Chinese Stories in English
I was in the second year of junior high at the time, but since I’d skipped a grade in primary school I was only twelve years old. During summer vacation before school started, a college classmate of my parents asked to have her son live with us temporarily while she and her husband were going through a divorce. Her husband was a Frenchman but was living with her in the United States. Because she was afraid of losing her only son, she had decided to send the boy back to China.
My father picked him up at the airport in the late afternoon on August 29 – he’d flown from the United States by himself. He came in behind my father when they arrived at home together. He wasn’t very tall, a little over 5’3”. When he and my mother and I nodded and greeted each other, you can’t imagine how beautifully extraordinary his facial features were, with his gray-green eyes.
Later he told my parents that his grandfather really wasn’t a Frenchman, but a Russian aristocrat. He’d gone into exile in France for political reasons and married a French woman, who gave birth to his father. His father married a gifted Chinese scholar, a graduate of Tsinghua University, who gave birth to him.
My father enthusiastically introduced us in the living room. "Kaka,” he said, “this is Faith, whom I’ve often told you about. He’s two years older than you." Then he said: "Faith, this is my daughter Kaka. I’ve also told you about her.” He gestured warmly around the room as he spoke. “As of now, Faith, this is your home!"
Faith nodded and smiled at me, then took off his glasses and put them on the furniture. On his back he was carrying a large travel bag that almost hung down to his knees. My mother reproached my father for not helping him with his luggage, but my father explained that Faith had refused his help. Then he smiled subtly and said, "Why should I carry it for him? He’s already a man."
He was shown to the study near my small room, where a bed had been set up especially for him. The doors to our two rooms were slightly staggered, and if the doors were ajar, we could each see into the corner of the other’s room. I was quite unhappy about this, because I had a stranger invading my territory, besides which it was a young man. Right then, however, watching him hobble into the study with that big bag on his back, my face suddenly started burning and I felt like something sweet was flowing through my heart, making it swell with happiness and start to pound and dance.
He went into the room and opened that huge backpack. The first things he took out from the top were books and writing materials, which he placed on the desk, piling the books into a neat stack. Next came clothes, one item after another, which he arranged and hung in the cloth wardrobe we’d just purchased. The set of light blue pajamas was folded in fours and went on the bed. He did all this meticulously. Finally he pressed all the air out of the travel bag, folded it flat and stuck it under the bed. He patted his hands as he went into the bathroom to wash up. When he came back to the study he picked up a book, sat down in a chair, bowed his head and started to read.
My father came into my room on some pretended errand and watched him surreptitiously, then gestured for me to call him to dinner. Mouthing the words, he told me to call Faith “Brother”. He had an ingratiating look on his face and stretched his mouth open extra wide. He was afraid I was unhappy.
Truth is, I’d been unhappy with them all along about having a young man come into our home. Right then, though, I tried as hard as I could to pretend I was indifferent about it, even though he was giving me a chance to go into Faith’s room. I unconsciously tugged on the hem of my skirt. I didn’t like this outfit and wore it rather testily against my inclinations, but at the moment, changing into my blue sailor’s skirt wasn't an option.
I only stuck my head into his room, with my hands holding one side of the door frame and my body leaning slightly inside. A ray of light coming in through the blinds fell right on his head. The reflection off his ash-brown hair looked like he was wearing an incomparably beautiful hat. I plucked up my courage, knowing that my father was watching me from the room behind me. I called to him idly, "Brother Faith," I called, "time for dinner."
He stopped what he was doing and put down the book, not looking at me. Then he jumped out of the chair, hesitated a moment, and pushed the chair back under the desk. He finally turned around and smiled at me and my father, who had come over as well, as we stood in the doorway. He followed us into the dining room.
Faith spoke very little during dinner. My mother kept putting food on his plate and asking, "Is it good? Is it good?" He'd raise his head, very serious, look at her and smile warmly.
"He's a taciturn child." I got a bittersweet feeling inside when I heard my mother speaking like that to my father.
He didn't pay me much mind during those first days. Our conversations were limited to polite courtesies in front of the adults with no communications in private. If we passed in the corridor, we pretended not to see each other and stuck to our own sides.
