photo credit: www.stuckincustoms.com/.../moon-over-hong-kong/
Today is the fifteenth of the first month of the lunar year. This is the only day of the year that Chinese behave like medieval Italian hopeless romantics.
Mrs Wong was powdering her nose in front of the bedroom mirror. Dr Wong had to use the bathroom mirror to check whether his bow looked OK. He hates to go to these dinner functions at the Peninsula Hotel. It’s not the hotel, nor the food that he disapproves. It could be the bow that he hates, but he’s not so sure. The bow looked quite all right today. Mrs Wong was giving a running commentary on who would be coming to the ball.
“ Sir Moses is the guest of honor. At the head table, there will also be Professor Chen, the Vice-Chancellor of the Hong Kong University. Mrs Chen is an amateur painter, so make sure you ask about her painting. Rose, the head of the Citigroup Asian Private Bank Section, will arrive early. She’s taking her ballroom dancing instructor to court. You mention ballroom and we’re dead. …… …… …. Don’t look so uninterested. Are you listening to me?”
“Of course, Your Majesty, I’m listening to you.”
“What did I just say?”
“Are you listening to me?”
“And before that?”
“Don’t look so uninterested.”
“And before that?”
“Now, that’s enough. We’re supposed to be leaving.”
“Didn’t I tell you that we would arrive after two-thirds of the guests had arrived? Aren’t you the busiest surgeon on Pedders Street? What will they think if we arrive before Dr Greason does?”
“They will think we are a nice and polite couple, privileged to have the leisure to finish off work early.”
“Very funny! Ha ha ha. But I was NOT asking you a question? I am warning you that they might think your practice has been affected by the financial meltdown.”
“Do you have to wear it on your head?”
“Of course not. Not without your permission. In case we still get seriously misunderstood, should we turn up after everybody’s seated?”
“I’m not talking to you.”
“Remember, talk about painting and not ballroom.”
“Are you talking to me now?”
“Yes, for the time being. I’ll stop talking to you when we get into the car tonight to head for home.”
Dr Wong behaved the way he was expected to, through the night. Everybody was leaving. The car jockey brought their car to the driveway of the Peninsula. Mrs Wong stood beside the car waiting for Dr Wong to come around to open the door for her. Dr Wong was walking towards the car door when he caught a glimpse of the beautiful full moon over the Victoria Harbor rippled by the crossing ocean liners. He stood still and grinned at his wife. She was slightly annoyed but was cautious not to show it.
“What now, Darling?”
“Why don’t we walk home?”
“Come on. Don’t be silly. How can we walk home? We live on the Mid-levels on Hong Kong Island. Are we swimming?”
“Easy. We’ll walk to the Star Ferry, take the Ferry ‘cross to Central, walk to the Peak Tram, take the tram to May Road and walk home.”
“Why would we want to do that?”
“Today is the fifteenth of the first month of the lunar year. This is the only day of the year that Chinese behave like medieval Italian hopeless romantics.”
“Give me a better reason.”
“You’re not talking to me if we get into the car, but I want to talk to you. I want to talk to you as much as I did twenty years ago. So we’re walking.”
“Give me a better reason.”
“I like the sound of your high-heels cutting through the silence of the quiet spring night. I like the dazzling light of your dangling diamond ear-rings chasing away the darkness of the city street. I love your fragrance. I adore the beauty which makes all these things come alive.”
“My high-heels are going to eat into my toes if we walk all the way home. We’ll get robbed because of my ear-rings. And, Mr Shakespeare, I’m not wearing any perfume.”
“I’ll carry you. We’ll claim insurance if we get robbed. And of course, Mr Shakespeare knows that Mrs Shakespeare is not wearing any perfume. It’s her own fragrance which he loves. ”
“Can I say no?”
“Yes, you can. But, I’ll ask again.”
“Yes, please, for the Moon’s sake.”
“For whose sake?”
“The Full Moon’s sake,” Dr Wong pointed at the bright white goddess of romance, painting a halo around herself to cast her spell for Chinese lovers, “just look at THAT!”
Mrs Wong lifted her head and looked at the moon. The moon was smiling, inviting, and charming everyone to come out to take a long walk with the lover, with or without high-heels.
“OK. Only if you’ll promise,” she gave in with a cunning smile on her face.
“I’ll promise you anything,” Dr Wong signaled with his finger ‘cross his heart. “Now what am I promising?”
“You already did. To carry me.”
Dr Wong moved to his wife and put his arm around her.
“Not here, silly. When we get to May Road.”
“It’s a deal.”
Dr Wong liked the sound of the high-heels and the dazzling of the diamond ear-rings. He was also correct with the fragrance of his wife. He loved it. He always does. But it was carrying her on his back that took his breath away. Of course, this last line was a rhetorical, rather than a medical expression.
P.S. A Valentine Day Story For Jannis Yeung