You would never believe, what I felt for her – not if you consider the way we met. I hope nobody ever reads this. I was only fourteen... the last year went past like nothing else, it seems forever since ... I met her.
I should start at the beginning, if this is supposed to take me anywhere. It was a few weeks after my fourteenth birthday, actually, and we had an unusual large dinner at home. I was quietly munching my rice, having my mind set on the martial arts competition last week in which an obvious weakling had cunningly tricked and defeated me. I felt bad about it, because I was the better one and my defeat was beyond any honor. I had not left very gracefully. No way I was born to be something special, the way I was fighting. I’d have to work on this a lot more, if I wanted to achieve anything. And, yes, I wanted to! I wanted to be strong and manly. Let’s just say, I never even considered that marriage could help me on my way up. Women had always been either in my way or stayed out of it. Big deal, I didn’t mind.
Yet, I felt two pairs of eyes locked on my rice-eating traditions and wondered whether it was something about my manners. I grumpily kept on eating, hating being stared at like this. While I was observing myself I found that my eating manners were perfectly normal. Disturbed by the constant staring I looked up at my parents.
“Wufei,” my mother that smiling, “this is a special day.”
I raised an eyebrow and shoveled another load of rice from the bowl and into my mouth. As long as they didn’t tell me I’d have a sister in short time, I could perfectly live with anything.
“Indeed, Wufei-chan,” my father added. I stopped chewing for a second. Wufei-chan? What was wrong with these guys? I looked at them perfectly stunned and totally forgetting that I should restart chewing my dinner. Dull eyes blinked at my parents. Smiling eyes blinked back. I have to admit their surreal joy was already getting on my nerves.
“You will be married soon. Mom and I picked a beautiful wife for you.”
I was about to cough my rice onto the table, but swallowed it in a gulp instead. “WHAT?”
“You will like her, she is perfect for you,” mom said, still upsetting me with an infinite, joyful smile.
“She can’t be, she is a girl!” I protested. I didn’t really know what to be – angry, surprised, nervous? My jaws practically dropped onto the table, as I shoveled my bowl aside to stare at my parents freely. What had come into their minds? Marry? To an onna? It was just impossible. I’d have to care about her, I’d have to be able to maintain a house with .. well, money. My parents were about to dump me into a cold-iced life. Did I have any say in this at all?
“Wufei, I am sure you’ll make a cute couple,” Mom smiled.
CUTE? I was not cute! I was a man, a warrior, a fighter. How could I be cute? What were they trying? Insult me more than try to convince me. Convince? I wasn’t about to be convinced! “By Whatever-you-may-believe-in, I am fourteen, I am not going to get married.” Wait? Had I just said that? Had I just claimed I was too young to get married, to much a boy to be a husband? These two guys were totally messing me up.
“Wufei, we made a decision,” my father said earnestly. Ah! Now we got to where this was leading – I was already sold, sort of. I paled, looking at them with some sort of fright. It was a moment, I could not hide my weaknesses. I knew it was tradition to get picked a wife, but I didn’t know this could happen any day of my – admittingly – young life. And even less did I know there was no turning back. I had perfectly lost my appetite.
“A decision...” I repeated, “So I am set?”
Hi grunted, and yanked myself out of the chair. “When’s she coming?” I asked with a perfectly monotone voice, not even implying how shaken I was. Maybe I could scare that girl to death, and there would not be a marriage. What dishonorable shame would that bring to my house? It was a conflict in my mind – I didn’t want to get married, and I didn’t want to act dishonorably or unjust towards anyone. My parents had the right to pick a wife for me, but I wondered whether this husband was a good idea for any wife, though. I wouldn’t make a great husband, someone weaker would have to suffer being so closely connected to me. I turned around to the door, my teeth clenched lightly. It was a trap. A trap into marriage, and my parents had very well set it.
“Tomorrow, Meiran will be here with her parents,” my father said, his voice slightly harsh. Meiran, so that was her name. Well, I shouldn’t care, I should rather think of a way to get rid of her as soon as possible. What did I care about women, and I didn’t even want to know why they cared about me. I opened the door and made it for the back of the garden.
