In this life we ​​are short and bright

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Bear, do you remember?

I moved to Germany with you and we encountered an epidemic. Since that year, our lives have changed. The whole world has changed. Then back to your parents’ house in New England, USA, and now moving to the West Coast of the United States. I spent half my life in the US, hopping in New York, California. New England was added in the middle to experience suburban life.

Bear, do you remember? Moved from noisy New York to a small town in Germany, a place so quiet as to be like a ghost town. Supermarkets don’t play music, shops are closed on Sundays, and we can’t go to the cinema because there are basically no movies with English subtitles or dubbing. The only time I went to the movies was to watch Joker in a small, old town theater. Listening to the actors in the Hollywood Marvel movies speaking American English, it exudes nostalgia.

Years have passed, and memories filtered by time have a rose filter. We even started to miss the small town where we could walk, delicious Vietnamese food, Himalayan pasta, German-American hot dog sausages, fries in Amsterdam, and hot apple juice with cinnamon sticks. And when I was bored, I walked for ten minutes to the pastry shop on the corner of the street. I used my fingers to buy a piece of pastry that I liked, and then the clerk carefully packed a large box of pastries for us. We go home and ice the cake in the freezer and take it out every now and then for a few bites. You work from home, and sometimes you make oil-splashed noodles—the kind of noodles you never forget or even learn to make yourself when we travel to Xi’an.

We traveled to another small town in Germany because I bought the wrong ticket. I know you like planetariums the most, we went to see astronomical documentaries projected on the dome. All are in German. You fell asleep under a starry sky.

Due to the epidemic, countries are closed. We were confined to our apartment like trapped beasts. Sometimes I burst into tears thinking of the peaceful and beautiful island we lived in New York. You get a call from your mom saying your dad isn’t doing well. hold me and cry. That pain is the pain of losing freedom and being at the mercy of fate, the pain of chaos.

The epidemic is probably the low point in everyone’s life in the world.

A year later I met my former colleague in New York, who had just returned from a business trip in South Sudan. Talk about a tough 2020. She had two new crowns, suffered from depression, and her boss told her to go back to the office. The pain of 2020 has been digested for so long before it can be told smoothly. But I didn’t know it at the time. In another year, I was trapped in the United States, and when I heard the news that my father was not doing well, I could only hold you and cry. Air tickets could not be bought, and the journey back was as difficult as learning from the west. Today, I heard the anchor of “Random Fluctuation” talk about the uncertainties of her going to Hong Kong, the possibility of escaping to a foreign country, and when she didn’t know when she would be able to see her relatives, she cried.

Do you know how, many years from now, we will write this history? One-third of Pakistan’s territory is submerged in floodwaters, the Russian-Ukrainian war, a paradise island like Fiji has become a drug hub, the United States has laid off workers and the stock market has fallen, and China has closed its doors.

In the midst of turmoil and uncertainty, I miss our days on the island. But you said, in fact, every year we have worries and problems. If Russia releases a nuclear bomb, the human population will be drastically reduced, and the survivors will suffer from various diseases. Civilization no longer exists. So now is the best time.

My last trip in Europe was to Matera, Italy and Barcelona, ​​Spain.

The grottoes in Matera are unforgettable, carrying luggage up the uneven rocky mountain, a place that cannot be reached by car. What used to be a slum, is now a luxury hotel. The grotto is lit with candles and dim lights, and the door lock keys are rustic medieval ironwork. Closing the wooden door, we are like ape-men thousands of years ago, and the cave is my habitat. Wake up early in the morning to watch the sunrise, the fog is dense, from the bottom of the mountain to the top of the mountain, the white sea of ​​fog, accompanied by the quaint grottoes, is the ultimate in the world.

Barcelona is too touristy, only to see Gaudí. Amazed that the building can meander and twist like a fairy tale. Mobile phones lined up to enter the Sagrada Familia Cathedral, and sat in the holy light of stained glass and curved lines. We both seemed to be inspired by God, and we talked softly about many spiritual things. Looking at the intricate and exquisite carvings on the gate, I feel that Gaudi is a god. This strange old man will never admit that he is Spanish, always Catalan. Legend has it that he dressed casually in rags, and was finally killed by a car as a homeless man. unprecedented.