My father arranged a transfer for him to the high school attached to my junior high. He was a freshman. It wasn't long before I heard that the junior high co-eds were talking about him. They were all envious of me, no doubt, when they learned he was living in my house. They asked me everything about him, but I skirted the questions and made like I didn't care. The more they showed interest in him, the more upset I became. I felt like someone standing on the winner's platform listening to the thunderous applause of the people in the stadium before the official comes up to distribute the medals, only he knows that he's not really a champion and that he's going to be taken down.
Dinner was the only time we could talk. Under my parents loving gaze, I made the effort to hear everything he said clearly, so as to discern any information about his likes and dislikes that his words might contain. I took every last word with me in my mind to think over so that I could play up to him later on. I felt constantly in a flutter because of this.
For example, one time he said that he found sailor’s apparel most annoying, probably because of an unhappy experience he’d once had on a cruise. That night I put my sailor skirt away in the top part of my wardrobe, where I kept clothing I no longer wore. After a few days, though, my mother mentioned the skirt while we were at dinner, and Faith said “Kaka would look quite pretty wearing a sailor’s skirt.”
His attitude was gentle in the extreme and I couldn’t tell whether the things he said were all just courtesies. My mother said he seemed like a gentleman, a gentleman who was not yet fully grown. She was full of praise for him when she said that, and spoke with a sympathetic smile. It hurt me because I knew I’d never be able to guess his true likes and dislikes. I was just worrying myself for nothing.
The frustration kept me exhausted to the point where I was disgusted with myself. I transferred this emotion onto him. I hated him and decided not to speak with him in private, not even to say hello. Except for those brief times at dinner, we were like two ships passing in the night. That's how it was at school, too.
I was the first one to discover what was going on. The pain bowled me over, but as for the shock, that was born gradually afterwards through contagion by other people's reactions.
It was that afternoon almost half a year after Faith had come into my home. It was almost dark when I got home because I'd done some cleaning up after school. I came into our courtyard and turned the corner where a small garden has been planted in a dead end. It faces the front gate and is surrounded by a semicircular colonnade covered with some kind flower, and at this time the flowers were in full bloom. I was thinking about the flowers and about how I'd be by myself for a while. He should be home, but my parents wouldn't be there yet.
At the corner I changed direction and walked into the garden. I had on the sneakers with the imitation ox-tendon soles that I have for gym class, so I made no sound at all.
It was quite dark and a little hazy. First I saw a woman being hugged by someone sitting on the stone bench under the colonnade. That's a common thing here and I didn't think they were over the line. They didn't see me, or maybe they were too involved to care whether anyone was passing by. I walked over to them without a word and saw him holding the woman in his arms, desperately, kissing her.
I unconsciously made a little sound, or maybe I said something. Or maybe I didn’t and it was just an instinctive “uh-oh”, but the woman was thoroughly on the alert. She let go of him right away as soon as she heard, and looked at me.
And I looked at her. I wanted to run away as soon as I recognized her, far, far away, but I didn’t. I just thought, “How could it possibly be her?”
Her reactions were quicker than mine. She jumped up immediately and backed away. He only glanced back at me, however, as he reached out and grabbed her. He grabbed her very hard, or maybe she just gave in and let herself be grabbed. They walked over to me and, still very warmly, he introduced the two of us.
"This is my uncle's daughter, Kaka Liu. Kaka, this is my language teacher, Butterfly Zeng.”
Ms. Zeng, the respected teacher and head of a language section in the high school, walked up close to me and held out her right hand as though she were greeting an adult. When she stopped in front of me I instinctively stuck out my hand, if only to keep up appearances. When her large and slender hand, dry and tense, wrapped around mine, I felt down on myself. It was like my heart had been bitten by a vicious dog, “So this is the kind of hand he likes,” I thought. Mine is small, meaty and moist.
Ms. Zeng looked at him, waiting for his decision. They were almost the same height, 5'3". I couldn't see their expressions in the semi-darkness. They were both wearing jeans. The women looked at the man like they were lovers.
He said to her, "Go on home. I'll talk to Kaka."
She still seemed a little uneasy. She moved her feet a bit and stopped. "Don't worry," he said, gently patting her back, "I'll call you tonight." She calmed down and nodded to me, then quickly walked out from under the colonnade. She took small steps, obviously a bit the worse for wear. I remembered someone had said that she'd gone to acting school when she was a child and had played vivacious young women.
We watched her walk off into the distance. At the edge of the garden she turned around and looked in our direction, then very quickly turned and walked away. He then stepped close to me and asked, "Can you walk with me?"
