发布者:  时间:2021-05-29 12:41:41  浏览:


Rolling over, Nancy woke from a dream with a start, rubbing her shadowed eyes and murmuring to herself, “Why so early?”

Having lived such a pattern for many years, Nancy didn't need a clock to wake her up, but recently she didn't know why she always woke up so early. The streaks of gray in her hair, the gaunt face, slowly blurred as her breath clung to the mirror. Today was her birthday. She took off her spectacles, staring unfocusedly at the surroundings. Her girlish dreams, hopes, and aspirations had all been crushed by grim reality, now long dead. Not only that, her husband had passed away, and she hadn’t seen her son for many years.

Suddenly a voice boomed out from downstairs. “What are you doing now? We are late,” roared Leo, her co-worker, who took her to work on a bike to the campus every day.

This dragged Nancy back to reality. Anyway, she was used to it. From a newspaper, she knew today was going to snow. Nancy was delighted. In her city, snow was uncommon. It was like a present to her. Nancy took a chest out of her closet and opened it; there was a pair of deerskin gloves on red eiderdown given to her by her husband, a precious memory. She brushed them off and put them on. After going through a mental checklist, she locked the door.

In the student canteen, she ran a dumpling shop. Before lunch, she committed all of her time on preparing. During lunchtime, Nancy always shouted “Dumplings! Dumplings!” to draw the students’ attention. Apart from that, Nancy often observed the students in the canteen. The canteen seemed to be a stage, and she was the only spectator. Students and were all acting on the stage. The manuscripts, actors, plots were changing all the time, but it was as if all of them were stuck within a loop. Different people were doing similar, but not identical, things during a certain span of time, with unexpected things occurring. It was hard to explain but it was like a magical world or a fairy tale. Boundaries between reality and illusion became vague. This made her feel excited. Simultaneously, in the deep, locked part of her heart, it was a way to ease the pain. No one outside of the hospitality industry could understand the agony of years of repeating the same things, repeating saying nearly the same words, and having few people to talk to at work or after work.

Nancy proceeded to observe and her eyes were focused on some students. She remembered them. They were always on their phones playing games and sat in the canteen for a long time, idling the days away. She smiled scornfully. It reminded her that the inventor of the clock taught people the concept of time, but failed in teaching them the value of time. However, she didn't know whether she should admire them or not. They still had plenty of time and choices. After a pause, Nancy turned her head and a familiar figure came into her vision. A student in red who was a regular visitor to her shop walked towards her. He always ordered the same items. Therefore, Nancy said “Same as usual?”

The youngster replied, “You bet.”

Before the dish was served, the young man felt an urge to say something, so he asked, “When you have your dinner?”

Nancy hesitated for a second because it was the first time that someone instead of her coworkers or relatives inquired about her life. Also, it was a rare chance for her to talk about something new.

Nancy tried to repress her excitement and replied, “About nine o'clock. I go home, have dinner, and then have a nightcap.”

“How about lunch time?” He pursued.

“After three o'clock.”

“That’s a really a busy day.”

The words were simple but stirred her heart. Mrs. Nancy stood sideways and lifted her head. Two points of light quivered in her eyes; she smiled but didn't say anything. Complex feelings stroke her chest, nearly bursting out. From very early morning to night, she had little time to have a rest or even to eat, repeating and repeating. This was her life.

Suddenly, a dish of dumplings with hot steam was sent to the student and seemed to rescue her.

On her way home, it was snowing. It was such a fabulous spectacle; under the street lights, countless snowflakes were falling down, like dozens of meteorites streaking across the sky. Some snowflakes, carried by the wind, rose and fell, like dancers following their inner hearts and trying to give the audience the best show. However, Nancy did not stop to appreciate it.

At home, she sat at the table. There was a bottle of liquor by her side. She sipped it. Her eyes filled with tears. Something locked deeply in her heart burst out. “Why I can't have a better life although I work so hard? Why didn’t I have a happy childhood. Why I am not as lucky as others.” Then she staggered to the window and opened it, catching a snowflake and watching it melt…

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