An Untitled Scene
It was a windy and moonless night. A female friend of mine asked me to accompany her to that same old place. We boarded a bus to travel from the southwest to the northwest of the city. It was a long journey due to the sheer size of Beijing. During the bus trip she was singularly quiet, not at her usual self. It was until we got off the bus that she disclosed to me we were actually going to visit her ex-husband, saying she missed him a bit. She apparently knew her way well as we followed a winding path that led to a high-rise block, in front of which, out of force of habit, she scanned a veritable jumble of bicycles.
After walking into the lift, she whispered: “I don’t have a clue whether he is in or not.” And immediately after we stepped out of the lift, she said, “Probably not.” I asked her how she knew? She replied, “Can’t see any light coming from under the door.”
The corridor was in pitch darkness. Yet she agilely moved to a door and reached for its knob. After giving it a pull, she said, “Nobody there.” Subsequently she knocked on the door, which was followed by a moment of silence. “No one there,” she repeated. Then I thought I heard her heaving a gentle sigh of relief. She suggested, “Let’s wait for a little while.” “Do you think he knows you might come?” While we sat on the empty goods shelves, she kept looking up at the window. “Nope. For nearly a year we haven’t spoken to each other.”
Bit by bit the wind was biting into our clothes and we began to feel a cold chill. Still nothing seemed to have changed about the window up there. “The window is so high up and we can’t see it clearly from down here. It’s on the cards he is back. Let’s go up there and take another look,” said she.
Still no light could be seen from under the door. Yet still she went up to give the knob a pull. After a pause she pounded on the door, and I saw her large eyes blinking. Our breathing was distinctly audible. She said, “That’s it, I suppose. Let’s get out here.”
We sometimes question what fate is. Maybe this is it.