I didn't say anything and he just started walking. I followed him with my book bag on my back. We walked along the colonnade toward the inside. The flowers really were in bloom and I smelled wave after wave of their scent. We were only a few steps from the end and I felt little awkward because I didn't know what we should do when we got there. He turned his head, looked at me and asked, "Is your book bag heavy?"
I stared blankly. "No," I said.
"Rest a while," he said. "You've been carrying it a long time."
Then he sat down on the stone bench in the farthest interior of the colonnade. He patted the empty place beside him and said something to me. I wanted to refuse, but something made me sit down. The stone chair was cold and my hind end felt frozen. He asked if I had books in my bag and, when I said yes, he told me to take two of them out. I opened the bag and took out two books. He motioned for me to stand up and put them where I'd been sitting. He patted them and said, "This way you won't freeze."
It tingled, pain held in the warmth of happiness. He was being tender-hearted towards me for the sake of another woman, but the pleasure I felt between the shame and the insult wouldn't let me leave. I sat on the books looking at the wall at the garden's dead end. After a brief silence I suddenly understood his intentions, "Don't worry, Faith," I said, "I'll keep your secret."
He said, "No, no, I don't want you to keep it secret. I'm just hoping it won't affect you. That's why I wanted to talk to you."
I turned my head and could see the side of his face, with its high nose and a strand of hair hanging down and covering the front of his forehead. I felt a burst of pain in my heart and had to bend down. He was so beautiful. Why did he have to be so beautiful?
"You know I'm a half-breed," he said. "From birth I've been different from the people you're familiar with."
I said, "No, you're the same as them. There's nothing wrong with being mixed race."
He smiled. "When I said 'me', I was saying that I'm physically different from you. He looked at me as if this were a weighty conundrum and he didn't know how to explain it to me clearly. He put his face in his hands and seemed to come to a decision. He straightened his shirt. "I've liked women probably since I was a few years old."
"I really like mature women, I mean, those women's bodies make me like them." He spoke naturally and unrestrained, and frankly: "I still remember the godmother I had. She was pretty and had a very full body. I particularly liked her. I'd do whatever she let me do. I leaned against her bosom to make her like me, to make her hold me. Her breasts were soft and firm. I felt I'd be so happy if I could stay leaning against her like that. I liked to touch her arms, too, and her face. Her skin was especially smooth, and slick in a strange way that felt comfortable when I touched it. These days I often wonder if that could be considered a kind of love. I like women. I like them too much."
I asked cautiously, "So, you don't like young girls?"
"Look," he said, "that's what I wanted to talk to you about, Kaka."
"I like you, of course. You're beautiful but you don't know it." He was looking at the nearby wall as if it were me. "Your face is a classic melon seed type," he said. "Your skin is white, and your eyes look inward a bit, with black, lustrous pupils, full of seriousness. Maybe in ten years or less you'll know how to turn that seriousness into something else and you'll charm a lot of men to death."
"Look at your mother," he continued, his thoughts seeming to wander. "You look so much like her, and she's so alluring now."
My heart sank and another flash of pain hit me. I asked about his last sentence. "You couldn't like my mother, could you?"
He froze a moment and then said, "Do you want to hear the truth?"
"Of course," I said.
"That's part of the reason I agreed to come into your family," he said.
I couldn't move. So that's what it was, his young gentleman's performance every night at dinner whenever my mother laughed and spoke…. I felt my heart palpitating in pain. I curled over at the waist and lay closely on my knees. He noticed and asked me if I was cold. I shook his head and the two of us sat there for a while in silence. Then I asked, "What about Ms. Zeng?"
"I like her," he said. "She turns fantasy into reality." Seeming not to know quite how to express himself, he added, "I've really got it good."
I tried as hard as I could to remember everything I'd heard at school about Butterfly Zeng. This head of the high school's first year language group was thirty-six. Yes, she was born in the year of the horse, making her a full thirty-six years old. She wasn't married yet. Her face was roundish, not like my mother's at all, with delicately curved eyes. Her body wasn't bad, and at first glance she looked like a twenty-seven-year-old girl. But, my word, Faith was just fourteen this year, even if he was a half-breed and not the same as us, like he said.
"Does she love you?" I asked.
"We love each other like crazy," he replied.
I asked, "Are you going to get married?"
"Of course," he answered quickly. Then he thought for a moment and said, "But we'll wait another seven or eight years."
