love and other stories

look how far the sun fell

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'I came to Shanghai to find a lover who had left for bigger things. We were very much in love but there just wasn’t enough in Meixian. He was very ambitious.’

'And that was thirty years ago?’ Where was I thirty years ago? Just arrived in Shanghai? Yasi felt the drag of something heavy, a cramp of sorts within the lightness of his being, and it made him dig his nails into his palms, just to check if he had somehow returned to the world of the living. There was no pain. 


Mei’s chin dipped into the space between her huddled arms, her smile framed within the closing space to reveal a doleful grace nursed by time. Time as a cure, burying as it could, all the silent bereavements. The fair skin between her dress and slippers seemed to stretch and grow with her new position, enveloping those eyes of opal, the doll-like face, her lovely being. Mei was now an inviting snowscape and Yasi would make the first angel in her snow.
Yasi could hear three distinct voices coming from the bathroom. It was the end of a curious sleep where he had been nursed by a brilliant blanket of light. The white sun on the ceiling eased into something fluorescent and he felt his naked body gently falling away from it to settle on the soft bed.The sheets felt damp but not unpleasant and Yasi noticed just how sweaty he was.He stood up and found a worn bathrobe to put on.   The familiar curtains were drawn, hiding the supreme Shanghainese skyline.Sheltered from the night, the cosy glow of the room seemed especially glorious and Yasi wandered towards the voices.He felt, in each deft step, a clarity which reminded him of spring ambles in the old countryside.
Yasi looked at her and marveled at how deceptive appearances could be.The pang of sadness lingered but at least he could laugh a little now. ‘Come, let’s leave your body alone.’ She offered her hand and guided the bemused new spirit back into the room.‘Could I ask you about why you…how did you die?’‘You mean how I got rid of the old well?’ She smiled and a bittersweet sorrow sought refuge in Yasi’s willing heart.
He wanted to glance at the mirror to compare his present self to the cadaver but the able-bodied young man stopped him. ‘It’s bad luck to see a dead body in the mirror. Another death might happen in your family. No more reflections from now on, old brother. ’Thus, he could not see what he had become but the feeling of lightness made up for it. In fact, the lightness was really more of an expanding relief

You can read the full story by Sihan Tan in the Kyoto Journal.