I have stopped writing. The thought of who is going to comment or what people are going to interpret stops me. Fear of fear, the kind that freezes you.
The discovery of WordPress- a writer’s platform instead of being inspirational has only made me realise how insignificant I am as opposed to all the talented, like minded souls here. I, therefore, mostly continue with my mental notes and struggle with the thoughts that are bursting for a release, characters asking to be heard until they move out on their own accord…immortalised.
I somehow never ever see her at the train station, or getting on the bus somewhere along the way but she has an uncanny way of appearing just as I get off the bus to walk home. A small lady, bright in yellow, a backpack and one word communication.
The first time we met, she seemed a little disappointed when her “Ni Hou” didn’t magically make me remember my non existent foreign language skills. But despite that, the four minutes of mono syllabic answers was enough to get over the basics of name, country and house number. Just ask we realised that we were neighbours and only a few seconds to a safe escape, she started frantically gesturing, waving, pointing to her stomach and arms, literally. And while I was already thinking of possible polite excuses to refuse her invitation to go to her house, she was going through her interesting looking bag .
A couple of yellow smiles later, I was handed triumphant nods and flyers. And a card which I’m pleased to say were in characters which I hadn’t mastered yet.
At that moment, language crossed barriers of mere words or sounds. She understood nothing I guess or actually she did that I seemed to be a prime candidate for her, a new business prospect. Armed with a handful of the goodies, and ‘call me’ I was home and so were the flyers. The characters were as Greek to me as they were Chinese.
The next day, I once again found myself walking alongside her. Exhausted, a little wiser, I was less communicative but that didn’t deter her. She, it seems, was intent on what she wanted. More flyers, and another card- this time in English. Ginseng. Well if that wasn’t her name, it was definitely what she was selling.
The next time I was very clever. I spotted the yellow bee getting off from the rear end of the bus. I pretended I was on the phone (it was on silent in case I got caught), and with the brightest smile, casual wave as if I was going somewhere else, I hid. I don’t exactly live in a very green neighbourhood, so I had to make do with whatever little tree, trailer, lamp post I could find. I tip-toed, and followed her from a safe hidden distance until I saw her disappear.
In what I thought was a smart move, I refused to even acknowledge her the following day- instead of hiding, I walked ahead. The fastest I could or the fastest I ever had, afraid to look back, hearing the persistent footstep on the cobbled street. I almost ran into my house and heart pounding, breathless, I anticipated the door to ring. I’ve never been so happy that I live in a country where one cannot knock on anyone’s door without prior intimation or permission.
This has been going on for a few weeks now. I sometimes lead, or follow or even pretend she doesn’t exist but the yellow never fades. I take the earlier bus, the later one but no matter what I am stalked. I am afraid, afraid that she will make me thin with all the hide and seek and Ginseng. The fear is a game, the escape – a destination.
She is like a ghost. What bothers me is that I absolutely do not see her at the bus stop, nor do I see her getting on the bus along the route but she appears just as my overworked mind heads off on the last four minutes walk home. It’s a story my friends and work love to hear about. My house mate, Emiko, even took the bus with me one day hoping to meet her but she wasn’t there that day.
Sometimes I wonder if she isn’t real, a figment of my over-active, unexpressed mind, a character of the imagination. But the cards look real and the flyers do too. I have decided that the next time I see her, I will stop, talk to her, take a picture or even buy the stuff- anything that will free the truth and leave me alone.
Yellow is a strong, visible colours as opposed to the white. She haunts, follows me- I run.