Chapter 15: Guns & Roses (3)
As soon as Chen Mo came up for his prize, the vendor wept. He grasped onto Chen Mo’s hand and gloomily pled, “Bro, you aren’t playing anymore, are you?”
Pink hearts formed in Miao Yuan’s eyes as she twisted the corner of her jacket. “Just give us the biggest prize,” she said. “If you give us too many, we won’t be able to carry them all.”
The vendor sighed in relief.
When Miao Yuan saw him take out a large stuffed bunny—which was as tall as she was—she was shocked by its sheer size. She awkwardly held open her arms to accept it, but the weight made her fall forward. Stifling a laugh, Chen Mo caught her and she leaned comfortably against his chest, laughing like sunshine.
There was no way to carry such a big bunny around. Chen Mo asked if he could leave the bunny in the stall for now. Hearing that he wasn’t playing anymore, the vendor was relieved and didn’t mind safekeeping the bunny. He simply said, “Buddy, don’t forget it when you leave.”
As Miao Yuan walked beside Chen Mo, her heart was flooded with emotion. The kiss has been enacted, the prize has been claimed. Now this is what I call perfection.
Miao Yuan purposely took off her mittens to freeze her fingers. When they were numb enough, she went forward and placed them in Chen Mo’s palm. He stopped and glanced down at her. “Cold?”
Miao Yuan smiled and shook her head. “No, I’m not cold.” Cheekily, she thought, I really know how to capture a man! Rather than rely on this stiff cold fish to make a move, I must take the initiative!
Chen Mo placed Miao Yuan’s fingers between his palms and rubbed them. In a subdued tone, Miao Yuan said, “I’m still very cold.” Chen Mo glanced at her and pulled her hand inside his pocket, warming her hand with his. Miao Yuan smiled mischievously, like a rascal who had successfully gotten away with an evil scheme. Her fingers stirred inside Chen Mo’s pocket and a fawning smile was plastered on her face. “Chen Mo, let’s ride the Ferris wheel!”
He could not reject such a reasonable request.
When a gondola—a tight space for two—slowly ascends, the city one normally treads is left far below the feet.
And what do you do in a gondola?
Naughty stuff! Miao Yuan made a fist in her heart.
In a book she had read a few years ago, the couple’s affection bloomed in a Ferris wheel. Just imagine kissing in the void above the city, where the starlights and the streetlight become one. Could anything be more romantic?
Pressing her hands against the glass window, Miao Yuan gazed out at a beautiful city of snow. Over a single night, powdery snow coated Xi’an in a sheet of vast, boundless white. Winter’s afternoon sun illuminated the horizon in a comfortable warmth. Sunlight shimmered down onto the snow before reflecting back up, breaking into crepuscular rays of mist and light.
That sublime sensation of walking on the clouds washed over her again.
Miao Yuan could feel Chen Mo close behind her. His breaths were light, almost soundless. But they were enough to make her hairs stand.
The gondola rose inch by inch. She anxiously waited for Chen Mo to pull her face close into a hot, heavy kiss. She looked forward to the kiss that would dissolve all her impatience and unease.
To her chagrin, the Ferris wheel’s peak came and went. Her heart thumped loudly, her breathing quickened, and a sharp pain stabbed her chest. She started to turn her head in a dejected manner. Chen Mo felt her gaze slowly lowering and met it, making eye contact.
His placid eyes of water rippled so faintly that she didn’t know if they really did ripple, or if it was merely an onlooker’s illusion. Did the wind move? Did the banner move? Or was it my mind? thought Miao Yuan. 1
She despaired. Biting her lower lip, she thought, I really can’t tell what he’s thinking. Not even one bit.
She thought of closing her eyes. Maybe then, Chen Mo would get the hint and move in to kiss her like in the dramas. But what if he didn’t?
