Lizard opened the front
door. It was 8 p.m. now. Our moms were prepared to go out, to go
night shopping under the star-filled skies. I pretended not to
see her, as if I was concentrating on reading the Snow White
picture book. Lizard also did the same, pretending to not see me
at all, as she tried to take off her shoes in a lady-like way,
greeting both of our moms politely.
“Look at them, they’re acting like lovers already.” My mom said
in a giggle, as they walked out of the apartment, discussing
wedding plans for us. Women are so weird.
Did Lizard blush at that comment? Nah, must be the room
temperature. She couldn’t be that mature yet; we were only
sixteen. “Come on, Tom!” Her little sister yelled, as she tugged
at my shirt sleeve. “Big sister’s back!”
Lizard still pretended not to see me at all, as she slowly
walked into her room, putting down her black leather bookbag.
She had always had short, wavy, dark-brown hair, for as long as
I knew her. Lizard was tall for a girl of her age, even though
she always seemed to look younger.
“Hey, Tom,” she said, as she stood a few feet away from me, her
hands behind her, a smile drawn on her half-pale face. She had
changed out of her blue school uniform, into a bright orange
sweatshirt, and matching sweatpants.
“Hey, Lisa,” I answered shyly, as I put the picture book away.
Lisa pet her little sister’s hair, as her sister greeted her and
hugged her legs. That made her smile once again. Her lips were
always of a light, red color. She was now too grown up to be
called by her nickname.
“Are you still telling stories?” she asked, as she sat down next
to me, her sister sitting down on her knees.
“Oh, yeah, I do.”
“You haven’t changed a bit then.” she smiled. “You’ve grown a
“Well, you’re not doing bad neither.”
Lisa’s little sister jumped out of her sitting position, and
turned the TV on. “Oh, look!” Lisa said, as the screen
brightened. “The final episode of
“Are you a fan of the series?” I asked, seeing her excitement.
“No, I’ve never seen it before. But since it’s the ending...”
She trailed off then, her attention absorbed by the show. The
show wasn’t that bad, it was about this guy who got killed at
his own wedding, and his bride was trying to get over it. I
don’t think Lisa ever blinked, as she watched the small screen.
“You know why I love watching TV so much?” She asked as soon as
the show was over. She turned toward me with a smile. I could
see her light-brown eyes then, reflecting a different emotion
than the one shown by her smile.
“Because I never get to see it anymore.”
“Because I’m always in school or tutoring classes, Tom. I leave
my house at 6 a.m. to go to school. I eat lunch in school. Then
I go to my tutoring classes. And then I come back home at 11
p.m., only to finish my homework before sleep.”
I was astonished. She still smiled, even though her eyes didn’t
match the smile itself. She looked at me, waiting for a reply, I
guess. I didn’t know what to say. “I don’t even get to see my
family anymore, Tom,” she continued. “All I see are books and
homework, and teachers babbling on forever, and tests waiting to
be filled out...”
She turned away then, trying to hide something. Her hands went
up, and she wiped her eyes dry. “So... What do you do everyday,
“I... uh... goof off. Everyday after school.” I laughed, after
seeing her laugh for the first time. Her eyes seemed wet.
“You’re so lucky...” She kept smiling. “You’ve really grown a
lot since you moved away, really... And it’s really lucky too
that you’re visiting on a holiday, or I wouldn’t have been able
to see you again, being in school and all.”
I think I understood her eyes then. Her eyes were sad. “You know
that I always loved your stories?” She still smiled, even though
her eyes seemed to be on the verge of bursting into tears.
“Especially the one about the girl being the creator of the
universe, only she didn’t know it, and then she discovers her
abilities, and she is able to control the world around her, to
control her own life...”
She trailed off then, watching her sleeping sister, who was
lying down on the dirty, white carpet. I still didn’t know what
to say. “I wish I could move away with you...” She whispered
then, her eyes still staring at her sister.
“Maybe you can...”
We were both silent then, for a while. “So,” she suddenly said,
with a completely different tone of voice. “You are still
telling stories, huh?”
“Uh-huh,” I answered, nodding my head like an idiot.
“Could you tell me a story now? A sequel to the one I love?”
“Don’t know. I’ll try.”
She smiled then, once again. “Do you know why I love your
“Nope, I don’t.”
“It’s because I don’t get to hear them anymore, since you moved
away.” She flashed me once again with her smile. Her eyes still
seemed sad. Maybe they’ll never change.
by Liang-Tang Lin