夏日的夜

以前没有空调的时候,夏夜里,总是吹一整夜的风扇,时间久了,很容易感冒。也因此羡慕表弟家有空调—那还是两千年刚刚过的时候。

图、文:楼林

以前没有空调的时候,夏夜里,总是吹一整夜的风扇,时间久了,很容易感冒。也因此羡慕表弟家有空调—那还是两千年刚刚过的时候。

上大学后,学校的宿舍没有空调,武汉的夏夜闷热异常,简直无法入眠,因此有人去网吧开包间睡觉—因为有空调,也不怕不卫生,有传染疾病的风险。有一天实在是静谧的晚夜,窗外是南风,有室友二人结伴到顶楼的露台去睡觉—因为凉快,他们就睡在地上。青年好像就这么能够折腾,心里反而很觉得幸福,因为是自己做主,不怕有家长说不能睡在地上,会感冒。头一次有主人翁的意识。

后来有一个室友很快就从露台上退了下来。“蚊子太多了。”他说。

后来学校安装了空调。但一百元的电费,只开了两晚的空调,就用完了,要去充电费。“这怎么在收费,这么快。”舍友惊讶道。不节能的空调确实很耗电。因此再热也只能省着点开。

在长江北,夏日蒸发旺盛,空气黏稠又闷热,不禁同奶奶说:“这里的夏天太闷热了。” “夏天就是穿衣服方便。”

过冬天的时候,盼着夏天早些来。夏天来的时候,我在静夜里,想起过去来。

Somewhere

Standing before a souvenir store in the palace museum, though the postcards depicting palaces Chinese imperial members lived in a stately air were still sold hanging on the stock stall, I was no longer interested in buying them, instead, I had watched those cards for a while and then gone.

by Tome Loulin

“Tome Loulin, you seem like coming back from beach after vacation.” A female colleague had teased me saying, referring my wearing: a training tank top and a very short short. Though a bit embarrassed but trying not to be seemed so, I smiled to her but said nothing. That was a summer and the sunlight very strong. Because of our good quarterly performances in sales, we got a group-vacation as a reward. Current-drifting was proposed as the recreational program and permitted.

While in the bus on the way to the valley where the drifting program is located, a male guide bragged that he was honored as the king of karaoke because of his good voice but everyone in the bus said nothing in response. He was not at all feeling embarrassed, instead, he was a bit excited and almost shouted to us, saying: “ you don’t believe me? How about letting me sing some songs I am good at to you?” “No, thanks, we’d love to sleep.” Some tourist in the bus had replied to him suddenly. But he had sung the songs he liked anyway.
After hearing his singing, a few had thanked him for his performance out of politeness then he had sat down and become quiet.

While a young woman was ready to speak and to raise her body, another older one had interrupted her saying: “ this girl is newly recruited by our company to work as a guide and she will read aloud some safety guides to you. Should there be any inconvenience occurred later, I would beg for your pardon.” Then in the bus was a silence and the young woman started reading: “If there were anyone in our tour group having encountered any emergency, please let us know.” The way the word emergency was read by her in Mandarin was like emergen-seex in English. It may be due to a sudden change of lines on her draft. Three women seating in front of me had burst into laughters. But unaffected, the young girl resumed reading. The bus was ascending on the highway. Outside of the window were mountains green-covered in a row.

After arriving at the valley, I said to my colleagues that due to my own concerns, I hope myself to remain on the land and to simply watch them drifting in the currents. But they had already bought my ticket days ago so they insisted me to join them together, otherwise, it would be a waste of money.

Before hearing that we would go to Yichang, the city where three gorges dam was located, to drift in the river currents, I had searched on the internet for information about that game. Only until I was utterly shocked by the information I got, which were overwhelmingly negative, depicting it as a risky game for inexperienced people to play and so on, had I stopped browsing.

Though that day is a brilliant and hot summer day but the water in the valley where we prepared to drift was as chilling as ice. With wave after wave hitting our body while we were on our course forward, I was much more concerned about the rocks in that small river so that every time when there was a descending, we bend our heads as low as to our thighs in order to protect our heads.

