A True Story Embellished with a Lie or Three
By Bill Longworth
Feb. 13, 2008
Love can creep into your life at the most unexpected of times. You never know when it will happen, but when it happens, you'll know.
I was the “good luck” charm, and so I was asked to accompany my favorite Chinese student to write one of her National Exams, which is a pastime for most Chinese students who exhibit an extraordinary ambition to acquire more and more academic credentials.
As I had hours to kill, I brought a book and arranged to sit surrounded by huge rugged man-made rock structures in a secluded section of a nature park close to the examination center.
The book got the better of me, and so it wasn’t long before I dozed off under my scrubby ball hat hiding most of my unshaven face from the blasting sun. With the sweaty bike ride to get there, my dusty jeans and “T” shirt, I must have been quite a sight.
Had Canadian Embassy officials seen me that morning, I’m sure that they would have wanted me to turn the flag crested shirt inside out so that I couldn’t be recognized as a Canadian who was probably bringing disrepute to the entire nation.
I don’t know how long I was asleep before I felt a tap on my shoulder. Looking up I saw the most beautiful Chinese woman I had ever seen standing over me. I wondered if I had not yet woken up and was still in the dream.
The guy with her, obviously a photographer because of the huge professional-looking camera he was lugging, gestured for permission to get a picture of me. Of course I acquiesced, always wanting to be a model of co-operation in this society that seemed to be marked by overt politeness everywhere.
At that, the girl disappeared into a nearby washroom and came back with a fancy and colourful dress, huge hat, high heel shoes, and without hesitation plopped herself on my knee.
I felt for sure that I must be having some heavenly dream as the photographer proceeded to snap dozens of shots as the girl kept rearranging herself on my knee. I kept pinching myself to check that this was not a dream. It wasn’t!
The girl periodically left for a few minutes each time to return with another colourful outfit. Each time she threw her arms around me and continued to dance her bottom across my knee.
It eventually became apparent that she was a model and my unshaven Anglo Saxon features gave a desirable dimension of rugged North American individualism to the shots.
I hoped that the “shoot” would never end, an impossible wish. But even today, I regularly sit in parks with a book hoping to fall asleep, once again to be awakened by a princess wanting to dance across my knee.
So what do you think is the lie?
The whole story is true…but it’s so unbelievable that I cannot believe that I was there and it all happened to me.
I’ve always wondered how the experience might have changed had I been presentable that day. Would she still have stopped? More importantly, would she have left after the shoot was over?
Was I the good luck charm? If I was indeed awake, I must have been the good luck charm for myself, and hopefully, I was just as lucky for the Chinese test writer who was counting on me that day.
They say love is fleeting...but this was a love whose memories will remain with me always.