I wrote this over my month long break, while my internet was gone.
February 9, 2005
...... With the power out, movie night was effectively cancelled, or at least postponed. The six friends were left with an evening of limited entertainment ahead of them. Since power outages are far from uncommon in Newfoundland, especially in winter, no one was caught by surprise. Candles were quickly located and lit, providing rather sombre lighting. Which perfectly suited the mood that settled over them. Sensing the atmosphere was about to fall into darker territory, one of them decided to take action.....
...... "Well, uh, since no of us can effectively plug a tv and DVD player in our collective ass' and make electricity, I propose a change of plans." One said with a lackluster attitude.
...... "Actually I think the sudden lack of power proposed a change of plans, but let not a petty thing such as accuracy impede you. Impart upon us your new plan, spawned from your vast and infinite wisdom." Came the sarcastic reply of the Second.
...... "Alright, move the coffee table out of the way, and get the sofas closer together." Ordered the First "I have a story to tell."
...... A communal groan was uttered, since the First was known not for story telling abilities nor verbal eloquence. At first, no one moved, unwilling to endure another unending torture session at the hands, or tongue rather, of the First.
...... "Come b'ys, let's go for it. What else are we going to do? Hm?" Came the voice of the Third, optimistic as ever.
...... "I for one, have my GBA SP." Spoke the Second.
...... With that, the Second promptly flipped open the device and flicked the power on. A new illuminance flooded over the Seconds previously unlit features. Undaunted by the lukewarm reception, the First moved the sofa he share with the Sixth closer to the sofa where the Third, Forth, and Fifth sat.
...... "Gather close my friends, for I doubt my voice will rise above a whisper as I speak." True to the letter, the First voice was greatly hushed.
...... As they scooted forward, the First began.
...... "One day, long since past, a young but dutiful man went to his favorite restaurant..."
...... "Why must you be so dramatic? The story's main character is you and it happened while you were on that exchange." Came the sarcastic voice of the Second, who could not be moved from the recliner that supported him.
...... The Forth frowned, but said nothing and just settled against the Third.
...... "Why must you always be a sarcastic ass that interrupts everything? If you want to listen, come over here and do so. If not, don't interrupt." Came the equally venomed reply of the Fifth.
...... "Yeah, come on and sit with us. Or is that game so captivating?" Came the quiet voice of the Sixth, whose head was resting in the lap of the First.
...... Grumbling, the Second turned off the device, but remained in the recliner.
...... "Anyway, this is the story of a girl..."
...... No one commented on the change of the story's beginning, but as the First spoke, something odd happened. They were drawn in by the words of the First, captivated even.
...... Ryan gingerly walked toward the Muslim Noodle Place. His thoughts lingered on the dog he was currently taking are of. He had tried to bring the dog with him, and give take her for a walk, but the dog had refused to go anywhere near the steps on his floor. Reluctantly, he left her in the porch with food and water.
...... "Oh well, I'll just eat then." He spoke out loud, more or less just to her something in English.
...... Entering the restaurant, which merely required that he step into the open front room, one of the Chinese workers asked him.
...... "Ni chi shen me? Tu duo chao niu rou?"
...... "Dui, tu duo chao niu rou." He replied in Mandarin. Musing over the direct translation.
...... ‘You eat what? Potato fry beef?' He thought to himself, as Chinese sentence structure was both amusing and frustrating.
...... Sitting down, he mulled over the fact that his month long break from class and work was causing his Mandarin to degrade. Not a pleasant thought considering it was far from functional. Being thrown into a situation where he needed a language that he didn't possess was frustrating to say the least. Stepping into the back room, he sat down.
...... The dish he ordered was one of the few things on the menu that he both knew how to order and enjoyed a great deal. It took anywhere from seven to ten minutes to prepare, but it was well worth it. Noticing a weight in his jacket pocket, he discovered that he was still carrying the phrase book he took on a trip the previous week. Seeking to pass the time, he flipped it open to the celebration section.
...... "Xin nian kuai le" He muttered to himself. "Happy New Year."
...... Thinking back, he recognized the phrase. People had been saying it to him since he left his apartment.
...... "Learning Mandarin, one sentence at a time." He mused.
...... His food arrived just then, but he didn't notice. His attention was forced in another direction. She walked in, saw him and paused for a minute or so. They both looked at each other, their eyes meeting. She was Chinese, but unlike most female Chinese persons, her height and weight was more akin to the Western average. Which suited Ryan perfectly. She smiled and even blushed slightly. Then, they both went back to what they were doing. She sat down at the table across from him, and he started eating his meal. Her order, noodles, arrived a few moments later. At which point, the youngest worker at the restaurant grabbed his attention, and spoke to the girl sitting at the opposite table. She spoke quietly to the worker, and Ryan managed to comprehend what they were talking about. She was asking if he spoke Chinese, and the worker told her no and asked her if she spoke English. She replied saying a little.
...... Turning toward her, Ryan smiled and she smiled back. As with every chance Ryan gets to speak Mandarin, he forgot everything beyond ‘Ni hao' and the newly learned ‘Xin nian kuai le'. Fighting the panic that was quickly taking hold, he needed to say something. Which was a problem, because he had no idea what to say. What could he say that would have any meaning? How could he possibly continue? Direly cursing Chinese culture where men had to entirely initiate and maintain the fist conversation between a man and woman, he forced himself to speak.
...... "Xin nian kuai le." He decided to forgo ‘Ni hao', thinking it was too formal.
...... "Xie xie." She replied quietly and again blushed ever so slightly.
