Zongzhen hesitated, swallowed hard, and forced the words out: "My wife–she doesn't understand me at all." Cuiyuan looked at him, and frowned to show her sympathy. "I don't know why, every evening when the time rolls around, I go home. What home? I don't really have a home." He removed his glasses, held them up to the light, wiped off the moisture with his handkerchief. Another little cough. "So–I just have to keep going on, and try not to think about it. I can't start thinking about it!" Cuiyuan always felt a certain revulsion when a nearsighted person removed his glasses in front of others. It was indecent, like taking off your clothes in public. "You–you have no idea what this woman is like!" Zongzhen continued. "Then why, back then, did you . . . ?" "And then she changed into this kind of person. She even got into a huge fight with my mother, who turned around and blamed me for marrying her! She has such a temper. . . she didn't even make it through elementary school." Cuiyuan couldn't help saying, with a tiny smile, "You seem to think that diplomas matter a lot! Education doesn't make that much difference–for a woman." She didn't know why she "Well of course, you can laugh about it because you've been to college. You don't know what kind of–" He stopped, breathing hard, and took off the glasses he had just put back on. "It can't be that bad, now can it?" Cuiyuan said. Zongzhen made a jerky, awkward gesture with the glasses in his hand. "You don't know what kind of–" Cuiyuan responded quickly: "I know, I know." She knew that if he and his wife didn't get along, it couldn't be only his wife's fault. He too was a person of limited intellect. What he wanted was a woman who'd forgive him and accept him for what he was. The street erupted in noise as two trucks full of soldiers rumbled by. Cuiyuan and Zongzhen stuck their heads out to see what was going on; to their surprise, their faces were drawn into sudden proximity. Seen near up, anyone's face is somehow different–tension-charged like a close-up on the movie screen. Zongzhen and Cuiyuan suddenly felt they were seeing 7/10
each other for the first time. To his eyes, her face was the spare, simple peony of a watercolor sketch, and the strands of hair fluttering at her temples were pistils ruffled by a breeze. Zongzhen had never thought he could make a woman blush, make her smile, make her turn man. love changes her ways and doesn't want to talk. She knows, without even knowing that she Zongzhen was sure that Cuiyuan was a lovely woman–pale, wispy, warm, like breath in winter. You don't want her, and quietly she drifts away. Being part of you, she understands everything, forgives everything. You tell the truth, and her heart aches for you; you tell a lie, and she smiles as if to say, "Go on–you're just pulling my leg!" Cuiyuan quickly assumed an air of shocked surprise. "You want to divorce your wife? You can't do that, can you?" "I can't get a divorce. I have to consider my children's happiness. My oldest daughter is thirteen this year and she's just passed the secondary school entrance exam, with a good score too." "What's that got to do with it?" Cuiyuan thought.
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- Fall '11
- Lu Zongzhen, umbrella Cuiyuan