I felt my blood boil. I almost said that after seven or eight years, I'd be twenty years old myself. But the length of time consoled me. By then Butterfly Zeng would be over forty, a forty-plus-year-old woman. But then I suddenly felt discouraged. My mother had just turned forty the previous year, but she was still very well preserved. I wasn't clear about it, but she probably was still alluring.
We stayed sitting in the garden that day and didn't leave until it was dark. We both talked and told each other things. He talked about the beautiful woman in his memories how he'd thought of ways to get close to them and get them to like him, but they'd only regarded him as a cute little boy. The best was my mother, who said he was a little gentleman. Only Butterfly, of course, considered him a man, a man she could have. I told him a lot of my childhood memories and, while I didn't realize it, it was like telling him about my mother's past.
Later his cell phone rang. It was a message from my father saying he'd made a special trip to the school to give the teachers a head's up about something. He was constantly afraid that Faith might get into some kind of trouble because he was much too good looking, especially for a fourteen-year-old boy. He really was too good looking.
He said he'd be right home. Probably my father asked him if he'd seen me, and he said no, followed coolly by a lie that the junior high had something going on today. When he'd left school he'd seen the entire junior high still brightly lit, undergoing a general cleaning.
We got home about eight o'clock. One of us went in first and the other followed seven or eight minutes later. My father and mother were both calm and didn't ask either of us anything. They were in the kitchen heating up some food, my mother next to the stove and my father by the microwave. The TV was on, blaring out the enthusiastic sales pitches of commercials, a bunch of them.
We each went to our rooms to do homework while we waited for dinner. I took out my books and sat down at my desk. The familiar atmosphere of my room comforted me and considerably smoothed over the pain I'd just experienced on the way home. After years this has become my custom, to return home when I'm upset.
I wasn't able to read, or to write even one word in my notebook. I felt compelled to hide behind the door of my room and peek into his. He'd left the door slightly open, seemingly on purpose. He sat at the head of his bed, holding a cell phone, making a call.
If I talked about it in terms of an internal injury, I thought I'd spit up blood.
That afternoon when he and Butterfly Zeng had parted, I'd told her he would call. And he really was a man after all, true to his word with women. I was watching when I heard my father calling us to dinner from the living room. In the past he'd liked to walk into the corridor between the two rooms to call us, but that day he just stood in the living room. His voice sounded hollow, like the echo of a waiter from an old-time restaurant.
The four of us sat at the table. My mother has always been a lively woman who has never liked silence. As she was dishing out the food to Faith and I, she talked about anecdotes she'd seen in the evening newspaper. He smiled, as always, and occasionally agreed with her, but his attitude was still a bit stiff. For the first time he steered the conversation toward me, out of consideration for my feelings, and teased me into talking by asking questions.
I hated him for being ingratiating because of this matter, but I vaguely thought, or maybe hoped, that he wasn't just trying to please me, that there was some other meaning. It made me happy and I started to talk. I had a feeling my parents were sighing in relief.
Things settled down like that. He and I kept the secret, and I never saw Butterfly Zeng again, even though we were in the same school. The high school and junior high were in different buildings separated by a playground, so it was not surprising that I never saw her. She wasn't a topic of conversation at school, even though she was unmarried at age thirty-six, nor did she often perform in school pageants.
Some coeds still went crazy over him. They'd even block his way to get him to notice them. When asked for our home phone number I always gave it out, and I got a kind of malicious pleasure from thinking how their pain over him couldn't hope to reach one-thousandth of mine. Whatever they said or did, it would never be like my everyday life.
His mother came over from New York once. She gave him ten thousand U.S. dollars and he bought me a necklace. I didn't want to accept it, so he gave it to my mother and told her to consider it a gift for my next birthday, when would come of age.
My mother brought the necklace to my room that night and asked me why I'd rejected Brother Faith's good will gift. I said no, I just didn't want it. She looked me over for a while and said I was really pretty, just too serious. "Why are you so serious?" she wondered.
She put the necklace by my pillow. I didn't want to talk to her any more. Even though she and I were so much alike, I couldn't just duplicate her in everything. I told her I still had a lot of homework to do and she left without saying anything.
I put down my pen and looked at myself in the small table mirror that sat on the side of my desk. A white, melon-shaped face, ample flesh on the cheeks and chin, and lips habitually pursed so tightly that the muscles of the lower part of my face seemed to be working hard. Eyes flat and forward-looking, with the pupils falling a little bit to the inside, and deep amber hair.
