The West Lake, The Neverland
Hangzhou West Lake, a beauty, a poem, a picture. The most distinguished poet of the Song Dynasty of the ancient China, amazed by the stunning charm of the West Lake and wrote the very famous poem, “I’d like to compare the West Lake with Xishi, the ancient beauty, charming as they are, whether heavily made-up or slightly so.”, and passed down from generation to generation.
The river of time rolls on and on to today and stopped at the very same site. Sushi is no longer here, but flocks of tourists from all around the world flood in, fascinated by the beauty and the fame of the ever-young and gorgeous West Lake.
Night draws upon, lights come out. Flows of people stretch far beyond my sight. The West Lake seems more bustling than ever.
“Hey Devin, where are you? You said we meet at the West Lake, but you didn’t say where exactly”. As I was expecting an answer, my cat screamed out, so loud, loud enough to swallow all the noises of the night at that point, yet everybody seems too busy to notice that. Then she kicks on me and jumps into the flood of people, and disappear into the distance. And I’m too shocked to notice I’m still walking with my phone kept near to my ears before I even notice no one is talking on the phone although I got through.
I hang up my phone desperately. And all of sudden, I find myself on a narrow country path, so narrow that only one person can pass at a time. On the both sides of the path, lie patches of fields, dotted with some men plowing, women planting, dubbed with the melody of the moo of buffalo, and the chitchat of people. I strain my eyes and try to see further ahead, but the boundless fields seem to never end, sprawling far away in the distance where it’s surrounded by verdant lush trees that seem to expand forever and ever. I keep walking and walking, out of curiosity and out of fear, until my legs get too tired but the road never seems to show a sign of tiredness.
“Where am I? What is this place?’ I start to feel worried and afraid. A ray of delight strikes me as I think of my phone in my bag. I turn on GPS on my phone to locate myself. West Lake tourist resort area, the map shows.” “What? It can’t be! Where the hell am I indeed?” My fear grows like a burning forest, swallowing every inch of my remaining hope. My heart turns into ashes, along with it, all the pleasantness and the beauty of the picturesque fields fade away and I am swallowed by fear, stress,and horror.
Like a drowning man, clutching at anything he can grab. I suddenly think of my friend and call him immediately. The phone starts to beep. With every passing second, it beeps faster, and faster, while my heart twists tighter and tighter. My hand slides down, just as my last straw sinks down; tears burst out of my eyes, just as the flood of water drowns me out.
I don’t give up. I won’t give in. Right now psychological hint is my only motivation. My body is worn out; my will is struck down. I drag my powerless legs with my heavy feet forward step by step. It’s not the distance that fears me but not knowing the distance.
I keep crawling along the country path. I don’t know how much distance I have covered, but only to notice that the sun has rested down, the farmers have gone, the moon has come out, the stars are shining high, but I have no heart to relax down and enjoy them.
All of sudden, like in a deep dream, I was woken up by a sudden phone ring. It takes me a second before I realize it’s my phone and another second to realize to pick it up. "Incoming call, Devin" the screen shows. I slide to answer immediately like a drowning man grabbing the straw he found. I screamed out, “help me, Devin, please help me out.” He answered in a relaxed voice, “Hey, Kathy, how was your sightseeing going? Just relax your mind and enjoy your trip” His answer is complete out my expectation. But what happened next shocked me more.
I find myself standing right at the same spot where I rushed out of the car with my kitty in my arms having a lazy nap.
---Written by Katherine Xuan