Later, seven large suitcases and three cardboard boxes were checked back from Europe to the United States. We fly with masks on. Sleepless all the way. After a hard time, I finally saw your parents in the airport parking lot, and I felt that everything was like a dream. Aftermath.

Because of the quietness of a small German town, we adapted to the quietness of the suburbs. The advantage of a detached villa is that the neighbors have a party with music, and it is not too noisy. The downside is that it is too quiet and boring, and there is very little food around. Every weekend I will do a guide and travel with you. We went to many farms, farms decorated as amusement parks, farms with animal shows and corn mazes, and farms with tractors picking apples. Once, it was getting dark and a bonfire was lit on the farm. We sat by the campfire, lost in thought as if we were in the Sagrada Familia. Our bodies are still primitive people tens of thousands of years ago, and we feel warm and safe in front of the campfire. Facing the bonfire, we feel small and lucky, living in a paradise-like place, avoiding suffering, and loving each other with the people around us.

Do you remember how many times we went to the beach? We’ve seen waves in all shapes and sizes. You sit by the sea for lunch while it’s still cold. I walked down the concrete slope built on the beach to the sea. We drove through the corner of the seaside road and saw a seaside hut in the distance, with fairy lights on, next to the dead vines and old trees, desolate and surreal. We went to escape rooms and amusement parks and my hands hurt and my elbows frayed. You always play your best game while I can quickly walk across the swinging pirate house single-plank bridge.

You went out of your way to make our cabin comfortable and inviting. The long curtain came down and we played the movie. We played badminton, and we didn’t play as well as your mother.

You gave up your favorite and first cat, Googo, for me. A few years later, you still occasionally sigh with me and say you want to be sticky. Although Goo took over our sofa with cat hair, although he would use the toilet on the floor when he was older, although he occasionally stabbed us with his paws, although he did not like to be touched – only on his head. But he’s your first cat, and you’re such an affectionate person who loves a cat, a person, sincerely and passionately. You buy him the best cat food cat litter and a fully automatic capsule litter box and waterer. I’ve never particularly liked Sticky, I just feed him snacks under the pressure of his sharp eyes and shovel shit for him when you’re on a business trip. One time Goo jumped from a height, right on top of me, with long nails embedded in my feet, bloody. But I know he’s just a cat and he didn’t mean it.

Because we were going to another country and you gave the cat to your brother. Now the cat is with your brother’s ex-girlfriend’s grandma. Grandma has Alzheimer’s. The cat seems to know very sensible and grandma likes him very much. Psychologists say cats can ease dementia. This is real.

Then we drove one day to find your brother to watch the cat. The grandma’s family is fine, but the house is messy. Sticky squatted on the bathroom floor and didn’t know us anymore. We took turns touching the sticky heads. He was a little shy and a little scared. His hair was much cleaner, and he was no longer puffy. I don’t know if you were sad or wanted to cry, but you didn’t talk much when you came back from Sticky. Your brother and I asked if you wanted to bring the cat back. You say no. I know you’re kind because grandma needs cats.

We moved to New Jersey, which is close to New York. Once again, you are so careful to decorate our little home. Do you remember? We took the bus hand in hand through the tunnel under the river, and it seemed like this was the end of our lives together. At the other end of the tunnel is New York where we meet. We dressed up for a date at a restaurant by the river, looking across the glass at the lit New York skyline, as if watching a play at night.

Do you remember? When we said goodbye to New York, we went to that little island we had always dreamed of. Go all the way to the end of the island, where is the beacon where you proposed to me. It was cold that day, the day before my birthday. You say so that we can celebrate two important days in a row. You get down on one knee, a flock of Canada geese on the surrounding lawn. You put a ring on my hand, the ring is a bit big. A few months later, we held hands at the city hall and swore an oath in front of a city hall clerk named Angel that no matter whether the disease is good or bad, sick or healthy, we will love each other and cherish each other until the end of our lives. A friend recorded the ceremony, and we looked at each other with red eyes. When my friend took pictures of us in the snow, I wore a thin white dress. You put a down coat on me over and over again between pictures.

