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一个Memory

by Christopher Oliver

2014

I arrived in Linyi, Shandong

Situated in north eastern China

I had fled austerity in the UK

Running into the Chinese countryside -

Beset with rapid industrialization

Thousands of cranes assembling tower blocks

One of which I lived in, on the 26th floor

High up in the scorched sky

Looking out onto the grey concrete city expanse

在临沂, 我每天找不到中国人朋友

不是-男朋友,没问题-男朋友说-“爆炸头! 你踢足球吗?

加油!好球,好球!

女朋友-很难

我说- “你好吗? 认识你很高兴“

她说 - “你好, 你是黑色人吗”

Laughter aids communication at the limits of language

I call on my hands and face

Mouthing, gesturing

“不好意思, 我的普通话说的不好”

“不是,挺好的”

Over 10 million people live in this region

I became attracted to a young Ghanaian woman in my block

One of many Africans living locally

Set in motion by China — Africa trade deals

It was her birthday so she invited me to have cake down by the river

We took selfies by a bridge with an overhanging willow tree

Suddenly she turns and kisses me on the lips

Surprised, I stumble backwards

She laughs

I hadn’t experienced such intimacy since arriving in Linyi

I look down and notice the concrete floor under my feet

A stage!

I look up

Pulling her lips close

I break into song:

你问我爱你有多深,

我爱你有几分.

我的情也真,

我的爱也真,

月亮代表我的心…

Mid song she lifts her phone up

Capturing us kissing side on

She tells me my light coloured skin is popular on Instagram