‘Eat. Pray. Love.’
At the moment, I’m just about finding time to do the first of these three things. On top of that, I really need to add read in there somewhere. But I’m not particularly sure where it fits…yet.
Time. It’s something that we all have, and yet all lack. Everyone – and I mean everyone – is obsessed with ‘convenience’, getting things done ‘quickly’, reading something ‘short’, so as to add even more things to that endless ‘To-Do List’. So let’s face it: the idea of reading any Proust is a distant dream right now.
At the end of the day, you need to make time, dedicate time to those things that matter to you, otherwise you’ll just get lost in that labyrinth of unending normality and boredom.
…and this is my long-winded entry into the second episode my web-serial, The Red Thread.
I hope that you are all enjoying it so far. Even for me, the story feels a bit slow, but I really want the characters to come alive, and for us to relate to them. As time goes by, you (should!) enjoy things a lot more!
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I promise to be more online from now on!
~ THE RED THREAD ~
The next time I saw Yue was when both Emilia and I had finally shifted into our new place near the university and the hospital. Emilia had called Yue over for lunch, after he himself moved into college accommodation. It was now a week before term officially started. The doorbell rang, and Emilia, in the middle of frying spring rolls, ran to answer it leaving me to deal with the vat of scolding oil. A laugh that I was not yet accustomed to – nor thought I would ever become accustomed to – sounded in the hallway.
“I have to share that bathroom with seven other people. Talk about gross,” Yue laughed, though seeming to mock Emilia for her own reservations about communal accommodation. As he saw me, he smirked. “Mei,” he greeted me with a wink. I just bowed my head in response, then pretending to concentrate on the spring rolls. Seriously, this guy. So annoying. “How you liking your new place?”
“It’s good. Convenient. Spacious,” I told him.
“No’…fo’…lon…” I heard him mumble something, but didn’t catch the end of it.
“Oh, nothing at all,” he answered in that handsome, pretentious voice of his, with a massive grin.
“You know what, Yue? Living with Mei is so great! Though her timings could be a bit tighter…she makes so much Japanese food for me!” Em held her hands together dreamily: “God bless Grandma Shinenaga for teaching you the recipes! Such a great woman!”
“You’ve met her then?” Yue asked.
“Yah! I’m tight with all the Shinenagas! Known them since the beginning of uni!”
“My family love you too much, Em,” I commented robotically, then moving my attention to the pan of yakisoba noodles that I had just set on the stove. I wasn’t in the mood for Yue.
“Sounds like your family is close, Mei,” acknowledged Yue, this time appearing to be sincere. “My Dad is travelling so much that we hardly see each other, and my Mum…well, Dragon-Mom is all I can say,” he chuckled. “And my older sister…well, she’s married off to some rich hotel tycoon in Hong Kong, so we hardly see her.”
“God, yah! I can’t believe you didn’t invite me to the wedding, Yue!” Emilia punched his arm, causing him to flinch.
“It was in Hong Kong! There was no way you would deal with the heat in July…!” he laughed.
There was another ring at the door.
“Who could that be?” Emilia made her way to the door.
“It’s probably Mrs Emria. She left her hearing-aid here when they came over.”
“How old is this woman that she needs a hearing-aid?” Yue asked, leaning against the kitchen counter.
“Seventy-five,” I told him. Perhaps I could give him the benefit of a doubt? “It was hell of a party. The police got called in and everything. So rowdy…” At first, he was stunned, but he then burst out into a sudden fit of laughter.
“You have a sense of humour! Good! I was worried!” Maybe this guy wasn’t that bad…?
“Mei! We have enough for one more, right?!” Emilia shouted from the door.
“Yah, I suppose so. Why?”
“Oh…I may have failed to tell you…” Yue began, but by then, another guest was already in the doorway of the kitchen, behind Emilia. Had I not turned off the stove at that moment, everything would have burnt. I was immediately…I don’t know…‘caught of guard’ by him. He…was beyond…just…no words. “…that Tristan was also coming,” Yue finished as I crossed gazes with the new guest.
I wiped my hands on a rag, and waited for an introduction…from either of them. There was silence. Seriously?
“Hi! Tristan, right?” I went forward and offered my hand. “Mei.” He looked at my hand, and then back at me.
“You too,” he said, with absolute uncertainty, but finally taking my hand.
“Did I mention about Tristan coming?” Yue asked again.
“No…you didn’t…” Emilia said through her teeth. “Yue, come with me to the dining-room.”