...... Having nothing else to say, he mentally cursed his memory. She started eating, and Ryan continued to eat his meal. Both stole side glances at the other while they ate, hoping and thinking the other wouldn't notice.
...... Ryan was in a near mental hysteria, more so than usual. She was finished, and appeared to be stalling while she looked for money, and he new they were both about to walk out of that restaurant. Most likely never to meet again. He hurriedly finished his meal and stood up. Noticing that she had finally found her seemingly lost money, he walked out front and paid. He took five steps and looked back; there she was doing the exact thing he was doing. They were walking away, but were unwilling to give up one last look at the other.
...... Ryan then remembered that he had a duty, he had sworn to take care of the dog. He crossed the street, all the while looking back at her. She continued down the street, pausing to look at him as well. Ryan stood on the other side of the road and watched her walk away while looking at him. He was then caught between fulfilling his duty and chasing someone who he had instantly fallen for. She finally stopped at a bus stop, and Ryan's heart sank. He had never seen her before, and he now knew why. She was most likely just in this part of the town seeing family because of the Chinese New Year.
...... At that moment he desired nothing more than to cross the street and run down to her. He wouldn't know what to say, aside from asking her where she was going, but he didn't care. So strong was this desire, that he actually took a step forward. Fighting with every moral fibre he could, he reminded himself that he had a previous obligation. He had left the dog, which was only a puppy and easily frightened by the constant fireworks, along for over an hour. Which was far too long. Turning, he started walking back to his apartment. Each step seemed to tear out a piece of him. He forced himself to keep going, one trembling foot in front of the other. He didn't hear the people talking in Chinese around him, he didn't notice that the rain had started again, and he didn't notice the car that was speeding in the bicycle lane.
...... The car came to a screeching halt, just a foot or so away from Ryan, who was still in a daze. The drive got out and started yelling at him, but Ryan didn't hear him. He was far to engrossed in his own thoughts and sudden pain. He questioned himself over and over again. About why he didn't speak to her more, why he didn't open the phrase book and find something, and even about why he was suddenly so obsessed over a girl whose name he didn't even know. Before he realised it, he was fumbling with his apartment keys. He walked in, let the dog into the main room, and sat on his sofa.
...... The First paused and looked distant for a few minutes.
...... "I need a drink." Without saying another word, the First walked to the kitchen in the Dark.
...... The First pulled a bottle of Jaegermeister of out the freezer and a bottle of iced tea from the fridge. By candle light, he made an Eistee Jaeger, a personal mix of iced tea and Jaegermeister. The First sighed, the sound was wrought with pain. Hands on the counter, the First stood for a while, forcing a steady breath. The Sixth silently entered the kitchen and hugged the First from behind.
...... "Y'okay? You seem really upset." The Sixth voice was soothing.
...... "Want a Eistee Jaeger?" The First avoided the question.
...... "Iced Hunter?" The Sixth inquired.
...... "Ja, I gave the drink a German name after it's alcoholic ingredient. I love iced tea and Jaegermeister, so this was the next logical step." The First sighed again and sank in the Sixth arms. "Well, it's time to finish what I started."
...... "Not yet, I want to hold you for just a moment longer."
...... Turning around, the First kissed the Sixth, looking into each others eyes. The First broke the embrace, grabbed the Eistee Jaeger and headed back to the living room.
...... Sitting down, the First enjoyed the Eistee Jaeger for a few minutes. The Sixth sat down, resuming the previous head-lap position. The First began idling stroking the Sixth hair.
...... "And?" demanded the Second "What happened?"
...... "There isn't much more too tell, but I'll go on." Spoke the First, sounding disheartened.
...... Ryan sat on his couch and cleaned up after the dog. He look down at the puppy, who was gnawing on his heel. He felt a great swell of hatred toward the puppy, but he let it go. He couldn't blame her, he couldn't really blame anyone. Which frustrated him. He had chosen duty to his ward over pursuing someone who may or may not have had an interest in him. Left with little to do, as his internet had broken that morning, and he was unwilling to go out again. He decided that tomorrow he would go back to the MNP and wait for her. If she came, then maybe just maybe they could be friends or more. The night was long and restless, even with the aid of several movies.
...... Morning came, and Ryan knew little of sleep. He waited until 15:45 to goto the MNP, as he left his apartment the previous day at 16:00. He returned the dog, fulfilling his duty. He armed himself with the phrase book and scoured it's sections on greetings and conversations. There, in the front room, we watched and waited...
...... The First stopped, and finished the Eitee Jaeger.
...... "She came, right? She showed up, right?" Asked Fifth.
...... " Well? What happened next?" Asked the Forth.
...... The First put down the empty glass and stared at it.
...... "He waited there, from 15:48 onward, he waited." Said the First after a while, looking around the room, desperately stalling.
...... "And?" Came the soft voice of the sixth.
...... The First took a deep breath.
...... "And...she never showed up. He never saw again. He asked the restaurant workers to keep an eye out for her and tell him if she came back again, but she never did. He choose duty over a possibility and he never stopped regretting it. Happy now?" The First spoke bitterly to them, standing and leaving the room without a candle.
...... Walking out to the house's balcony, the First looked up to the nigh sky, the moon more importantly. Wondering if somewhere, on the opposite side of the world, there was a Chinese girl who did the same from time to time...
Eistee Jaeger - 1/8 Jaegermeister, 7/8 Iced Tea. Not a tumbler drink, but a full size glass drink.
X-Post In theminion & our_stories