My mother knocked on the door and put a chopped apple on my desk with a few toothpicks on the edge of the plate. Then she left again without saying anything.
I stuffed the box with the necklace in it under my pillow. I hadn't opened it. I kept it there and went to sleep with my head on the pillow.
Things went on like this for another couple of months, until his mother came back from New York for the second time. She burst right into our house, trying hard to keep calm, but she was a Chinese woman and was unable to adapt herself to such things. She sat on the sofa with her body leaning forward and her hands pinching the cushiony armrest, and interrogated my parents.
When I went into the living room to pour myself a drink of water, she gestured nervously for my mother to call me over. My mother waved her hand at her and called for me to stop. She asked me if I knew about this.
I'd had a hunch she'd ask, but I shrugged my shoulders like I didn't care and asked, "Know about what?"
My actions must have been strange, since I never shrugged my shoulders. I saw my mother's face change and she told me in a stern voice not to play games. "Did you know that Faith and his teacher were in love? That teacher," she thought a moment and changed the word. "That woman! She's resigned, and Faith is missing!"
"Missing?" I cried. "That can't be! I saw him just yesterday. "
Faith's mother told me, regretfully, that Faith had emailed her saying that he and his teacher Butterfly Zeng were in love, and that Butterfly was pregnant and had quit her job. They wanted to have this child, so he would be taking three months off from school to be with Butterfly and his child.
She said he'd counted the time it would take her to get to our house after he sent the email, and probably left just this morning. "I've looked all over for him. He's not at school, not anywhere, him and that woman." She started to cry as she spoke. "God, he's only fourteen! Why did I give him that ten thousand dollars?" She kept saying that while she was crying, "Why did I give him ten thousand dollars?"
I stood in the middle of the living room watching her sunken down helplessly in the sofa. My mother handed her a tissue, and she took it and wiped away the tears. My mother handed her another. She took it and wiped her eyes dry. Finally she took the box and held it. This scene, I'd seen it on television many times. A woman anywhere in the world would be the same, weeping and reciting her woes, her life thrown into confusion.
As for him, I thought, this was a kind of abandonment of me and my mother to go with Butterfly Zeng. They would give birth to the crystallization of his love.
The thought made me dizzy. He'd been plotting this for a long time. If he'd waited until Butterfly Zeng had to resign, it would have been several months. So that was why he'd bought that necklace for my coming of age gift so early, huh? He was definitely thinking that he'd never see me again.
I found my body tilting backward to the right. I couldn't control it. And I felt the darkness getting suddenly stronger, pulling me off my feet. I followed it in a fog, not knowing how far it would take me.
I found my mother sitting by my bed when I woke up, holding a novel in her hands. She seemed tranquil, as if nothing had happened, like it was a big cat taking a nap beside her, not a daughter who had fainted. She looked me over when she noticed I'd come around and said, "You're awake. Good."
I asked if Faith's mother was still there and she said, "Yes, I let her sleep in Faith's room for a while." She reached out and stroked my hair as she spoke. My scalp seemed to tingle under the soft strength of her palm, all the way down to my heart. My arms and legs went numb and for some reason I began to sob, my face buried in the pillow. My mother still didn't speak, just petted me. From that moment I began to understand why Faith was so interested in women her, like my mother. She was different from other people, calm and powerful. But me, in the end I cried shamefully, "Oh, Mama, we'll never see him again!"
She looked me up and down and said, “I think we will. After the baby’s born, he’ll bring the child here to show us. And I’m so old,” she added with a bitter smile, “that I'm going to be a grandmother."
I burst into tears and poured out all the humiliation and mortification of the past few months into my mother's breast.
Faith’s mother called the police to file a report. My parents discouraged her, but she was already an American, and further, she believed that Faith would soon be returning to the United States. They could simply ignore the rumors that might circulate here. She accused Butterfly Zeng of abducting a youth, who happened to be her own student as well.
She contacted her husband and they quarreled on the phone. They roared back and forth at each other in English. “That man,” she told my mother between pants, “He feels the thing with Faith isn’t a big deal. He says young people will always make mistakes. The swine!” She cursed him viciously. “One of these days he’s gonna get AIDS and die!”
