(This novel is translated and adapted by Ms. Shuang Wu. The original novel 海外剩女 by author Ms. Xi Zhang was published in China earlier this year. It tells stories of female students from China struggling to find love in Boston, and has received rave reviews. A play in Chinese language with the same title will be staged at Northeastern University on Oct. 10, 2015. The photo of two birds kissing each other is by photographer Bo Yang of Boston Chinese Photographers’ Association, BCPA.)
A Woman with Approaching Expiration Date — Chapter 9
It was not until 11 pm when Richard took Jingzhe to a Chinese restaurant in high spirit. It was a small Sichuan-style restaurant, serving spicy dishes. Jingzhe had no appetite and only ordered some vegetables. Usually at home, she would be in bed by this time already.
On their way back, Richard turned on the music. A low, raspy, and somewhat sad voice came through the radio, and Richard joined the singer:
I am sailing, I am sailing/Home again/ ‘Cross the sea/ I am sailing stormy waters,/To be near you, to be free/ I am flying, I am flying/Like a bird/ ‘Cross the sky/ I am flying, passing high clouds/To be with you, to be free…
Looking at this strange man, Jingzhe all of a sudden felt something tugging at her heart string, and tears started to stream down her face.
In a hurry Richard turned off the radio,“What happened?”He asked.“Oh it’s just the song. Somehow it got to me. I could feel the sadness, pain, and longings. It’s quite captivating. I never do very well with this kind of music.”Jingzhe answered sobbingly.
Richard just looked at her, reached out and wiped off her tears, and planted a gentle kiss on her forehead.
When they got back to Richard’s house, Jingzhe was surprised to find out that he lives in a quite shabby condition. This was totally out of her expectation. Richard owns the second floor of a two-story house, but he had rented out two of the bedrooms to two female students, both living there with their boyfriends. Richard took the remaining bedroom, where he has only one mattress on the floor and one wardrobe. There is not even a desk or a chair. The floor was strewn with dirty laundry. It looked worse than a college dormitory. Jingzhe’s heart sank to the bottom.
Richard threw himself to the messy mattress without even taking his shoes off, and declared to Jingzhe that it was quite comfortable. Dismayed, Jingzhe asked him where she was going to sleep and he told her she could sleep in his bed while he could sleep in the room next door, since one of his roommates was out of town. Out of curiosity, Jingzhe followed him to the bedroom next door, and found out he was going to sleep on the floor since the small room had no furniture.
Oh my God! So this is the real life of a British gentleman with dual citizenship and a professional job?! The gap between imagination and reality was so big, and Jingzhe was aghast.
Jingzhe checked on her cell phone and it had already passed midnight. She was tired, but she didn’t want Richard to sleep on the floor for her sake. The window in the room was broken and it would be too cold. Perhaps she could just sit on the mattress and chat with him the whole night without getting undressed. Tomorrow she would definitely find a hotel room, she figured.
So she beckoned Richard to follow her back to his own room. Since there was no chair, Jingzhe sat on the mattress first, but it was too low and it made her waist uncomfortable. She had no other choice but to lie down on the mattress. Richard came over and lied down next to her. Naturally, Richard turned off the light, stretched out his arm, and offered it to Jingzhe. Feeling tired and cold, Jingzhe took his arm.
In the darkness, Richard started to sing the song ‘Sailing’. His voice was nice and she found it touching. He then leaned over and kissed her forehead, her face, and her lips. It all happened too fast for Jingzhe to say yes or no. It felt as if Richard had brought a heat wave into Jingzhe’s mouth with his tongue, which tasted like wine, but it was like nothing she had tasted before. It was soft and then hard, touching her tongue tip and then exploring further. Jingzhe found herself lost in the sensation.
Richard moved his body towards Jingzhe who, out of instinct, also moved closer to him. And Richard’s hands already started to slip downwards from her face, to her neck, her breasts, her waist, her hips, her thigh, her calves, and then back up to her hips, waist, and breasts. Jingzhe, on the other hand, did not know where to put her hands, but just held on to him tightly.
At this time, Richard started to groan and kept saying how great and how beautiful this was. He took his shirt off, and then his underwear. Jingzhe seemed to be half awake and half in a dream when she heard Richard urging her to take off her clothes. She didn’t move. Then Richard lowered his head and kissed her again – passionate kisses. His hands explored her sensitive part, and she let out a soft cry. With his tongue in her mouth, which prevented her from making a protest, Richard helped her take off her T-shirt. It was not until with only her underwear left did Jingzhe realize what they were doing or what they were about to do. She knew that she was about to experience something important and something entirely new to her.
“Do you have a condom?” Jingzhe asked suddenly.
“Yes, I do.”
Richard got up, found a condom from the inside of the wardrobe and put it on. Well, that was from a man supposedly without a sex life! Jingzhe thought to herself quickly.
Richard didn’t rush to get inside of her. He gently caressed and kissed every part of her body. It made Jingzhe tremble all over and she felt she was about to melt. She had her eyes tightly shut and dared not look at this man. He moved his hands from her breasts to her underbelly, then slipped down further and found it all wet already. Pleased and aroused, he started to get inside Jingzhe’s body. Jingzhe felt a pang of pain and cried out. He stopped immediately and asked what’s wrong. Jingzhe answered that it hurts. Out of instinct she withdrew herself and tried to get away from Richard. But Richard did not get a clear look of Jingzhe’s face in darkness. He guessed that maybe he was too rough and he tried to become gentler. In the tender atmosphere he created, Jingzhe started to feel relaxed, and Richard finally broke her defense and got inside her body amid her cries of pain. Richard didn’t last long before he made a series of sudden spasms and then he collapsed shortly. Jingzhe felt as if she was being torn apart. Her whole brain was left blank as she could feel nothing but the pain.
Richard murmured a few sweet words afterwards, but his voice was weak and drowsy. He took the condom off, threw it into the waste basket besides the mattress, kissed Jingzhe again, then said that he wanted to get some sleep and wished her a nice dream. A few minutes later, he started snoring lightly.