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A Cloudy Day

发布者:  时间:2021-05-29 12:40:31  浏览:

A Cloudy Day

Cecilia  石佳  190111019

The wind is turning cool; the weather in Autumn is like a middle-aged woman, irritable, mercurial, and with little bit bitterness. It is midday; the sky is filled with gray yet is still dazzling; the sun is extinguished by the clouds, leaving only a faint outline behind and my thoughts sink along with it.

I listen to the noise of dying leaves, like a paper ball rolling on the ground; they wither, shrink, and contract until they are eventually crushed. This moment reminds me of another Autumn in my life.


I do not remember her name. I only knew that she was Lily’s mother. Lily was my best friend in my childhood. The weather that day was exactly as today in that early Autumn afternoon, when the sun had lost all its vitality and was willingly buried behind the clouds in a dim glow. We sat in a shallow river; through Lily’s shoulder, I saw her mother and a man were not far behind us.


When I was in kindergarten, I was forced to wear a boyish brush-like cut, and thus, for a long time I looked like a boy. However, my heart was still longing to be a girl. Hence Lily, who was outgoing and passionate about dance, appeared and attracted me the most. Maybe it was the time with her that made me feel I was a girl once more. For me, who grew up in the garage of dead vehicles, that was a rare girly and delicate time. Fortunately, Lily liked me as well. Thus, we two “best friends forever” stuck together in kindergarten, even on weekends.


Every time I went to her house, her mother was always friendly and kind to me, differing from other aunts who had deemed me was too naughty to look after. She always treated me gently and patiently, whether it was out of politeness to guests or genuine affection. To some extent, I thought I like her.

Gradually, I became fond of visiting Lily and staying with her, spending almost all of my weekends at her house. Always there were only the mother and daughter at home. According to Lily, her father was a truck driver. I only saw him in my parents’ automobile parts store amd once while visiting their house. At that time, I envied Lily because her mother was always by her side, dressing her in gorgeous dresses and primping her with lace hairpins which sometimes even had some curly wig on them; Although, usually the way her mother treated her was very much different from my mother’s softness.


It was 2005, the Internet had just come to China. How could a child know much about the things in their environment while they’re playing and remember it for a dozen years? Adults all around the world would think the answer was, hardly any. However, I have a good memory.  They had their own computer, which was kept in her room. While we were playing with Barbie dolls on Lily's bed, her mother often sat nearby and chatted online. All cubs have a strong sense of curiosity. We leaned over the back of chair which her mother was seated, trying to figure out what this stuff could provide and why such a rare smile could hang on her face for such a long time.

It turned out to be a chat room, and she was chatting with a person whose avatar was male; the incessant message tones drew our attention from making-believe games, and we started to peek at what she was typing to the guy behind the other side of the screen. AT first, her mother didn't mind our peeking, perhaps because she didn't think we had the capacity to understand it at all. The conversations between these adults were direct and full of surges of hormone, and several words conveyed quite strong affections or sometimes even some erotic gifs. I then saw her face turn to a combination of shyness and sulking, just like a weasel who hunted for chickens would come back to the farm every time after being frightened away. Even when she was flirting with a man, she still remained the reserved East-Asia woman that she was supposed to be. We were children. How could we understand such things?

However, when we started to draw her attention and comment on the messages from the man, we lost the right of staying in the Lily’s bedroom when she needed to chat online. Whatever. Her mother looked happier, so we could accept this kind of compromise from her mother. After all, we were not interested in adult affairs.


As time went by day by day, I found that her mother’s usual friend had been replaced by a man, maybe I could assert that it was The Man. They always kept a distance from us, about five-step away; her mother looked pleased and satisfied, I where had that her mother’s long-haired minority girlfriend, who was always by her side, had been, so I asked Lily. She said that auntie was a bitch, because that woman had called her mom “Slut” and spat on their door. I entirely empathized with that, and repeated, yes, how bitchy the bitch was! Luckily, adults didn’t hear our dirty words.

I didn’t know this man; he was her mother’s friend. My attention and pleasure were all drawn by Lily. Although sometimes I found that The Man would appear in their house, I didn’t feel anything about that because friends would visit each other, which was the most natural thing to me and Lily.