The whole course lasted about hours. And after I landed, finishing the journey, I felt extremely grateful that this had ended but some colleagues seemed unsatisfied and there was a female one said to us that she planned to go back drifting with her friends the next day.

The year I graduated from university was a year of endless traveling. Classmates had invited me to go to an amusement park in Wuhan which I rarely knew to play for the purpose of honoring our graduation.

While waiting in a line snaked about almost hundreds meters long to ride the roller coaster of which I was scared. But anyway, the ticket had been already bought so I had better not waste the money I spent, a classmate persuaded me saying.

Seeing people in front of me both excited and scared, I felt it was normal to be that way because I felt the same. But they my classmate said that it was better to have tried than never. If not now, when?

Media in China had previously criticized a phenomenon that most of the tourists in China had embossed their names on the walls of famous attractions, turning those in cultural ruins. That was almost a decade ago when selfies were not much prevalent and people’s urge to create proofs to show they had been to such places was strong. Now with the advancement of photography, those who want to have some thing to prove their existence no longer need to use such ways to show their travel histories. Souvenirs were no longer sophisticated things to them.

I had watched Palace Museum photographs on the postcards, alway under bright sunny days and seemed solemn. The yellow and dark red tone appeared on the postcards made a nostalgic air in my childhood memories.

Standing before a souvenir store in the palace museum, though the postcards depicting palaces Chinese imperial members lived in a stately air were still sold hanging on the stock stall, I was no longer interested in buying them, instead, I had watched those cards for a while and then gone.

Sending postcards to a close friend or a family member while traveling was once a regardful ritual, a means to show our considerate thoughts and regards to our friends. Now, with the advancement of the Internet, people are having less and less concrete memories relating to their family members and friends.

While during the pandemic, there was a news reporting that the sales of the card of condolence had surged, mainly in use to send people’s deep sympathies to the people they befriended. Receiving a physical thing is no same to a digital one.

Classmates in university had organized a camping. Before that, I had never climbed a mountain and though that experience is as ordinary and simple as it could be, with the passion and curiosity of youth, I had remembered that journey a faith-like one.

Where are we going? I had asked my grandmother while holding her hands walking in a dark night when I was little.

“Somewhere we call home.”

Slouching toward Wherever the Sun Shines

‘Sunshine cleaning’, a movie I watched years ago, presented stories about different women who divorced and tried to restore their savaged lives back to normal with positive thinking and challenge taking traits, and its characters’ willingness to endure and change. For most of us, life may be seen as living with challenges that need to be overcome, and we manage and get through. At that point, every person may be seen as a sort of hero.

the weather, in the Northern Hemisphere is getting much warmer and the sun much brighter and shiner, so shine I feel enlightened, physically. Do you love summer time? Answers may vary but I thought, most people may not dislike sunny days. Sunshine is bright, clean, and loving, and also evokes positive feelings. Looking on the windowsill in my room, full of potted greenies and flowers, which are blossoming progressively like burning kindles. Glistening lights are basking in my room, making it finer and softer. I feel happier staying in sunlit room maybe because that gives people a warmer imagination for our future lives, and strength to overcome the hardships we face.

I’ve always remembered that summer my father took me a tour outside of a elementary school when I was six-year old. His belly bulged and he wore a dark-red T-shirt. Leading the way to that school, on the trail outside the school fence, he turned his face back, facing me, slightly smiled and raised his forearm pointing towards the front-door of the school, saying that he prepared to let me study at that school. I felt his pride while he talking, saw swarms of pupils playing on the playground, crazily, enchantingly. That was summer; the small path we walked outside the school was surrounded by walls of burning ivies and greens. That was an afternoon, the most clear and exhausting one in my memory. “Dad.” I remembered saying and he answered slowly, softly and gently. “That’s a good school.” He said.

After a fierce argument between my parents, my mother had temporarily taken me back to her hometown that year so I didn’t go to that school. Every September when the school year began, I remembered that walk with my father, his gentle tone with his will to enroll me to that school. I didn’t forget though he had never mention that again. But I know as long as summer continues to come I won’t forget that summer when he walked with me beside that school, with water-clean light.

