Miumiu – So what happened to Song Yu Shan in the last eight years? Xiang Yu is in for the surprise of his life…
The morning sun shone through the curtains. It was summer again. It was hot outside, the temperatures were thirty degrees celcius on an average these days. But the air-conditioning indoors was really strong and it was almost too cold in here.
But the library had a relaxing and calming atmosphere.It was quiet and cool inside.There weren’t too many visitors, and you could almost hear yourself breathe. The reading room was not very big and there were big windows. The papers and magazines were all neatly placed on one side of the long table. At the counter, there was a small cart laden with books that need to placed in the respective shelves. Only one staff member was behind the counter. She was working on a computer. No other staff member could be seen.
A man in an iron gray suit was standing quietly at the door, surveying the reading room. He looked a bit nonplussed. This address… he knew this was the right one. But why was this a private library? The printer under the counter buzzed and started churning out prints. The staff stood up, walked around the counter and to the cart. She began to look at the books that needed to be re-shelved.
She had medium length hair styled very ordinarily. She wore a white long sleeved shirt and a knee length navy skirt. Coupled with low high heeled shows, she was the archetypal image of a ‘librarian’. It it weren’t for her unusual auburn hair, the extremely fair complexion and her exquisite curves which the conservative clothes could not hide, Xiang Yu would have almost convinced himself that he was at the wrong place.
But even after he had identified her, he began to suspect that his eyesight was playing tricks on him
The woman carefully arranging the books – was this Song Yu Shan? There were slight changes in her appearance, but the more drastic change was in her temperament. Eight years, from eighteen to twenty six was a period when women underwent the biggest changes in their lives. But how did she change so much that she behaved like a completely different person?
With his long legs, he strode across the room. His footsteps were absorbed by the carper, but Song Yu Shan still looked up, sensing his presence. With a professional smile on her face, she turned around…
” Long time no see.” Xiang Yu spoke, deliberately keeping his tone neutral and calm so as not to shock Song Yu Shan
Song Yu Shan’s eyes widened. There was amazement on her face, but she was not at all shocked. On the contrary, she seemed preternaturally calm.
She seemed to have lost some weight. The baby fat on her face had melted. Her heart shaped face seemed even smaller than before, making her eyes look even larger on her face. There was no rosy tint to her complexion anymore. Instead, she was the color of white porcelain, making her dark eyebrows and rosy lips stand out even more in the contrast.She had grown up to be more beautiful, yes, but her beauty was like that of a porcelain doll.
Inexplicably, he was reminded of her colourful dresses in the past which always exposed too much skin, the way her eyes lit up every time she saw him and her dazzling smile. He missed those now.
His thick eyebrows scrunched together while his eagle eyes honed in to examine his target better. The target smiled, then spoke, ” Just give me a moment. I will be with you right away. Please have a seat.”
Have a seat? Did she.. did she think he was a customer? A nameless anger surged in his chest. Apart from the long table, there were several small sofas in the corner, presumably to allow people to relax and read leisurely. But Xiang Yu had no intentions of sitting down
He stood in the same place , watching Song Yu Shan as she re shelved the books one by one. Once the cart was empty, she pushed it back near the counter and walked to him.
” Would you like some coffee? Or tea?” she asked. Her tone was that of familiarity, as if talking to an old friend.
He could not help himself. ” You..do you remember me?” He was really uncertain now. Was this girl unable to recognise him? Before he had come here to meet here, he had run through several scenarios in his mind. He was certain she would start crying immediately, she had always been such a crybaby! She may even rush into his arms and start complaining and questioning him; why had he not contacted her during the last several years, what had he been upto during these years… He had thought of how he would react, what he would say, but her reaction was simply beyond anything he was capable of imagining.
” Of course I remember you”, she blinked, puzzled, ” You are Xiang Yu. How could I forget you?”
Xiang Yu was stunned. She remembered? Then why was her reaction so calm? He could not explain why, but a huge, unfamiliar sense of loss settled in his heart at her words.
Somewhere in his heart, he had always believed that he held a special and irreplaceable position in her heart. This was an idea that was hidden deep inside, and every time he would think of this, a peculiar bittersweet feeling would creep up. But now.. now he had suddenly discovered that.. that in fact he was the only person who could not forget what had happened. He was the only one who had put their short lived interactions in a special corner of his heart.
Song Yu Shan saw that he did not answer her question. In fact, the expression on his face didn’t look very friendly. She smiled with embarrassment and then self deprecatingly said, ” I know it’s not a really wonderful memory for you. It’s quite understandable if you don’t want to talk about it. Would you like some coffee? I just brewed some in the morning. Do you take sugar and cream?”
When he took a sip of the coffee, he could not believe it. This little princess, who could not even boil water , had actually brewed this strong and mellow coffee?
” Is this what you brewed?” he stared at her as he lifted his head from the steaming mig.
” Yeah. The air conditioning in this library is always at a very low temperature. I need to rely on hot drinks so I don’t freeze to death. So the first thing I do when I open the doors as to make a pot of coffee,” she explained politely. ” Is it ok for you? I drink it quite strong.”
Silence pressed like a weight between them. If this were earlier, she would never stop talking. She would tell him trivial things, ask for his opinion and express her own ideas, filling the space with incessant chatter. But now, they both sat in a strange silence and she seemed to have no inclination to speak.
” What happened to you?” he finally asked a bit awkwardly. He took a sip, the continued, ” I asked a lot of people about you but no one knew where you were or what you were doing. Finally, a journalist friend of mine told me you were here. How .. why are you working here?”
He had always been a person who rarely spoke. He had surprised himself when he spoke for so long. But what was even more surprising to him was Song Yu Shan’s faint smile as she looked at him. She had always been a person whose expressions gave away her thoughts. But at this moment, he was completely unable to read what was going through her mind. This was incredible! She used to be the most simple, the most predicable girl he had ever met.
” This work is good. It’s quiet,” she answered simply. There was no other explanation. Regarding the past, why she had changed so much, she clearly had no intention of telling him anything.
For a long time, the two of them sat silently together. Xiang Yu realised that no matter how long he was prepared to wait, Song Yu Shan would not say anything more. He was always proud of his calmness and his ability to endure silence, but cracks had started to appear in his composure. Who was this strange woman? This could not be Song Yu Shan!
A door opened and a mother walked in with a little boy. The boy was about five or six years old. When he appeared, he rushed with full speed to the counter. Completely ignoring the presence of Xiang Yu, he approached Song Yu Shan and started talimg excitedly, ” Song Jiejie, I have come back to get that book! Give me that one!”
” Ok, give me the old book”. She bent over and took the bag from teh boy. ” Thank you Xiao Hong. Such a good boy ! You’re helping Mama return the library books!”
” He’s been after me since the morning to get a new book,” the boy’s mother caught up to the counter. She looked at Xiang Yu for a moment, then turned her attention back to Song Yu Shan and asked, ” Last week , I had requested for some new books…”
” Yes. There are two books I reserved for you”. Song Yu Shan walked to the counter and skilfully located the books. Then she started explaining some things to her
As he looked at her, he was dumbfounded. Her tone and actions were completely professional. Whether it was a young boy or a young lady, she was always serving the customers with an amazing degree of patience and knowledge. More guests started trickling in. There were office workers who came to get their books changed before they reached work, housewives who dropped in on their way to complete their chores. Whoever it was, her attitude and tone never changed. It seemed she was quite a competent librarian.
But he found this so difficult to believe ! There was something wrong here! As he sat in one corner, neglected and ignored, he made up his mind to get to the root of this. He had thought earlier that he would just drop in and have a chat to ease his mind. But now he could not close this matter so simply.