The twists and turns of, fate, how this woman made the plans, but, fate stepped in, translated…
In a white lacy dress, with her hair straight, to shoulder-length, as she’d entered from the door, she’d sat down in front of me, stated, “Ms. I need a one-way airfare to London.”
In that era, when the e-ticket hadn’t been invented yet, the counter clerks of the travel agencies served the functions of the homepage of the travel agency websites, needed to have an assortment of skills, to understand all the knowledge there is, available to know, so we can, tailor to the needs of our, customers. And so, as she sat herself down, I was on the phone, with my fingers, tapping away on the keyboard, asked her to wait.
To keep my customers’ waiting not too bored, I’d, kept a cactus, which allowed my customers to look, to touch. She’d, looked upon the potted cactus with enthusiasm for a bit, started playing with that hanging décor on her Chanel bag.
Because the one-way airfares are more expensive, without the discounts, after I hung up the phones, I’d asked her why she’d only wanted a one-way airfare. She’d told me, “I’m marrying my fiancée in England, and won’t be returning back here anytime soon.” I’d flipped open her passport to book the flight for her, and glanced over at her date of birth, only twenty. I’d offered my blessings, “Congratulations!”, and this seemed to have gotten her enthusiastic in telling me her story.
Growing up in Hualien, she has indigenous ancestry, at the celebration of the tribe two years ago, she’d met her husband from England. He owns a textile mill, came to Taiwan, to understand the weaving methods, the artistic of the natives, and so, the elders of her tribe set up the visit, she, being the only one with a college education, tagged along as a translator. As her husband returned home, the two wrote to one another in letters, and fell madly in love. Two days ago, they were engaged, and readied themselves, for the return back to England.
“I liked calling him ‘daddy’, because he is older than my father.”, she’d smiled, and told me, “I didn’t care how others see him as! I love him, simply because he’d liked my identity, and loved my culture, and encouraged me to get into my favorite subject, history after we married, he’d made me feel free, to be, me!”
That feeling of being moved, and blessing filled up my heart then. I’d stopped what I was doing, and focused on listening to her, sharing her joys. Before she’d paid the fees, she’d left the visa, her passport, and her plane ticket, said in a musical tone, “let me know when the visa’s ready!”
Four days later, the visa was approved, but I’d, tried calling her the whole day, nobody answered. Seeing how the departure date was in three days, I’d waited on, anxiously. Two days passed, a man called me back, stated in his Chinese that wasn’t, fluent enough, “Vivian’s dead”. It was like thunder and lightning striking at the same time, hard for me to believe. The man continued, “after she’d left the travel agency, she’d gone on a cab, the driver ran a red light, and she’d, died on impact, they couldn’t, save her.”, then, the gentle sobbing came into my ears, my eyes turned red, and tears started coming, my hands, trembled, couldn’t make a word out. Don’t know how much longer it was, the man came back on, stated, “after the forty-nine days worth of offerings, I’ll come to get the visa.”
It was the year I was twenty-four, the very first time, I’d felt, how unpredictable, how short life can become, and I couldn’t, stop myself from crying.
A week later, the man showed up, looking really weakened. The travel agency decided to give a refund back. The man said thank you, asked me, “are you the last person she saw that day? How did she appear on that day? Happy?”
Returned back to how she’d looked that day, I’d told the man from my memories, that innocence of a young child, playing with the decoration, how focused she was, in observing the cactus I have on my desk, how her eyes filled with, joys, and hope, and also, expectations too………………
And so, this, is how unpredictable life can be, this woman made the plans for her life, and yet, fate stepped in, and took her life, and, there’s no right or wrong, it just, is, and, yet, the travel agency worker was able to, see her joys, and shared the woman’s moment of expectation, of dreams of her life in the future with her husband from England, and now, it all, ended, way, too soon…