Friday, December 2, 2011

Then and Now 23 - May's Gift

Then and Now 23 - May's Gift
Time: Late 2007, single and at my apartment.

This was the last time I ever saw May.

I got an email from her while I was at my apartment one day, and she asked if she wanted me to come meet her in the main city. I don't remember if this was her apartment that she had moved to, or her friend's, but I agreed and we set up a time to meet. It was a long subway ride before I got to her stop, and this was the first time I had been to that area.

The walk to her place was very relaxing. I started out by following a throng of people past a construction zone, which was one of many. It seemed like there were tall buildings being built everywhere I looked, with cranes, trucks and other heavy vehicles swinging and driving all over. Next, I made my way down a street with several thin trees growing from places on the sidewalk. It seemed like a very nice place to live, in all honesty.

It was the middle of the afternoon when I got to her apartment. I phoned her, and she came out to let me in. The main stairwell was wallpapered and carpeted, unlike my place, where it was just made of dirty concrete. We went past several other people's apartments until we came to our destination. The place was very clean, of course, being a girl's place and all: there was a TV hanging on the wall and a couple of couches circled around a coffee table, and May, her friend and I were all seated around it. We talked for an hour or two, though I don't remember what about. At some point, we decided to go out and get something to eat at a restaurant in the tower I went to during Then and Now 7.

Before that, though, May went to her room and pulled out a binder full of DVDs. She asked me to take a look through it, and wondered if there was anything I wanted to borrow. I thumbed through it for a bit and saw some local movies, a couple of ones I kind of knew from back home... and then, I saw it: Battlefield Earth. I had to borrow that turkey and watch it completely for the first time, and May was more than happy to let me take it.

The three of us went off to the restaurant on the second or third floor of the tower, and ate some hamburgers and hot dogs. May and I talked about the land beach from Then and Now 3 with her friend, and we highly recommended that she check it out, too. Later, we climbed up a couple of floors to go to a bookstore, and spent some time comparing the titles of books I knew in America (Harry Potter, for one) to the translations. I even got tested in my reading skill by those two, and I was a bit surprised that I could read several sentences without liberally peppering my translations with "something, something" for words I didn't know.

After that, night had set in, and it had started to rain. The three of us huddled under my umbrella, and we found ourselves outside in the darkness, waiting for a bus to take us all home. When one finally came, we all boarded, and off we went on a peaceful trip down darkened streets, with only the streetlights and illuminated shops to light our way back. Both May's friend and I had long since gotten accustomed to one another, so we opened up and spent a lot more time joking around than in our first few hours together. When we reached the place where I would be taking the subway back to my city, May opened up a bag that she had been carrying the entire time, and pulled out a piece of cardboard with a pattern of flowers and birds on one side, and a message on the other. "This is for you," she said.

I smiled like an idiot. She was giving me a birthday present, when I had barely mentioned before that the date was coming up soon. The gift was decorated from top to bottom with tiny squares of construction paper glued to the board, and a message was written letter by letter on the squares. It looked like it took a long time to make it.

I just fished it out of my memories box. It says:

Hey (my name):
That is so
cool meet
you in (name of the hostel we stayed at)
room and
till now
(Happy birthday written in the local language)
(Happy birthday written in the local language again)
friend May

I barely knew this girl, and had only been out with her once or twice, but she made something so awesome for me. I had to bite my lip to keep from tearing up at the great gift she had made me. After I thanked her profusely, May, her friend and I all parted ways.

As for today...

I woke up at 11:00.
My wife went out to get lunch.
I surfed the net.
My wife came home, so I turned off the computer.
I ate lunch.
I watched TV.
I took a nap.
I woke up.
I went to work.
I taught students.
I came home.
I ate dinner.
I cleaned up the floor and table.
I folded and put away dry clothes.
I did the dishes.
I slept.

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