Miao Yuan tilted her head slightly and inched closer, feeling him out. As if startled, Chen Mo drew back a step. Then the two froze. Miao Yuan pursed her lips into a sad pout. She could sense the tears welling in her eyes. She was about to cry. Really about to cry.
Suddenly, Chen Mo bent down and kissed her.
Her misty eyes widened before slowly closing and squeezing out tears, which fell out of the corner of her eyes and onto her hair.
At first, kisses are gentle—a probing friction, a careful caress of the lips due to inexperience.
Miao Yuan trembled as if wanting to escape. Chen Mo was pressing her flush against the glass. She was trapped, unable to hide or flee. Her mind blanked. Dazed and confused, she opened her eyes to a globe of crystalline light, a winter’s sun radiating a crisp, cold warmth.
Chen Mo decided to stop the gentle probing. He pried her lips open with the tip of his tongue. His fiery-hot tongue delved in, teasing. Miao Yuan quivered as his tongue snaked its way in. She tried touching her tongue with his but was suddenly seized by the waist.
“Urmf…” Miao Yuan whimpered. Her finger clung tightly to his jacket hem.
What should a kiss be like? Chen Mo thought. How do you know you’ve gone deep enough? Why is there an uncontrollable intoxication when the lips touch? What should it be like?
Chen Mo realized that he had no answer. Almost all his senses faded, leaving only the sense of touch. Emotions that couldn’t be put into words tumbled on the tip of his tongue. But what is it that I want to say? What else do I want to add? How is this not enough?
He continued penetrating deeper, at different angles and intensities. His tongue explored her mouth in a gentle yet rough way. He swirled her delicate tongue with his and sucked hard. The tip of his tongue brushed against the roof of her mouth. Miao Yuan squirmed in his embrace, as if resisting him, but her fingers curled even tighter. Finally, a broken moan was forced out.
Chen Mo released her lips and saw Miao Yuan dazedly open her large eyes. Her slackened eyes couldn’t focus, and she gulped for air. Her soft, tender trembling body lay against his chest like a startled bunny. Her watery eyes revealed confusion and bashfulness from their first intimate encounter.
Chen Mo gently rubbed her forehead. He pulled her into an embrace, and their breathing and body heat intermingled.
Miao Yuan suddenly woke from her trance. Pulling Chen Mo by the collar, she said, “Chen Mo, you like me, don’t you?”
“Then… Then I’m your girlfriend…”
“Yup!” Chen Mo couldn’t help but laugh. Isn’t asking this a little late?
Miao Yuan was taken aback from that response and looked down. After a moment, she said, “Chen Mo, in that case, you can call me Miao Miao from now on.”
Chen Mo nodded, but cried out in the back of his mind, Why does it feel like I’m raising a cat? 2
- The fable of the wind and the banner is a story of how perception shapes what we see. As Tom Scovel retells in The Year China Changed:
Long ago, two disciples of a master philosopher were watching a banner fluttering in the wind. “Look,” said one, “we can see the wind move.” “No you don’t,” countered the other. “The wind is invisible. What we see moving is the banner, not the wind.” “You are wrong,” replied the first. “Without the wind, the banner is motionless.” “True,” the second responded, “but what you actually see moving is the cloth banner, not the invisible wind.” After bantering about the banner for some time, they decided to have their teacher resolve the contradiction, so they approached him to end the debate. “Master,” began the first disciple, “isn’t it true that we see the wind moving.” “No, my son” he replied, “it is not the wind that moves.” “Aha!” the second was quick to answer, “so I am right. It is the flag that is moving.” “And no, my son, you too are mistaken. The banner is not moving.” Confused and disappointed, they asked how they could be wrong. “What is moving,” their master replied, “is neither the wind nor the banner but your minds.” […] Perception is ultimately not the physical vision that is photographed by your eyes, but the mental picture developed by your mind.
- In case you don’t get it, Miao Miao sounds like Meow Meow.
If you would like to hear what it sounds like, go here: https://translate.google.com/#auto/en/%E8%8B%97%E8%8B%97