Outside the biggest hospital in the city of Beijing, China was crowded with reporters and fans of the most famous actor/singer who was brought to this hospital for an operation. The news had traveled so fast that within hours, traffics at the hospital's vicinity were entirely congested. Polices had been directing the traffic and people away from the area for hours. People would pay any price just to see him. He was young (still in his twenties), gorgeous and talented. He was also famous for his bad attitudes and bitterness toward everybody.
Inside the hospital was much quiet and peaceful because except for family members, close friends, and people that worked for him, no one knew which room number the actor was staying. Inside the actor's room, cursing and screaming have been going on for hours. The actor was in a very bad mood for he just found out about his malignant tumor. His condition has gotten worse that his doctor had no choice but to perform a surgery to remove the tumor first thing tomorrow morning. The prognosis was he could never sing again.
That night, out of anger, he requested to be left alone. After everybody left, he was sitting in the dark by the window. Shortly, he saw a reflection through the glass window, someone came into his room. Without any light inside the room but he could still see the silhouette of a woman. He turned around and yelled at her,
"I said I want to be left alone!"
"Mr. C., I know you don't want to see anyone but I just want to bring you some water." The voice replied softly.
"Then just put the whole damn thing down and get out of my sight!"
"Mr. C., I assume that you are angry but there is always hope. The surgery might not affect much to your vocal cord. You still can singDon't give up yet"
"Who the hell are you and how do you know so much about my condition?"
"You can do so many things other than singing. You have a wonderful career. You look gorgeous. Many people are mesmerized by your look. And most of all, you are still very young. My advice to you is when opportunity comes along, please take advantage of it. Everything happens for a reason. Besides, it's no one's fault that you got sick."
"Are you done talking? If you don't leave me alone, I am going to call the security guard to drag you out!"
She could hear him cursed from a distance.
"Don't get upset and you don't have to curse my whole family. Anger is bad for you. Cursing is not good for your health either"
The actor was completely out of control.
His rage took over his conscience.
"Get out!" he screamed the he cursed the woman continuously. But before she left the room, he captured a certain angle of her profile under a very dim light coming from the hallway. She was about in her twenties. She had a beautiful long hair about waist-length.
"You have not answered my question! Who are you? Don't tell me you are one of the reporters! How did you sneak in pass the security guards?" he screamed out to her.
"I am not a reporter or your fan, and I don't work here either. Good night Mr. C.! You will feel better after the surgery. You should rest early!"
She finally left the room quietly.
At midnight, outside the hospital was still crowded with people. The actor knew that he had to stay in this hospital for few days after the surgery for observation.
The operation went well but the draw back was the actor temporarily could not curse people; thus for those who worked for him had a short break. The night after the operation, looking at the clock on the wall, he couldn't rest. Every minute to him lasted as long as a whole hour. Through the window, the rain was pouring hard and the forceful wind almost cracked the window open. He thought about the same night terror that he had almost every night. To keep his mind off it, he put on a robe and took a short walk outside the hallway.
At this hour, most patients had gone to bed. He passed by the lounge room and through the crack of the door; he recognized her beautiful long brown hair and her beautiful face. She was watching television without the sound on. He wondered if she understood the movie but she laughed out loud. He could barely talk but he managed to say a few words to her,
"Why are you here at this hour?"
"And why are you here at this hour?" she asked him back.
"It's none of your damn business!" he replied trying to raise his voice.
"You have such a lousy temper that I have ever seen. Don't hurt yourself if you still want to sing! Hey, don't you even try to curse me. I am not afraid of you. I am not your slave and I don't work for you. You are young but why are you so bitter? Do you have some kind of mental issue or your past makes you unhappy all the time?"
"I don't have any mental issue. I am just not happy."
"Yeah and you have been treating people like dirt. You look down on people ever since you became famous. You are extremely rude. Who do you think you are? God or Buddha?"
"And who do you think you are? Teaching me how to behave! Who are you anyway?"
"I am just an ordinary person."
"You speak English without an accent! You are not from this country! And what are you doing in this hospital?"
In tears, she looked deep into his eyes as she was looking for his soul.
"Why are tears in your eyes?"
"I am very exhausted. I am glad you are okay!"
She walked away. He tried to follow her and as she turned around the corner, he lost her.
At the nursing station, he asked about his stranger. Most of the nurses could not identify or recognize her. They only knew a young woman was collapsed on the street and she was brought to this hospital few days ago. He was right about one thing she was a foreigner.
On the third day staying in the hospital, the actor has almost gained back his strength. His tumor was removed but he needed some recovery time. His mood was improving partially because of her. He has been looking for her but he had no luck. Not until the sunset that he finally found her sitting on the grass area looking at the part of the horizon where the sun set. He was at a very short distance behind her.
"Do you still remember the first time we met?" she asked with her eyes still fixed on the sunset. He sat down next to her.
"You came to my room and offered me water" he answered with surprise.
"The first time that we met was at the pier. I was dancing under the pouring rain at sunset. You were sitting on the bench smiling at me."
"Are you on drugs? It was two days ago!"
"Your beautiful smile mesmerized meI fell deeply in love with you at first sightthe love I found in you was incredibly beautiful. I could no longer see it through your soulLast night when I looked into your eyes, I saw nothing"
"Now you are giving me the creep! I have never met you before the night you came into my room!"
"Do you still remember the second time that we met?"
"Yeah, last night!"
"Again at the pier and at sunsetI looked at you from a short distance during a movie shooting. I was sitting on the bench nearby. You stared into my soul but you didn't recognize me"
"I really have no clue what you have been talking about in the past fifteen minutes!"
"You made me vow to love you forever but you have no memory of meI have found you as I promised you and my love for you had not changed"
"What vow? I don't even know your name! Would you stop talking nonsense?"
