May 20, 2009

The Interlude

This short story was written for an English course assignment.

The Interlude

The last year of college finally came for Dylan Yeung, a HKBU Government and International Studies major. The graduation was approaching, but as yet, Dylan was still somewhat confused about the future. Although he had always been a prominent student with excelling academics and extracurricular participation, including presiding over the GIS Society, he felt that there was still something left to discover and understand before he can formally commence his course.

Wintertime in the South had always been brief. As the weather turned warmer day by day, different summer programs and activities emerged on the posters haunting the campus. Among them, a study tour at Peking University attracted Dylan the most. Although he had never been to the capital city, he had heard much of it from mass media and his friends from Beijing who were also studying in BU. Besides, he hoped that the experience in this modern yet historical metropolis would help him in discovering his future. Dylan was not a daydreamer but an actor. By the end of May, he was already on a flight to the Beijing Capital International Airport.

During the Orientation at Peking University, students were divided into groups of six, including three local Beijing students and three visiting students, to help them get familiar with the University and the neighborhood. Holding the group number card bearing a big "3", Dylan hustled through the crowd to find his group mates, but quickly halted upon seeing a young lady in a citrine smocked tube dress, elegantly ambling through the horde, with her chestnut-brown hair waving and flowing down her shoulders. Sensing the stare, the girl glimpsed Dylan, and smile at him before unhurriedly moving away.

It was a blessing and surprise for Dylan to learn that that girl was in the same group as him.

"Hey, I'm Olivia, friends call me Livie. Nice to meet you! Hope you'll enjoy your time here!" The girl approached him, with a grin on her face.

"Yes…uh...My name is Dylan," he replied with a little stammer, "Can I buy you a drink after this?"

"We were actually going to meet up tonight! And of course I would be glad to take you up on that drink!"

Later Dylan learned that Olivia's major was economics, and she had been admitted by Columbia University in New York to pursue her PhD degree starting from the coming academic year.

Time passed by swiftly, three weeks had gone. During the mornings, Dylan had classes in the University, sometimes with Olivia and her friends, sometimes not. They were mostly free in the afternoons, during which the gang of six went sightseeing all over the city. They visited historical sites like the Forbidden City, Great Wall, Summer Palace, Temple of Heaven, and also major shopping sites like the Wangfujing Street and Xidan. As time went by, they began forming new clusters of friends by themselves, and Olivia and Dylan more and more often went out with only the two of them. Instead of taking Dylan to tired tourist sites, Olivia preferred more private locations or common destinations for local residents. At times, they would go to Bifengtang Teahouse spending a whole afternoon chatting and laughing, and they also went shopping in the nearby Zhongguangcun area, usually until nighttime. Dylan discovered that, probably because of their more or less interweaved fields of study, and the well-rounded education they received, they did have a great deal to talk about.

Now it came to the last seven days, every day seemed a torture for Dylan, for he knew that he and Olivia would be apart very soon. Dylan also noticed that Olivia's mood had become depressed. They spent more quality time together, sometimes nestled together under an arbor near the Weiminghu Lake.

The departure pending, neither of them could wait any more. "Oh Livie, I really don't wanna go. I miss my family, but I know I'm gonna miss you even more."

"So will I, sweetheart," Olivia chocked with sobs, "but you'll have to go back to your own home, and I'll have to pave the way to my future, mustn't we?"

"Maybe I can make a way to New York, don't you think," Dylan suggested, cuddling Livie gently, "I knew some alumni of my major are now working in the States. Maybe I can find a way there. Yes…I will!"

The promise to reunion mitigated the pains in the farewell. Upon arriving Hong Kong, Dylan looked high and low for a job opportunity in NYC. Luckily, owing to his solid achievements in college, after two months of tedious searching, he was recommended by a BU alumnus who now worked for the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in New York, and Dylan was offered to fill a vacancy there!

Dylan could not wait a minute to tell Olivia the good news! He quickly made a phone call, yet that someone never answered. Dylan waited and called again, and again, but likewise failed. He sent her an email, but she never replied. He became anxious, and later upset. He ate less and less for meals, and hardly stepped out of his home. Friends tried to soothe him by telling him that it may just be that Olivia was too busy in those days, and she would probably reply him very soon.

Not until late August did Dylan received a letter from Olivia. In the letter, she told him that she had been occupied these days for some reason and wanted him to go to New York first and she would very soon follow. Dylan was as happy as a clam!

The first day for work in his new office in NYC, Dylan received a letter sent from China, dated more than a month before.

Dear Dylan

First of all, congratulations to you for your new life! My father was diagnosed with cancer right after you left and the doctor told us that he may not have a long time to go. My mother is heartbroken, for which I really cannot leave her. Besides, my family is running out of our savings paying the medication for my father, forbidding me to afford a further education. I do not know how to get through this and I am sorry I did not tell you earlier. I was afraid you may abandon your plan to go to the States if I have told you. I do not want to impede your future, Dylan. So please, stay where you are and concentrate on your pursuit. If destined, we may still meet each other sometime in the future, somewhere in this small world.

With love,



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