An Eye from the Tree (Excerpt)
An Eye from the Tree
Dragging his weary feet, he came into the yard.
The yard is one heritage from his grandfather who also left an old elm tree in the front of the yard. It is said that the tree was planted by his great great grandfather and it has been alive for several, dozen or even more centuries. Some records about the tree may be found when the history books at home are checked because the elm tree is really unusual. On one hand, with thick leaves, the old tree has manifold trunks in coarseness which slant out and interlock with one another; some trunks grow straightly while some others embrace so closely that they cannot be clearly differentiated from each other. On the other hand, some new trunks grow from old ones that make the elm tree present various postures and push down its neck. It seems that the crouched elm tree is telling its tiredness.
Recently, he felt that an eye grew from the old elm tree, so he was afraid to directly look at the tree. The eye was grey blue and it looked as if it was his own eye. However, how could his eye strangely run from him and hang on the tree? Then he carefully felt about his nose sides and his eyes to ensure their soundness on the face. After that, he relaxed himself, and pushed open the door and entered.
“That should be someone’s eye.”He thought. But the eye on the tree cried after him, “I am your eye. Do not escape from me.” Putting forth his strength to close tightly the door, he covered his ears hurriedly and confusedly and stood up to the door with his ass to prevent the eye chasing.
“That should be someone’s eye.” He incoherently said to himself.
“What did you say?” His wife asked when she took him a bowl of soup. Maybe she was trying to poison me? He doubted his wife at that moment and scanned his wife’s face swiftly. Soon he felt guilty for his unreasonable speculation, and immediately gave a smile to refrain from his wife perception.
He asked a piece of bread from his wife and twirled it with his hand. Bread scraps were keeping falling.
“Try it. It is sweet”. His wife swobbled.
He bit the bread piece. To conceal his suspection, he chomped. When his wife turned around for soup, he glanced out of the window, finding that the tree was hiding in the darkness as if a spirit.
“Ha-ha-ha-ha”, the eye turned white and vibrated to him in pride and arrogance.
“What did you look?” His wife asked.
“Nothing, nothing”. He kept looking outside.
“What’s there outside?” His wife walked close and looked outside with him. He stopped her and pushed her back to her seat.
“Nothing there. I am thinking… thinking what kind of skirt I will buy for you.” He told his wife seriously.
“Wow, darling, you are so nice to me!” His wife hung on his neck and kissed him, regardless of her greasy hands.
He kissed back. He fondled her round shoulders with both hands, and kissed her hair with his eyes closed. To his disgust firstly, he gradually found a plump girl appear in front of him. The girl had small eyes that always smiled as crescent moon. As a mail clerk at his school, at every 10:30 a.m., she would carry a couple of newspaper, push away his office door, stretch forward half-body, and greet him with a smile, “Teacher Zhang, your newspaper.”
She never came in his office, so the half-body stretching forward and that smile brought forth more charm to him. She was like a mystery. Sitting in his office, he often imagined her various eye expressions and movements. Today, he pondered over the question all the time, which kind of skirt fits the plump girl?
“Yeah, which kind of skirt?” Still keeping his eyes closed, he asked while kissing his wife.
“Darling, red skirt please.” His wife answered loudly.
“Ah?!” He opened his eyes as if he woke up from a dream. He quickly glanced out of the window and hurriedly withdrew his eyes. Then he affably hugged the woman in front of him.
The woman- his wife, very pretty and capable. Since they got married for several years, he has been reminding himself, that is, I have my wife. However, he couldn’t remember any conversation between him and his wife. That his wife is a woman was enough for his marriage.
The plump girl was a mystery and her eyes were always smiling.
“I never thought of the plump girl. Who is she?
“He told himself while lying beside his wife. The curtain was pulled on and the tree could not be seen, so he believed himself. Then he went to sleep with his eyes peacefully closed.
Night, a jasmine flower in delicate fragrance, was light and quiet.
Finally, he went into street and bought a dress, which he did not tell his wife. The dress was in red and a slice of golden light. Moreover, he bought a bottle of senior sweet perfume and sprayed it on the dress which was covered by the fragrant flower.
Carefully, he cautiously held the dress and went towards a cabin.
The cabin was built by wood blocks. There was a round carved net window under the roof in black spire style. The door next to the window was also round. There was a small round bridge along the way. While passing by the bridge, he saw himself on the water, feeling confused at a brand-new clothes on himself. More surprisingly, he wore a formal hat. How could I explain if the school chief saw me in this way? Whatever, let go of the trivial things.
In no time, he walked through the small round bridge, shoving the small round door. The plump girl was lying on a big bed, sleeping loudly. Her half-body was covered by a silk quilt and her closed eyes were still smiling. The plump breasts were reflecting sunshine.
Afraid of waking her, he crept past her and covered her with the red dress. Standing by her, his face was shining radiant splendor as if he drank up a cup of mellow wine. Then he piously knelt down and kissed her gently.
All of a sudden, a black loop drooped down, circling his head straight to his heel. His blood was cold. He felt that every finger was imprisoned and the whole body could not move at all.
Given that his soul was in crime, he did not want to break the black loop. Sitting up and holding his arms, he glimpsed at the elm tree out of the window. The eye on the tree turned black on the morning.