They preferred to be alone with each other, and so did we. Besides, a nice and polite child should not act as a bad guest, so I didn’t.

However, it was hard to resist when Lily invited me to her parents’ bedroom when her mother was out; girls are keen on make-ups and heels. We sat on her parents’ soft and pure scarlet bed, trying on her mother’s heels. Lily reached for an odd kind of clothing that we had never seen before, a tight hollowed-out red swimming suit with lace. She lifted it up and showed it to me; it was too novel to attract us, so Lily put it back in its original place. We went out the room and watched cartoons soon after that.


They met frequently, sometimes at parks, sometimes at suburbs, but not in Lily’s house anymore; Lily said her father disapproved of their contact. I was confused but that’s none of my business. On that day, The Man had recommended to her mother having picnic on outskirts of town. It was a cloudy day. It seemed that her mother’s face had gathered all of the sunshine from the sky; she was happy and played the woman for him. We girls were bored from just sitting around, so we went further ahead to catch some worms for fun. The thick flocks of clouds still kept a little space for some specks of light to breathe in, and for some scant raindrops as well. A drop dripped on my head; I looked up and saw from the distance that the man had encircled her mother’s waist, and they were talking nose to nose. I had an instant of enlightenment, maybe it was the kind of intimacy that dramas had performed and eulogized.  

After we had badgered them for a long time, the adults eventually allowed us to dabble; we took off our dresses and sat on the slippery and flat riverbed, arm in arm, playing merrily. However, I glimpsed backwards that they had done as the same as us, Except for her mother’s bra. It rained; raindrops fell from the clouds with sunshine. Lily and I lowered ourselves into water to catch warmth and hugged each other; the other two best friends did so as well.



I don’t remember most of it well from then on. Lily moved to our street with her mother; her mother ran a hostel on the corner of our alley. I was extremely happy about that. But I never saw her father a single time. Lily said only they two had moved there. Almost every time I went to their hostel, I would meet The Man. He looked totally different; whatever, I didn’t care about it. Lily and I were always fond of staying with each other. Only when there were customers, we had to inform her mother; otherwise, we wouldn’t go upstairs to the third floor. Her mother and The Man disliked to be disturbed.


One day, we were chatting in the room on the fourth floor. at first there were some noises of rubbing and the jingles of keys, which were common when men walked by. There were talking sound that suddenly changed into the noises of a brawl and cursing; we clearly heard something being broken and scattered. Lily and I were frightened; we sat still and held our breath, waiting for the next tide of quarrel. We heard her father, very angry, and her mother’s voice, filled with resentment; they wrangled as if there was a river whose name was indelible hatred between them, As we decided to pluck up the courage to go downstairs, we saw her father still holding his fist, her mother leaning on the couch, the wash sink totally broken, the scattered jets of water soaked the yellowish wall and tiles, and the air was too thin to bear nothing but embarrassment and discomfiture. He left. We remained in a silence until her mother scolded us both and went upstairs, crying alone and loudly. We didn’t speak a word. We could only react by escaping from this dilemma.


He never came back and she never went back. I stayed in touch with Lily until we were separated completely because of different primary schools.

I heard they got divorced. I heard there was an accident at her hostel. I heard the hostel was closed. I heard she scurried around for some odd jobs.

Ten years later, my mother met her in the street. She looked haggard and worn; time had left its trace on her face. She was still smiling when she saw my mother and asked about me.


When people hesitate, time always passes away as if a stream flows on unceasingly; making decisions makes people fretful in that no matter what the result is, they teel that they are asking for it. Towards the right or left, whether red light or green light, the most genuine wishes are always against rationality and morality; we have no capability of being virtuous and noble thoroughly from beginning to the end. We are reluctant to give up the opportunity to be satisfied. Those vulgar and cheerful secrets are just like waves beating against a dyke or blades of leaves cutting skin.

I stare at her and wonder whether she stepped on life or had been stepped on by life. I even can't say whether she felt that day had been worth it or not. All I can say is that today will not be the last of this kind of weather.


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