After graduating from university, I had tenanted with one of my schoolmates, in an apartment near a lake in Guanggu, a newly constructed borough in the city of Wuhan. While in university, roommates were eager to find jobs to earn money. “Whatever the job is, I will do; and where there is a job, there is hope.” A roommate joked saying. But if one said he or she doesn’t want to find some work to do then, that won’t be true. They need money to go to restaurants, to buy extra outfits to increase their attractiveness and to show their power. Most of the students I encountered then wanted to work, to improve their living standards.

So hurry was I to find a work to do then that I was lost. I had met a friend, Bee who in his middle thirties, was working as freelance. In his age with an unstable working position, life was fragile and depending on luck. Though getting days by, he loved outings in mountainsides and thus invited me to go outside biking.

We decided to go to Jiangxia, a mountainous suburb in Wuhan, to have our afternoons pasted. We bought transit tickets and rented bikes to go into the forest in the mountain. There were trees and the sun shining sharply, making us sweating like mad. But he loved biking and often turned his face back to me encouraging me to compete with him on the mountain path on which we biked. There were raspberry bushes, whose twigs were full of thrones. Though unwashed, he picked those berries and ate happily, smiling to me. That was summer; there was sunlight. I knew life could be hard. He struggled to find a well-payed job to get him being able to stay in Wuhan. He said he had never thought about buying house in Wuhan, so expensive that he said he would never bother considering. “Do you know where can a person find a well payed job?” He had asked me. Struggling to make my ends meet, I said I didn’t know either. While sitting on the bench in the neighborhood where then I resided, I saw his face darkened, though that was a bright afternoon and the sun was near setting.

He said he always loved days we spent on biking together in Jiangxia’s mountainside because he felt he was alive by our energetic defiance towards money. Though we were both not living high-standardly, we felt happy and that was summer.

There is the light and it has come into my room.

As Happiness Is the Romanticization of Ephemerality

It was afternoon I walked and cycled on the lanes around East Lake. ‘Green lanes’ square-shaped signs showed. Trees and greens were everywhere as well as people cycling around the lake.

Breezing around the lanes, I saw happy faces as well as saddened, serious ones.

I wasn’t alone; I was with my friend.

There was a teen-age girl standing before the rock-made railing gazing at the surface of the lake, apparently saddened by her personal affairs. There was an unspeakable strength of saying nothing at all around her that could be seen by all passing her by. Had not life silenced people’s ability to express their feelings, they might still be willing to dream.Consciously saying nothing when one was obviously overwhelmed by something is a learned behavior. Learned helplessness, they, psychologists, called. Who had taught them that skill of not expressing their feelings? Mom usually says nothing while her eyes are apparently filled with untold uneasiness as though she have gone through a lot. Idling around the room then sitting on the armchair, mostly she was simply sitting, motionless, silent.

“Find something enjoyable to do, that may do you good.”

She will not listen.

Riding bicycles going towards wherever I was aimlessly was what I thought living. “I love to see you smile.” Zon said while sitting astride a bike looking at me, smiling.

I returned that smile and proceeded going into the deep forest in Jiangxia’s green lanes.

“How could a place be beautiful like this.” Zon meant the serenity of the forest we are in. “So serene that it seemed like a miracle.”

A miracle; It truly was, to me and Zon. So tender was to breeze around the trails in the forest on which we rode our cycles as free a experience as no one could ever have that I thought chancing our ability to understand very originality of living is a way to learn what is really worth having.

While resuming to go into the forest deeper, we expect no thing though still feeling fulfilled. Happiness to me seemed to be be that easy to obtain when we just noticed that there was a loquat tree beside the lane on the hillside and picked up some produce it bore to taste then that we didn’t realize it was such precious a thing to be cherished.

Before night people riding bicycles on a bridge over East Lake.

The loquat fruits we picked weren’t much tasty but they were everywhere; other tourists were idling picking those too. No one had said anything; they were eating, searching there for the next source of matured loquat fruit which could be much easier picked. Some seemingly delicious produce those trees bore were on the boughs too affluent to ignore and too high to be picked, about which we feel pitied.

So ephemeral was our trying to remember those sparkling bits in our lives in which we found our consolation when feeling hurt that we didn’t realize just that suddenly a moment we no longer knew what that very happiness was felt like.

Cool winds before night at that time in the forest of Jiangxia flowing through us made us aware again about our very nature of originality.