“Hee hee hee hee” The eye nodded smilingly to him. He broke out in cold sweat and sat there with limbs stiff.
“Wake up?” His wife took off her apron and came along.
He kept his body unmoved.
“What’s wrong?” His wife looked at him.
“Who ask you to pull open the curtain? Close it!”
He cried angrily and lied down, hooding his head.
His wife pulled back the curtain and quietly came over, touching his forehead.
“You seem to have a fever. So much sweat.” She said to him softly.
“It may be a hot cold.” Seeing the curtain closed, he relaxed and said affirmatively, “I had a little cold yesterday.” He was sure that it may be true.
Yesterday, he gave a lecture about Lao Zhuang- the person admired by him. He talked to thirst, and a student passed a cup of cold water to him. He drank up the water and quenched his thirst. However, what did it relate to the hot cold? Thinking of it, he shut his mouth though he intended to confess to his wife. He did not need to explain the cold to his wife, let alone himself. Besides, it was not certain that he got hot cold.
His wife took him a cup of hot water and asked him to take the organic cold medicine. His heart settled down as soon as the medicine was taken.
It’s 8 o’clock. It’s time for work. He opened the yard and the old elm tree nodded to him.
“I had no dream last night.” He said to the eye.
“Hee, hee…” The eye replied.
After walking by the elm tree, he joined the morning surge of people on the street.
“Indeed I had no dream last night.” He explained to himself while walking. Nobody noticed him as everyone on the street was busy going to work.
Entering his office, the headmaster strangely looked at him. At least he thought so. He bowed to the headmaster, which frightened him.
“Are you insane?” The headmaster shouted.
“I swear that I had no dream last night.” He cried tearfully.
“You mean the dream? Ha ha ha ha, I dream a lot and had a good dream last night.” Having a look at his watch, the headmaster stopped the topic. “Well, your students are waiting for you. Let’s talk later.”
Talk later? His heart jumped dramatically. Talk later? What about? Confess myself? As a teacher at 49, I had been devoting to teaching and never made mistakes. He picked up the book and went to the classroom out of his senses.
“Morning, Teacher Zhang.” The sweet voice flied over and the smiling eyes appeared in front of him.
“I, I want to talk to you. Are you, you ok?” Somehow he was tongue-tied.
The girl nodded smilingly and ran away.
The sunset was quite charming. Few people were at the campus. The willow was presenting tenderness. The plump girl was waiting for him under a tree. After a long time, he walked out of the door with his black leather wallet. He just dared to come out when there was few people at the school. He looked around in all directions and then came over.
“Really, I had no dream last night.”
“Do not believe me? I have been upright and joined Chinese Communist Party at 19. I am not malicious at you.”
“My God! What are you talking about?” The plump girl turned around and ran away.
He just stayed there blankly, cold and chilled.
He did not go home step by step until it was dark. At the door, hearing of leaves whisper, he felt blood frozen and went into the house with eyes closed.
His wife cooked ginger soup and sat at the table waiting for him. He looked out of the window and looked at his wife, finding that his wife laugh to shed crocodile tears.
“What about your cold? Have some ginger soup.” His wife held the bowl to feed him.
“Is it ginger?”
“What did you ask? Smell it and you know it.”
He found again that the woman in front of him is good, gentle and considerate. He should not have that dream. But he did not want it. For the sake of god, who can prove it?
He took over the ginger soup and had a mouth.
The wind began to blow. His hand shook and the bowl was broken on the floor.
“Pull on the curtain.” He said mechanically.
His wife helped him to the bed, and pulled back the curtain, and closed the window.
“Sleep early.” His wife comforted him.
He sat and loosed his clothes, looking fixedly at the bed and dared not to lie down.
“I had no dream, indeed.” He repeated.
“Yeah, dreaming is too tired. Take a good rest.”
He lied down under the calm of his wife.
It was raining. Numerous rain feet that were like a mighty force overstepped the window lattice. The eye on the tree turned pale, craftily climbed on the window, growing into countless ones that were hopping.
Although he almost believed that he had no dream, the eyes kept reminding him of the dream.
“Pa-”The wind blew open the window and he sat up nervously.
Out of the window, lightening was flashing and thunder was rumbling. The eyes were dancing happily in the lightening.
“Hahaha…Hahaha…” The eyes were singing.
Getting out of the bed, he searched the floor for a long time. Finally he found out a very old iron saw. He quietly opened the door.
He broke into the rain and ran to the elm tree.
“I had no dream at all !” He shouted.
Suddenly, there appeared a splendid world. In the darkness, the naked Adam and Eve were kissing in the bushes. Adam was himself and Eve turned out to be the plump girl. He was startled by the scene.
His wife ran after him.
“What’s the matter?”
“No. That is a dream.” He pointed to the front.
“What dream?” His wife absentmindedly looked at the dark night. “Get into the house quickly.”
“Dream? Oh, no, no. I had no dream. I saw nothing！”He shouted.
“Hahahaha, hehehe” The eyes were laughing forward and backward.
He grabbed the saw and started to saw the old elm tree.
“Oh, My God! It is an old tree. It cannot be sawed.” His wife cried out, but could not move him anyway.
The rain was rushing the earth and rushing the earth.
Tomorrow is possibly still a peaceful day. Who would know what happened in the night, except for the eyes?
Editor: Sun Su