The Dark Alley




It was a dark and narrow alley. Many used it in the daytime. It was a fast access for the people there to the town, passing through the back sides of 2 low-cost flats and climbing down a 100 steps staircase.

It was next to a dirty and polluted river. Everyone threw their rubbish there. it was the fastest way to clear, clean and beautify the compound. The authority was happy because the buildings in front were clean and beautiful, and so were the people with their house. But not the river and everything in it.

I had to use it once, to visit my Valentine girl in one of the flats. I was told the only way to melt her heart was to climb a 6-storeys back staircase with my bulky body. Oh, what a challenging test!

It was 9.30 in the evening when I walked up from the town into this dark alley. There were many lights around, but they all looked very dim and far away. As I walked and looked around, I had a creepy and eerie feeling. Was it haunted or was it just me? I asked myself.

I could see no one around, not one, except the swinging of trees and the flowering pot plants. And... oh... that foul smell coming from the rubbish heaps and bins.

Sometime I could feel gushes of cold wind blowing from behind all over my ears and body, causing my body hair to stand up on end.

And I could hear the dripping of water from high places falling down fast and hard on the wet floor, making it even more slippery and dangerous to walk.

Eventually I reached the back staircase. Standing still for a while and relaxed, I took a deep breath and then had a good look at the narrow and dirty staircase. Oh, climbing up this 6-storeys of back staircases with my bouquet of 99 roses was a great feat for me, but I could do it, I told myself and gritted my teeth.

As I climbed, I panted heavily and sweated profusely; it was not an easy climb after all. I could hear people talking and the sound from the TV and radio. I could hear the shuffling and clacking of mahjong, and people talking and laughing with excited voices. In a distant, I could hear the shrieking of cats fighting or mating. The climbing made me bent down a lot more, and I could see cigarette butts, papers, empty packets and plastic begs everywhere, and the floor was so dusty and dirty. Oh, I had a hard time drawing my every single breath.

By the time I reached the floor, I was sweating all over. I looked at my bouquet of flowers... okay, it did not droop at all. I stood still and relaxed, then I wiped my face and hands slowly and carefully.

I knocked at the door. The beautiful young lady was there to open the door, and was surprised at my coming at this hour with the bouquet of 99 roses. It was love at first sight, though both of our faces turned red with embarrassment initially. Good thing I didn't listen to the salesgirl's advice of bringing the love shaped balloons. We had a good time after that but I was not going to tell you about it.

Climbing down the staircases was relatively easier, though a few times I almost fell down with my 200 lbs body when I was too tired to hold the handle of the stair.

It was 12 midnight. The alley was still dark and cold.

The cold wind continued blowing, stronger this time, drying all my sweats.

More and more water fell down from the top. No...no... it was not only water. It was drizzling, and it looked very beautiful in the night sky.

Then the rain was slowly picking up momentum. It was going to rain heavily soon. I started to run, forgotten that the floor was wet and slippery.... and I fell.... terribly. Shamefully, I looked up at the windows of the flat, no one was watching, oh yeah, my beautiful girl was not there to see. I chuckled and smiled.

Getting out of the alley and climbing down the 100 steps carefully, I walked slowly back to town again. I finally reached my car... in one piece.

I started the engine. Then I saw the two mandarin oranges on the front passenger seat. I remembered putting them there, reminding myself to bring them along my bouquet of 99 roses for my Valentine girl. Oh how absent minded I was, I slapped my forehead, then another, harder this time. But nevertheless I had a wonderful Chap Goh Mei, a Chinese Valentine's day, a very opportune day to meet someone we love.

*******

That was many years ago, I told myself as I returned from my daydream.

I sipped my cup of tea slowly. Then another sip. Oh, it tasted fragrant and sweet, and not to be missed. I shook my head, feeling very satisfied.

Then my Valentine girl came to me from the kitchen. No... no. It was not the one from the flat. It was someone very special to me that I met in a village.

There.................. came my wife, bringing along another pot of jasmine tea.

And that was how I spent my many Chinese Valentine's day, with my Valentine girl, in our sweet sweet home.

No more dark alley.....no more.

1 comments:

  Claudia Lawrence

March 10, 2010 at 2:16 AM

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