mardi 10 juin 2008

The Revenge of Narcissus, By Tuotuo YU

The Revenge of Narcissus

By Tuotuo YU

“You gave me an onion as a Christmas present? Are you kidding?” looking at the tiny bulb in the present box, Michael was surprised.

“No, it's not an onion, it's a narcissus bulb.” Amanda took a bowl from the kitchen, filled it with fresh water, immersed the bulb in water, and then placed the bowl on the table.

“There is still one week before Christmas. It will sprout by that time, and around the New Year it will bloom.” She explained patiently.

“OK.” Michael shrugged and said, “That is really a special Christmas present. Thank you. ”

Saying this, he took up his coat, and walked toward the door, “By the way, I'm going out to diner with some friends of mine. Don't wait for me, baby.”

“OK. Have a good night.” Amanda said quietly, and accepted his goodbye kiss.

Amanda is a beautiful girl. She has long brown hair and shining brown eyes. From the year she was thirteen, boys in the neighborhood began to ask her out. After being aware that her quiet personality is far from her hot appearance, all of them quickly lost their patience. Like a princess in the castle, Amanda waited quietly her prince, until the year she graduated from the local college. Then she left her hometown and went to New York lonely. Now she works as a secretary.

Michael is a student of art, and he loves parties, alcohol and girls. One day he met Amanda in a flower shop. After a happy conversation, he abandoned the initial plan of buying a bouquet of roses for the girl he was hanging out with at the moment and offered Amanda an orchid. That was the beginning of their relationship.

Since then they have been living together. It's been for several months. Michael continued to go to parties from time to time. In his words, “That's where an artist gets his inspiration.” Amanda has kept her silence.

Days went on, and Christmas was approaching. The little bulb had grown into a beautiful plant with long green leaves and several white little buds.

One midnight coming back from a “dinner with friends”, Michael found Amanda drinking alone in the kitchen. He made a whistle to express his astonishment, and walked toward the table to grab the bottle. “A nice Whisky, can I join?” He asked.

Amanda didn't reply, she filled her own glass and said as quietly as usual, “Can you guess who I received a phone call from? A girl called Sarah.”

“What?” Michael was in such a panic that he dropped the bottle on the table. He grabbed it again quickly to prevent the whisky from spilling out, but the sleeve of his coat clumsily swept across the unfortunate flower on the table, and it fell to the ground.

After a big noise, there was awkward silence.

“Can it survive?” Michael asked finally.

“...No.” It took Amanda a while to understand that he meant the flower. She looked at it, the green leaves and white buds had fallen off. Lying between pieces of the broken bowl on the ground, they seemed so desperate.

“I'm sorry.” Michael said.

Amanda said nothing, staring at the dying flower.

After that Amanda didn't mention the mysterious girl and her phone call any more, and Michael secretly sighed a breath of relief.

Then it was the day before Christmas. In the morning when Amanda was preparing her luggage for the reunion trip to her family, she heard Michael telephoning in the bathroom. A kind of strange intuition grabbed her, and she sneaked to the outside of the door.

“Baby, I miss you...No, you shouldn't have done that...Honey, it won't be long...How about a Christmas diners at mine tonight...Oh, don’t worry, she is leaving...”

Pressing her ear against the door, Amanda managed to understand everything Michael said is his low voice. As he hung up, she left quietly and went into the kitchen. She sat down on the ground and took a swig of Whisky.

“It tastes so bitter.” She thought.

Her eyes wandered without purpose around the kitchen, and finally stopped on the trash bin. The dead narcissus was still there with its broken leaves and buds, and the bulb.

The bulb.

Amanda made a good lunch. She prepared some steak with a delicious sauce, some salad with cheese and onion, and opened a bottle of red wine. During the lunch, she smiled at Michael and said: “Merry Christmas, cheers!”

Before she left in the afternoon, she told Michael that she had made some more salad. It was in the fridge.

There were plenty of people in the airport. Everybody was hurrying back home at this time of year. Amanda looked at her watch, it was six o'clock. In two hours, she would be with her family, and Michael and his new girl friend Sarah would be on their way to heaven.

Not only does the bulb of narcissus look like onion, it also tastes like one. The only difference is that the former is extremely poisonous whereas the latter is not.

She looked through the big window next to her. It was dark and snowy outside, and her mind went back to that sunny autumn day when a young man offered her an orchid. Suddenly she felt a little sorry for Michael, so she decided to give him a last phone call.

“Hello!” A girl's sweet voice came from the other end of the line.

“Merry Christmas, Mike.” Amanda said after several seconds of silence, and hung up regrettably.

She sighed almost imperceptibly. Then she noticed a man looking at her several meters away. She smiled at him. Encouraged, he smiled back and said, “Hi, I'm John.”

“I'm Amanda. Nice to meet you.”

“What are you sighing about?” An hour later, on the plane, John asked Amanda.

“Oh, I was thinking about narcissus.” She said.

“Narcissus?” John was confused.

“Yes, the flower of winter.”

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