We sat in the hole-in-the-wall shops of Kunming, drinking from cracked bowls the broth of who knows what.
You know what?
The question irritates the tongue. Rhetorical questions don't sit well with my stomach. I smile anyhow and pretend I'm enjoying slurping oily spice from the noodles that were once rice.
I'm blind to your subtle attempts.
I read your tea. Two dragons swirl about the cold remains of leafy juice. Love, I say in a fake Asian accent. Your future holds a lifelong relationship in love. I sit back and stare at the chipped tile walls, completely and utterly oblivious.
I was a fool.
You were a stranger I happened to sit next to on the stuffy old plane. You were the master of sarcastic remarks. I pretended to laugh, but my innards screamed for release. Sarcasm is like drinking water too cold for me. My comments were only smart. I suppose that was what you wanted to see.
But you were a fool.
Wrong impressions led to money spent in the wrong direction. I ate, spilling food on myself without a care and you didn't even think about what I would wear. You thought about generic advice over web chat rooms and so you paid the price. One hundred and eighty yuan to say the least. One hundred and eighty yuan silver to scare me away. A one hundred and eighty yuan trinket as a weapon of choice.
But my defense was invulnerable.
What a perfect setting was planned at the the great wall. The long city wall like the barrier from me to you. The towering spires and stairs to climb just to reach the other side. But I had the upper ground and I shot you down before you could even get to the base. I shot you with a piece of paper. An arrow made of ink and the cold, hard truth. You said you were okay, as if I had missed my mark.
But you're a liar.
We sat not looking anywhere but the chopsticks that settled precariously in our hands. Your valor was commendable, I grant you that. But your attempt was inconsiderate and rash. Now we sit clinging to our tea gone cold. You had blown too hard and my tea had gone too cold to drink.
We were fools.
What wisdom is shown through the purchase of a one hundred and eighty yuan cup of cold tea? And so we depart. And so we turn our backs, not even saying goodbye before we turn to leave.