Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Tales from Taipei: A Trail of Cigarette Smoke

A trail of dreamy cigarette smoke lifted gently from the depth of the suffocating darkness tucked in a quiet corner of the corridor, then lingered hesitantly around the muted lamp hanging off the ceiling, before finally dissipating into the still cold air of the darkroom maze.

"Maybe the next one."

He awoke with a piercing pain on his right index finger. The expiring cigarette was biting into his crumbled fingers with its last breath, before its ashes finally collapsed and scattered carelessly onto the floor. For the longest time, he stared blankly into the spiralling void in front of him, and forgot momentarilly what sense were all these making. The sofa beneath him suddenly became unbeareably uncomfortable for his feeble limbs, and he shifted his weight and plunged once again into its sunken cushions.

"You have witnessed the passing of my youth."

Further down the corridor, a door creaked open slightly, just wide enough to allow someone to slide out. He took a deep breath and welcomed the distinct stale smell coming from the room, from which nestled pleasant memories he would helplessly bring again and again into focus. It was these episodes that had made life so vividly real for him, yet they would only now remind him, with every fresh recollection, of the strikingly painful contrast they had with his pathetic existence now.

"I remember someone."

He was lost even within this familiar surrounding of which he had frequented since as long as he could remember. A sudden coldness enveloped him, and he struggled to lift his arms upwards closer to the lamp, throwing shadows of himself onto the blackened partition walls. And then he remembered the discoloured splotches on his arms that he had tried so hard to conceal, and sank low back into the sofa again.

"What time is it now?"

Into the long night of darkness he sat, waiting, patiently, tirelessly, for the last climax of his life, until the night arrived, when all the grieving voices within him sighed unanimously for the last time and fell silent.

Whatever our struggles and triumphs, however we may suffer them, all too soon they bleed into a wash, just like watery ink on paper.
- Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

2 comments:

marcnais said...

wow....that was a moving post...
can be seen frm so many angles but no matter which i see it frm its still a gr8 post...

encore!

marc

Anonymous said...

You write well in both English and Chinese. That is no small feat.

Max.