It had occurred to me that the less we expected about what we might be encountering around next corner of the mountainside, the more meaningful experience we might gain.

On the way home, seeing our shadows first, riding on the bikes, we felt thankful that we were on the right side of the lane at the right time as profound a feeling as a person could never imagine to experience.

And if in another portion of my heart I could still feel that part of me at that time, That smiling face of mine could still be felt there as much real as I could ever be.

在中国的夏天

情愿过夏天,总比冷天穿太多强。在北京的时候,有新闻媒体报道是最热的记录。倒是赶上了记录。溪对我说。总知道确实的热,但怕晒伤还是穿长袖长裤。路人倒没有惊奇。出故宫,有外客在景山公园问是否需门票”“。溪不想上山。你去,我在山下等你。一脸期待。景山有粗旷的地方,差点摔下来,我拍了几张照片,和其他中国的山丘并不不同,安静干枯。虽然40多度,却没太热,与干燥有关。

出颐和园的地铁站时韩国旅行团从身边经过,溪搭在我的肩膀走路,是干燥的热,只要喝水就能忍住,韩国人来中国旅行似乎都带宽檐帽,凉鞋。针叶林的花坛没有树荫,颐和园外有点像沙漠。你会忘记我吗正是夕阳下山的时候,人来人往的石路上,不会。我答到

溪喜欢看航拍中国的纪录片,总叫我也看,真漂亮。他喜欢看漂亮的酒店和名人的房子,也许是想安定下来,像海子的诗里写的一样。倒也是,喜欢看海子与顾城的诗,有德国早期浪漫主义的精神,但他们的精神世界都不太愉快,连浪漫派的德国诗人也是。看美国有作家写艺术家作为苦痛的榜样,不禁惘然若失,一笑。有次在电视听到人民群众对美好生活的向往。虽是在平常不过的话,但觉得也很平实。我曾看过一个纪录片,是一位独身的老人,虽然坚强,可我看了很伤心,我不能一个人。溪对我说。

路过使馆区,有家波斯餐馆,人来人往,各国旗帜飘扬,错以为在古代的长安。其实我也怕。看华盛顿邮报报道美国农村的孤寡老人,照片中神色暗淡,也不难想他们觉得让美国再次伟大是最后希望,虽然是最道地的民族精神,可人总需要一种依靠。

喜欢坐公交车,看车窗外行人来来往往,正在最美的年纪,歌曲在最美的片段,戴着墨镜,留下的眼泪也不太担心。有多少恨就有多少爱。宇喜欢唱五月天的温柔。大学寝室可以看到天主堂的十字架,上坡路,每次归途,都像登山,反倒很快乐。

大学在郊外,去市中心需1个小时,反倒像去另外的城市,每次归途,车上的人都睡眼朦胧。宇喜欢听张悬的《宝贝》。我要窒息了,车上的人都不开窗。虹林对我说,是冬天的时候,没人开窗,怕冷。末班车,下车的话,后果不可想象,荒山野岭,长路漫漫,不知归途。我要下车了,不然我活不下去了。师傅,下车。虹林不停的喘气,终于好了些,实在是忍不住她回过气来办法比困难多,她说道。拦了面包车回程,车上寂然,拥挤,汗味,算最本真的生活,虽然冒险,却很快乐。有次在归程的末班车上听到《宝贝》是宇最喜欢的歌,起初以为是谁的手机响了不接,后来才知是汽车广播,但车上没有人做声,路过的街灯明明暗暗,像最粗糙的蒙太奇,却是最震撼的画面,我看着车窗上自己的倒影,以为青春可以永远都在,是最痛苦的梦想,因为不想失去它,所以这一刻永远都记得。

喜欢年轻的时候还是年老的时候?”“这是什么问题,当然是年轻的时候。奶奶听到这问题也忍不住笑了。老了就是精力没有以前好了。最喜欢夏天,是精神最好的时候。海明威记忆中的非洲,阳光明媚刺目,狮子在海岸徘徊。