"You had broken your vow to me"
"You are really insane"
"When did you stop loving me Aloys?"
"What did you just call me? Who is Aloys?"
"You killed yourself after you found my body. Do youstill remember what you had said to me before you ended your life?"
"How do you know about my nightmare? I have never told anyone!"
"Aloys, do you still remember what you had given me on my birthday?"
"What is your name?"
"Which one? The first or the second one? You should know them bothI think the sun had already set. Now that I found out that I have lost you, I can finally let go of my life for I had done my missionThanks for watching today's sunset with me in silence"
She stood up, took a last glance at him, and she left. He never saw her again.
The day he got discharged from the hospital, he made a final attempt to find out about his stranger. He was told that the young woman was admitted to this hospital for late stage of congestive heart failure. He found out about her name and her foreign address. He also found a piece of information through the police report. She was found unconscious in front of the condominium complex where he lived the night the paramedic brought her to this hospital.
Every night for month after his release from the hospital, his stranger's beautiful face kept him awake at night as his reoccurring night terror. Only recently, after her existence, his night terror became much more vivid He was crying and screaming while holding tight to a body of a young woman with deep stabbed wound to her stomach. In a flash, he put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger. He died instantly.
He couldn't let go of her memory. He bought a plane ticket to her place in the States based on the address she provided. When he got to the airport, the weather was bad. Waiting in line for a taxi cab, he could smell the storm was on its way. In a short moment, his baseball cap was blown away by the nasty wind. The rain started pouring down hard on him. Each drop of rain was acting as hard and fierce as piece of broken glass piercing through his skin. But his physical pain was no way near his psychological torment.
He finally got to his turn. The cab driver looked at the address and looked back at him with a strange expression on his face.
"Don't you need some flowers?" the cab driver asked.
"Flowers for what?"
"You came to visit someone right? I was just giving you a suggestion! Sorry"
That was a long way drive to the destination. The current of the wind blow seemed to swift the taxi cab straight up the hill. Jungle of trees covered most of the area. While he was still in his thinking mode, he paid little or no attention to the bad weather. All he thought aboutwas his stranger and her identity.
The cab driver informed him that he had arrived. He looked out the window and he saw the big sign in front of the building: "Memory Lane Cemetery". He was completely shocked. He turned to the driver and said,
"Are you lost or you made a mistake?"
"Wrong address or somebody plays a trick on you? Sir, would you like me to help you find it?"
"Find what? Her grave? She is still alive!"
"I guess she lives or works here. Okay then I will wait for you here if you like."
The actor didn't care about the rain or getting himself wet. He stepped into the office and showed the man her name. Deep down inside his heart, he really hoped that she works here.
"She was buried last month. She requested to use her nick name instead."
"Lydia" The actor muttered.
"Would you like me to show her place to you?"
"Do you know when did she buy her space and plan her funeral?"
"About few years ago, when she realized her health started deteriorating. By the way what is your name Sir?"
"Why do you want to know?"
"Are you her friend?"
"No I don't even know her"
"She was a private person and she rarely talked to anyone. But I guess most of the writers behave the same way."
"She was a writer?"
"Yes, an author. I guess you don't know because you don't live in the States."
"Was she married?"
"No. Not at all. She had been waiting for someone for many years. That's all she told me. The last time I asked her, she had lost him. She had a package and asked me to deliver to one person if he comes to look for her. But it has to be the right person."
"Do you have any other name?"
The actor sighed.
The man gave him the small package, showed him to her place, and left.
Now he could feel the raindrops falling on him heavily. He looked at her name on the grave. He was so emotional and confused more than ever. He didn't know what to think. He wondered how she fitted in his life and about her identity. Obviously, she flew all the way from here to Beijing to look for him. There must have been a concrete reason. He had never seen her in his life until that night in the hospital. On the contrary, she seemed to know every single detail about his life. He believed her when she told him she was not one of his fans.
Back to his hotel room, holding the package, he hesitated to open it. But he realized the package would answer to all his questions. He ordered a bottle of wine to give him more strength and courage when he knew he was not supposed to have any alcohol.Her passing away had a big impact on him. The feeling was overwhelmed. He realized that he couldn't possibly in love with a total stranger that he just met a few times.
After a few sips of wine, he opened the package. It was wrapped cautiously with many layers. However, he was impatient enough so he just tore the wrapping apart at once. There were three things inside the package.
He took out the heaviest item an old antique gold heart locket. He pushed open the locket. There were two pictures, one on each side. The engraving on the locket said: I seem to have loved you life, after life, forever
The date on it was December, 1961. The locket was fifteen years ago, way before he was born.
The next item was an old piece of newspaper from 1961. The headline said: "Murder at Silent Sunset bara waitress was stabbed to death and her fiance ended his life with a gunpolice are investigating this tragic incident of Lydia Kant and her fianc Aloys Shen. The pictures Lydia and Aloys released by the police were identical to the ones in his nightmare.
The last item was a letter of his stranger addressed to him,
Last life, you made me promise to remember and to love you afterlife. You asked me not to forget you afterlife. I had promised you to remember and to love you forever.
This life, I remembered you and I had found you. This life, you had forgotten about me.
Last life you loved me and we were soul mates. This life, I had been your stranger.
I kept my promise to love you afterlife. But you had stopped loving me. You have failed to wait for me.
Last life we had shared our laughs and cries. Last life I have had all of you.
This life you terrified me with your coldness. This life I have lost you completely.
This life you have left me with an empty soul and you have left me nothing to live for.
This life there was no space for me in your heart.
I will no longer be suffered for I finally had accepted the true.
We only have one life to love and that one life had ended.
BY Brigitte Wynn.