That day, the coffee shop had really good business, I had to share a table with a girl wearing a dress. She was very thin, like those high school students who just finished an exam. Messy hair dangling from the back of her head waiting to be pulled. By the time late summer come her skin had turned light brown with few pores, like it was covered in a light layer of glaze. She sat quietly reading a book of fiction, noisily so that she did not become immersed in it.She from time to time raised her eyes to glance around, with a kind of panic only teen girls would have, always worrying about getting too much attention, as if the whole world was watching how young she was. Actually her face was plain, other than me, nobody else noticed her.

I paid attention to her because of her plainness. She was so beautiful for not knowing her bland appearance.I suddenly realized that I was no longer 18 years old, although I am still occasionally plagued with the lone pimple, or sometimes wear a dress similar to hers. I can no longer be that skinny or have the temperament that shows in her pale eyes. She sat there, plucked out a few coins from her purse to pay for her coffee, as if to remind me of time that is no more.

In the morning, I dreamed of the aquarium where I would always go in high school. It always lacked visitors, yet penguins and tropical fish floated almost like jellyfish in endless numbers, quiet and strange. The dreams of all the shadows, the shadows of the penguins and tropical fish occupied my dreams.I slept too much, but it seems like I could never wake up.

I rarely take out old photos and look at them any more. For if I did I would be quite surprised. Sometimes they point to those photos, and tell me that in fact, there is not much difference, its just I looked more carefree back then.But When I look at the photos, I can't recall how I grew to become the lady I am now. I am reminded of the movie "heart", Kaneshiro Takeshi put Gigi's black and white enrollment photo on the top of a desk lamp. Years later when Gigi got old, she became Aijia. I often cried a lot when I saw this movie when I was younger, yet now I don't. Unlike Gigi, I didn't fall in love with a musician when I was 18, didn't drink fruit vodka at a party until I threw up, or take a ferry late at night to an isolated island in order to find a hotel and make bad love.

I am sad, probably because I can not remember what I had done when I was the coffee girl's age. What I can remember are all the minutia, like the legs soaking in the bath tub in the summer, ear lobes, pearl earrings, stairs under the sunshine, playground, the plants grandma grew. I never wanted to squander time, but no longer have time to throw away.

The girl who sat there and used coins to pay for her coffee, she might never had a boyfriend before, her lips not yet been kissed, and therefore an absolutely pure and plain look draped her. She has a lot of time to feel, the beauty and cruelty. These are all my cursory passing of time, having now become blurred in a memory of black and white shadows, to occasionally flash in my dreams, just floating there. She is my past, she will become me, but I can no longer become her.

I finally took a long bus ride back to the aquarium of high school where I skipped classes to see a dolphin show, but it had been demolished. As I stood there my earphones play "girl, you will soon become a lady".


  1. wow, beautiful. it's sad how we can never get back the time we lost.

  2. your photos are lovely :)