When we said goodbye to this island a few years later, I suddenly had a stomachache, and you hurried to help me find the bathroom. In that unclean and scary single-person bathroom, you held my bag for me and stood at the door like a patron saint. It is convenient for me to be in front of you, and I do not feel embarrassed. Out of the bathroom, we hugged and said we love you.

You got a great job, so we moved to the West Bank just a few months after moving back to New York. Across the country, packing dozens of cartons and wooden boxes. Moving again with all our belongings. Go to always sunny California.

I’m Mongolian and I’m never afraid of migration. My ancestors took their family sheep and horses to a place with abundant water and grass, and built a round yurt. The walls are thick hides, sleeping in the bag, looking up, you can see the round opening on the top of the bag. You can see the starry sky. In the Mongolian steppe at the end of August, the nights are cold. Sleep in a yurt listening to the howling wind outside. If a loved one in the family dies, my ancestors would take that person’s body and go to the vast grassland. When the body falls off the Lele, that’s where the body wants to stay. The body enters the natural ecological cycle, and the beast will eat it. The dead person belongs to nature forever. But the tombstone is in your heart, no matter where you go, the people you love are in your heart, in your blood. You look at the sky, they are there.

Do you remember what I told you. A story I heard from my grandfather. An ethnic musician I know often goes to the grasslands and forests to collect wind, she will post a lot of beautiful pictures and videos, ride horses, chat with musicians by the river, make campfires, sing in Mongolian robes, and birch forests. I envy her. Growing up in the city and traveling through many countries, I am hollow. The raindrops did not find the ocean to meet.

“In Heidegger’s narrative, people who leave their original location and historical realm become non-native and homeless.” The anchor of “Random Fluctuation” worries about whether there will be any change in self-expression if he goes abroad. Anthropology, who has long since left me, discusses “hometown making”, creating a hometown by mining local memory. From a local’s point of view. On the plane to Africa I read the White Horse Race and Obama’s books about fathers, and the autobiography of a Nobel Peace Prize-winning Kenyan activist. What an arrogant and curious look at the colonial perspective of the first book.

The Bay Area is far less prosperous than our New York City. We are in a small town with only one road for us to walk, and there are a few multicultural restaurants around. Driving to a huge luxury mall, like a mirage, surrounded by desert. But we want to create a home here, like our New York memory.

Get in touch with friends on Douban. She told me she could have met, but she just had a baby. We texted like an old friend for a few words and she told me the details of the hard labor. My friends on Douban are like this, they don’t know me, they really know me best. You always wonder what I’m writing on Douban. That’s my secret garden. But now I can only browse and cannot publish any broadcasts, nor can I reply to Douyou. And lovely editors who tirelessly wrote me to send me books. There are people who follow me. But I seem to be isolated in another time and space, can see all but can’t participate in it. You know my distress, and even offered to take out your ID to help me authenticate. You just know I’m happy when I’m on Douban.

Bear, you know, our favorite place to go is the bookstore. We walked past a small food store with signage written in Chinese characters with a brush, next to an old bookstore that has been in business since 1850. We always buy a book to support brick and mortar bookstores. We love bookstores. You know we both spent all day in the bookstore when we were kids. This bookstore will recommend books by some Asian authors, and there are many Asians in California. I picked this book On Earth, We’re Briefly Gorgeous, the Taiwan version translated as “This Life, You and I Are Briefly Gorgeous”. What a beautiful title! The author is Wang Ouxing. A semi-autobiographical reminiscence novel written by a Vietnamese-American author to his mother. The writer wrote a book for his mother who does not speak English, and wrote all the good and bad things in life. The memories are shredded, but they are amazingly beautiful.

I’m getting farther and farther away from the literature and art I love. Books like this pull me back from everyday life and give me a new desire to express myself.

Bear, this letter is for you. But I used a language you don’t understand. I am the one who writes the article that you don’t know. You always say it would be better if we met earlier. You say, you know, somewhere in the world, there is a person who lives, studies, works, and sports. Look up and see the same sky. One day you and the person you are meant to meet will meet.

I know you will love every one of me. And our life is short and bright.

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