Ling Yao and Ran Fang didn't meet under nice smiles and fake bows.
It's a game we played,a game also played back a long long time,between man and man,or occasionally,man and animal.Your deep brown eyes glare at me,slightly watering from the strain of keeping them open.You finger a talisman,which is looped around your wrist and stares at me ferociously again.
I smile and watch out of my slitted eyes.This is an interesting game.It is fun.I smile again.It is late in the day,sun-high already and burning hot,the sweat trickling down both of our backs.I would not be surprised if our cheeks were bright red,we would get sunburn later.I smile,a bit sadly.I hate injuries.They hurt a lot.
You finger your talisman again.Shards of a broken clay pot lay close to us,water seeping into the ground.Drip drip drip.The leaves are shaking in the breeze on the old tree.Swish swish swish.I adjusted my weight to my other foot.It is hurting a lot when I move,I have a leg cramp.I utter a soft sigh,how troublesome.
I watch out of slitted eyes and smile again.I always smile.And I always watch.Even though people never seem to understand how I see, my eyes were so slitty.Pa and Ma and Grampa always said, keep your eyes keen and your blade will be sharp.I do not understand.But I pretend to.They get angry when I don't understand.So I smile at them, through my slitted eyes.
The breeze stirred a bit, growing a bit stronger.I feel my coat sleeves flap.a bird-sparrow-shrilled out a lonely song.You scowl.I wish you would smile a bit.Smiling is good.Actually, I don't understand many many things.Why won't people smile? It takes your mind off sad things.And why do people try to hurt me? I woke up once in the dead of the night with a knife over my throat.
It is late.We have squatted here since sun-high, never moving,always looking.I can clearly imagine the scene in the House.Women wailing,men grumbling.Has he been assasinated?My dear tender glass boy,where is he?My mother would shriek in that melodious voice of hers.And my Grampa would puff on his pipe and glare.
You look tired.I am tired.Both are tired.Grumble.I rub my stomach.I am so hungry.I have a big appetie and I would willingly give up this game. "Can I forfeit?" I asked. "No!" You cried, face scandalized. "You cannot forfeit! I am a girl, you are a boy, I can stand it, and you cannot! It is-it is not fitting!"
I shrug. Sweat slid down in huge beads down my face. I remember when we met and started our game. I had bumped into you and caused you to drop your pot full of water. I have tried to comfort you, saying that I would buy a new pot. You had instead screamed at me in full volume. "NO! We would have a match, a staring match!"
I have a good imagination. And Grampa doesn't like it. I had got slapped once when I told them, a dreamy smile on my face, of a cat who had once talked to me. It was just my normal tabby, but I loved it. I gave it a speech. I gave it a tongue of it own. We spoke long hours under a tree shade.Grampa had shouted at me. "It is not fitting for a future king of Xing to daydream about frivolous things!"
I could have stood up and left a long long time ago. I could have told you. "I am the 12th prince of Xing, Ling Yao of the Ling clan." You would have bowed, but glared at me still. I have a good imagination. I had dreamed of meeting a person who is not a porcelain doll lady, nor a whining, scraping servant.
I smile. This is a good game.