“Fine, fine,” Yue said, resting his hands behind his head, and turning his attention to Tristan: “Any luck?” A grunt of denial was the response from Tristan to his question. Emilia looked at me, wide-eyed. She had no idea about this…nor was she particularly happy about it…or was she just nervous? I mean…I couldn’t blame her. Tristan…was just…ah…cabbage, slice…tomato…
Within minutes, everything was on the table, swiftly served, Emilia helping me with the glasses and plates and cutlery. Yue demanded for chopsticks, so we had to oblige, and Tristan said nothing as we told him what everything on the table was.
“Don’t think I’ve ever had homemade Japanese food,” he told us.
“There’s a first for everything,” Yue said.
“Like visiting someone’s house…” Emilia mumbled.
“Em!” I scolded her. I turned to Tristan with the least un-awkward smile I could conjure. “Don’t worry, you’re more than welcome here. After all, you’ve known Em for so long.”
“Uh…thanks,” he answered, though slightly uncertain. He then turned to Yue. “You haven’t asked them yet, have you?”
“Ask what?” Emilia quickly asked. Yue awkwardly smiled, turning his gazes away, eyes still on the noodles as he tried to serve himself with the serving-chopsticks.
“Mei, this looks really good,” he complimented me. Tristan lifted his hand, and held the back of Yue’s neck whilst smiling at us, and then tightened his grip. “Okay, okay! You came too early!”
“What do you need to ask, Tristan?” Emilia urged. What was he going to ask…? I watched Tristan and Yue, as they both looked at each other. Tristan finally sighed, on the verge of speaking, before Yue chipped in:
“Tristan left me in-charge of getting his accommodation sorted, which I sorted out…but then, I’m kinda seeing someone, who’s gonna be living with me…so I kicked him out…” he explained to us quickly. “Are these vegetarian?” he tried to deflect the question, pointing at the spring-rolls with his chopsticks.
“You being serious?! You kicked him out?” Emilia aimed her glance at Yue, before turning her sympathies to Tristan: “So, what are you doing right now?”
“Sharing with Yue, until his frigging girlfriend arrives in three days…”
“But if college finds out that I have another person living with me, they’ll kick him out…and then he’ll be on the streets…with all his luggage…and nowhere to go,” Yue started saying rather dramatically. “Well, either that, or…”
“So…Emilia…” Tristan began, but at this, Emilia raised her palm to them both, already frustrated.
“Stop.” She sighed deeply, and then glanced at Yue, who had started eating his noodles: “You and your girls…” Yue chuckled. Emilia turned to me: “What do you think?”
This was seriously quick. Now what? We had the space…but…having this guy around…
“Emilia, you’ve known me for years.”
“Exactly! That’s why I have to ask Mei!” Emilia quickly rebuked him. She gazed at me. This was really my decision. I turned to Tristan: his green eyes soft, and those chiselled features, and just…this was definitely against my better judgement. I nodded with a sigh.
“Okay, you can move in,” I told him. At this, he finally cracked a proper smile. “Bring your stuff whenever. We’re around.” I turned to Emilia who nodded her head in concession, and Yue sighed in relief.
“Great! Now I won’t get disturbed!” he said, slouching on the chair. Emilia glanced at him. “Sorry…apparently, I’m loud,” Yue laughed. “Right, Tristan?”
“I don’t even wanna know,” Emilia quickly cut in, serving herself some spring-rolls.
We ate lunch, and the two of them left quickly afterwards. As they did, Emilia and I watched them from the door as they opened the gate, and I watched as Yue made a joke and laughed whilst Tristan pulled out a cigarette and lit it on walking out onto the street. Forget Yue. This Tristan guy was beyond attractive. Yet something about him was so unnerving. Maybe it was the way that he hesitated when I shook his hand, or the precision with which he pulled out the cigarette and lit it, or maybe even that smile when I said he could move in. Aura? Was that what it was called? Was it an aura? A manipulative one? Was that the word? Or was he just adaptable?
“So much for the ‘Red Thread’…!” Emilia sighed, standing behind me. “With Tristan around, we won’t ever think anyone’s good-looking enough for us. So sad…”
She went back inside, and started washing up, whilst I remained standing at the door, gazing at the gate that was still unlatched. Whatever the case – destiny or chance – a feeling of uneasiness had overcome me. The birds were still chirping, and cars drove past slowly, people walked up and down this quiet street. Normality would soon be broken.