and beautiful, like the Gloomy Sundays.

We stood in this Alley listening to that Irish band, July 14, 2005. I took a picture of the alley, you were standing outside the fence where the waitress was looking. You were like an onlooker in that picture, casual and relaxed, happy. I thought to myself that is the man I love when I looked at the framed view.

In March, I was here again. My heart was heavy. I did not want to leave New York at that time. I did not get a chance to really see you yet, after my long trip. The city in winter was gray and chilly. I was missing you. I sounded sad in my email to you with all trips that I thought that will seperate us.

This time, I walked past the park, the green slope with Indian poles, at a fine day. I looked toward the South west, if I tried really hard staring, I almost see the mountain, Ranier, a shadow of it. You took a picture using my camera last time we stood there, looking for the mountain and finding it.

The sun was warm. People were smiling and resting, even the homeless ones seemed happy. I was too, relaxed after a hard week's of work, and homeless here.

I walked toward the elevator that led to the Waterfront Marriot. The elevator by which you waited for me to go to dinner in that lovely Italian restaurant on Post Alley--Pink Door, across the Irish restautrant named Kelly. I went back there this time, on the balcony, facing the bay. The blue glass and blue table clothy reminds me of the man with blue in him.

I should not have stayed here. The hotel, I should have stayed with you. I was wrong.

That third window from top, on the right, is our window, facing the bay, the harbor and the sailing boat. When we made love, we were wondering whether people sun bathing on the deck of the boat can see us. We waved, laughing. I still remeber how sweaty you were when you run over to see me, when I was cranky for you not come sooner. When I was wearing only a tiny robe, colorful and light, which you were afraid that you were going to rip up if not delicate enough. I opened the door, walked away, you hold me from back, saying nothing, nothing need to be said. And the afternoon was finally fulfilled, taken, known and felt.

At mid of the night, you said: I am in love with you. I love you, at half sleep. I heard them. But during day, you said: you should forget that. I heard the latter, so I forgot.

A beach that had a river run through it, the dune where we lie, a story that you named it: Sorry means never having to say I love you. I was buried in your bed of the corporate apartment reading a book about madness of a young boy.

I am happy now thinking of those days. To remember these memories are my way of missing you.

The last evening of my stay that summer at Seattle was a disaster, I asked you to cook for me, so that you won't have to take me out again. But I did not say the reason. I sounded bossy and needy. I went away to visit a friend and came back. We quarrelled. You eyes went empty and face blank. No, the answer is no. Why, why not. I was broken.

That is the part I don't want to remember. I wish I burst into laughter the next day. I wish I was more light-hearted, good sport, positive. I took your words literarily. I failed every test you gave me and explod on every mood swing you had.

I had been a girl, not a woman. Yet I argued for the opposite.

It was almost like I was looking to be hurt. That was the root cause of the extra pain and all pain. I was the drama queen, to begin with. Negativity was my label. But no more.

Chris, a bit more self criticism, then I am done for now. If you knew me, you would know this self criticism are well justified.

I took this photo in that bookstore since my color black goes well with the color around me. I was humored. I was finally faced up to the fact that I was flawed and am. It is not about who should do better, I should do better no matter what you have done or have not done. In each realtionship, we can only really better ourselves. But the best efforts of one can bring the best effort of the other. There is no guarantee, but you get to do what you get to do when you know this is something cherisable and lasting.

You need your space and your freedom and you shall not be in a relationship that is not healthy, like what I gave you before. It was not real. You deserve better than that. I can give you something better. Yet, timing does not work for us, does it?

Looking back, I am happy for what I had. I am trying for another chance. I am also looking forward to a better me, and even a better us. But today, it is about me and this city that we enjoyed together once.

Actually I felt so warm that I decided to do something meaningful--I bought a pair of boots in the store near Harbor steps. I did not have to. But they striked me somehow, high, burgandy red, riding style boots, masculine looking, yes, even when it comes to sentimental behavior, it always goes back to shopping, for me.

The hopelessly materalistic Asian girl, who works hard and tries hard to fix her flaw, who was really happy in this city with a fantastic man at summer of 2005 and many days after that.

So Geoffery, to answer your question, yes, I have kept the city clean and even contributed a little to its booming tourism.

And to love better sometime is simply just to be a better human being.

Seattle, you did not break my heart.

But I am beyond comfort from this sadness of not knowing you anymore or not to be known.