But the swine did what she asked and sent a copy of Faith’s birth certificate from an American hospital. There was absolutely no doubt that Faith had actually not yet turned fourteen when the affair with Butterfly Zeng began. His mother chewed on her rice fitfully at the dinner table, the muscles of her face twisting hideously. She said she wanted to sue that woman to death!
My mother joked with her softly. "The way you look now, you don’t seem like you’re from America, the so-called Beautiful Country.”
She fixed my mother with a venomous stare. "Women the whole world over are the same. Wouldn’t you be like this if it was Kaka?"
My mother immediately apologized to her. She recognized that her joke had hurt her friend. She said she was sorry, and both women had tears running down their cheeks. My father apologized, too, and said that the whole thing was our family’s fault for not taking better care of Faith. Faith’s mother cried and said it had nothing to do with us. “I know he’s his father's seed, no doubt about it!”
Faith’s mother put pressure on the local government through the embassy. The case became complicated and soul-stirring, with hidden ambiguities that are hard to put into words, involving many people and their hidden feelings or morals. A tabloid reporter learned about the matter through his buddies in the police department and wrote about it, but the editor of the newspaper was invited into the city government the next day for questioning. Thus, there was a lot of speculation about the case, but because the newspaper lacked anything authoritative to publish on a daily basis, it was all just talk.
At school, some teachers and students put Butterfly Zeng’s resignation and Faith’s absence together. Since it was so sensitive a subject, though, no one dared to make presumptuous assertions. At least no one dared to talk to me about it or mention it in my presence.
Days went by without anything seeming to happen. After about a month, Faith’s mother was notified that Butterfly Zeng’s name had been found at a pediatric hospital in a neighboring city. She'd obtained a fake marriage certificate and set up an account there, and had already been hospitalized in anticipation of giving birth.
The police faced a strange and difficult problem. During this period, if the baby was in violation of the One-Child policy, they could force an abortion by an injection that would make the fetus die in the womb. But for an illegitimate child, who could decide whether to kill him or her?
Faith’s mother’s was in a bind. She didn’t have the courage to go see Butterfly Zeng, so she just told the police to bring Faith back to her. She asked my parents to go see the woman and persuade her to abort the child. If she wasn’t willing, she asked my parents to deliver US$50,000 to her to settle the matter. She said she didn’t want to see Butterfly Zeng, that she didn’t have the confidence, but it seemed like she owed the woman something. Only after many years can I understand that Faith’s mother, as a woman, felt sympathy for the woman whose lover she was taking away when she was about to give birth. She had to do it, but she knew deeply how cruel it was, how cold, and that it was a pain worse than death.
She and my mother could both be empathetic toward Butterfly Zeng, as both were women of an age similar to hers.
I heard what a tremendous shock it was to Brother Faith when the police found him. He was furious and tried like crazy to escape, but he lacked the strength and was outnumbered. I’m sure he huffed and puffed and cursed with all his might, not caring about appearances, but not even God would help him!
He was taken away and, because he was acting crazy, the local government was afraid something untoward might happen. They took him directly to the embassy. Except for his mother, no local people were allowed to see him, not even my parents and I. The next day his mother and the appropriate people from embassy escorted him back to the United States.
They were in such a hurry to get going that, the night before when she came to our house to get their things, the embassy car stopped at our gate to wait for her without even turning off its lights. I could see the light flashing in our window as I stood in the living room. She and my mother hugged goodbye, and she hugged me, too, but she didn’t ask if I wanted her to convey a message to my Brother Faith. She was in crisis. She cried and told my mother that Faith would never forgive her.
I didn't know what to say. I stood there mute, watching as the lights outside the window disappeared.
Butterfly Zeng never came back, but I heard that she gave birth to a son. The police closed their file once his mother had taken Faith back to the United States. You can understand that this was actually a private family matter.
Faith wrote a letter asking me to help him find Butterfly and his child. Only in the process of looking for her did I learn that Butterfly Zeng was basically an orphan. She has no relatives or good friends. She and her child had disappeared without a trace.
I am now twenty years old. I've started to understand the things that Brother Faith said were enticing and have started acting in that manner. I don't know if would meet his desires, but often when I face the mirror I'll purse my lips tightly and hold my chin in forcibly. I can still vaguely see that twelve-year-old girl's serious look.
21st Century Chinese Literature Compendium; 2002 Internet Compositions, p. 65
Translated from http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_4dd24878010009uc.html
To get Chinese text by return email, send name of story to email@example.com