自己的夜光

电影中,来自美国丹佛的邮递员去巴黎度假,已然五十有余,独有一条小狗相伴,“麻烦请问有餐馆推荐吗”当地人友善的推荐了家中餐馆,走过巴黎熙攘的公园,深夏的巴黎像梵高的向日癸,炽烈,清然,“我独身一人,却在这个时刻,突然觉得,我爱你,巴黎。“她反不像五十岁,像二十岁。最深爱的一刻。人老了,心为身缚,成了时间的俘虏。”我现在二十岁。“一位老人说,”身体是我的牢房。“

王摩诘有诗云“语笑且为乐,吾将达此生。”无人的时候,一个人看书,看到同感之处也不禁微笑,那么容易满足,有些不敢相信。重读红楼梦时,总被香菱的达观感动,为学诗而借书学习,算浪漫的人生,谁又能说中国人不懂浪漫,虽算最痛切的一种,浪漫给自己看。

“你是否觉得我们可以教人去爱?” 许久的沉默“不能”一位母亲回答。“也许我们只能让人习惯于某种联系,但不能教他去爱。爱就是爱,当然他永远都是我的儿子,但我不能教他去爱。”是美国公共广播的采访。听后总觉得很寂然,也似这拉长的沉默一般。

这世界总有阳光照不到的角落,许多个夜晚,夜光照进窗来,想,这世界上的误会这样多,实在是懒得去解释,也许不过意的事情立刻就该说出来,不然只是徒然伤情。

偶然看到“网络消失(Ghosting)”指觉得不合适但不说,只是沉默不做声,这当然是网络时代的新现象。或许觉得连说”我们不合适“的必要都没有?爱情当然没有那么容易,不过在礼仪缺乏的时代,许多不必要的自痛,也许可以免了,算是预防针。真正爱的人总不会不联系太容易失去联系,爱与不爱,也不是这么快,转瞬之间,总是早已有了底。也许生命里的相遇只是数学上两条直线的交点,再想起,也当然是最美最特别的点。

“喜欢看你微笑时候的样子”曾有人对我说。

“老了就是精力不及以前了。”奶奶说着也微笑了。

武汉夜雨中

春风吹过身边的时候,武汉下起了夜雨。

心里涌过一阵巨大的浪,还是熟悉的氛围,武汉当时有许多的建设项目,归途中经过某个工地也很寻常,有位韩国朋友见状总是不停摄像。

一路走来,独我一人,也许因为路边是农业大学的缘故,围栏里是作物。这是武汉吗,像空城,路边有个抗议的牌匾。

宇带我去一个商场吃饭,有露台,走到露台的入口,红色到蓝色的灯带洒在身上,以为到了太平山顶观光项目

路上车来车往,轰——轰——

“武汉就是车来车往的声音,震撼人心,我听到反倒觉得心安。”

宇微笑没有做声。夜雨停了,也算生命里清冽,平淡的瞬间,背着电脑和相机,走了那么久,也不太累。习惯了武汉的景象,安静中又有些吵闹,偶尔拥挤也不太孤独。

人海里,来来往往,似乎嫌太拥挤,不过也不太孤独,这么多人还活着。

在北京的旅店,夜静,听歌曲忧愁的暖光,迷迷糊糊的睡着了,好像梦见了以前的事,醒来也快乐了很久。

窗外胡同里是刺痛的冷光,灿烂的冬阳。

北国的冬季倒没下雪。快五月了,武汉还像冬天一样,今年倒是这么冷。

你一定记得,我写在纸上的那句“Je t’amie”,或不记得。夏日的晚风吹过耳边的时候,我站在匆忙的街衢上,等待着。寂然的湖边,飘拂的柳叶,湖面上夕阳温柔的倒影,生命也像无尽的等待,回眸中,一句“在看一次?这夕阳。” 这么久,好像也看不太厌。

夜幕下的远方,高速公路上的车灯照亮着公路,来来往往,黑暗里的灯光线,像火柴划过的印记,也许太黯淡,照不太亮沉寂的夜空。也似无名的爱温暖不了黑暗中里寂静的角落。

远方的楼梯,粉笔灰在墙上写着不知道的电话号码,红色防坠的铁丝网,把下午的阳光切割成碎片,留下斑驳的,灰色的阴影。楼下面是绿色的田地,我站在,阳光照不到的角落。

从此无人的夜里,我睡不着也醒不来。