“Wufei!” dead called sinisterly, “I expect you to be properly dressed and behave. I don’t want you to bring disgrace to our household. Did you understand me?”
“Yes, father,” I resigned. He had got me, I hated being known so well. No, I wouldn’t dare to disgrace this house. How could I? I had no right to, I couldn’t justify such an act. Due to traditions, they could justify theirs, though. How I hated traditions. I was a fighter, but weak against such standards. I grabbed for my katana and went into the garden for some practice. If anything gives me good ideas, it is training my abilities. I can think when I am moving the sword or simply my limps. I can fall deep into something like a trance and search for reason and meaning. I could calm down and work down my anger with the weapon, whenever I was in need to. Here I was meeting a big challenge, though.
Traditionally I stripped off my jacket before I started my training. Yes, I respected traditions, maybe that was my problem. To make it brief, I did not find a solution for my problem. I hate having no power, I hate being beaten by something stronger. It leaves me dubious about myself, about my strength. I wondered whether there would always be something defeating me form above.
I was properly dressed the next day, but I surely let the boy hang out of me, looked grumpily at my parents, and stated clearly, that I did not want to meet her or her parents. “Why can’t I make desicions on my own? I am old and strong enough!”
“Because only we know what is best for you!”
My father and I picked a million of these fights that day. Maybe I just tried to be grumpy and childish enough to make them think their plan over. Unfortunately, the doorbell rang at some point and told me clearly, that what I had called my life before, was over. There would be a different life from now on. Chang Wufei – the married man? The thought stroke me coldly as I sat down with a chair in front of the window and waited. I’d have loved to have my katana right now, but I was defenseless. What weak thoughts were coming upon me... Marriage seemed such an unusual challenge, one shouldn’t expect it to have so much influence, but in a few moments I would encounter with the rest of my life. I had not even lived yet.
The wooden framed glass pane behind me was shoveled aside, and people entered. I didn’t turn away from the window. There’d be some onna I had never met before, and I couldn’t do anything to get rid of her. If these people were honorable, they would at least give me this moment to enjoy or prepare, or whatever I needed it for. From here on, traditions did not lead the way. From here on, things could perfectly run out of hand, especially with me on the edge of my nerves. Frankly, I was nervous, not one of my strongest features. The door shoveled close again, nobody had even spoken a word.
“Wufei-san,” a young, almost childish voice addressed me timidly. I admitted, her voice was quite nice, and I liked how she said my name, but she still was some girl I didn’t know and I didn’t want to know. I felt her come up behind me, and tried to explain the most grumpy face ever. Her silhouette appeared in the windowpane. She was a slender figure, smaller than myself, wearing a long red kimono. It was all I could make out in the window. A hand laid down on my shoulder. Gently and carefully, so I couldn’t oppose her. Wicked onna!
She had never met me before, either, as far as I know. She surely wanted to see me, to see whether she could live with me all around. Was it really righteous for me to display my most gloomy and sinister face towards someone so much weaker, and scare her off from the guy she had to marry. After all she was in the same position. I let my face rest to piece and succumbed to a gentle pull on my shoulder, turning around.
At this point, my memory fades into slow-motion. I remember sitting there, turning around in what seemed to be an endless moments. A million thoughts shot through my head, as I turned to what would be my wife in short time. I looked directly into her face. Or to be exact, I looked into the dark brown eyes of a soft and pale-skinned young girl. Her long, black hair was in some sort of bun, secured with two long wooden sticks. She had the smoothest and softest skin I had ever seen on a woman, the most piercing eyes and a smile, that broke anything I had set up before. I felt as if I had known her forever and at the same time, I felt as if I could have never seen something so unique before. Unique? Beautiful...! Simply beautiful. I slowly got up from my chair, not breaking the eye lock.
She was a girl, how could she be so – different? She smiled until I stood in front of her, a bit taller than she was. This person seemed so surreal to me. She couldn’t be real!
“Hello, I am Meiran,” she said, as if she was an angel, trusting me enough to reveal it’s secret name...
“Chang Wufei...” I answered, still only watching. I still couldn’t quite grasp it. It didn’t even come to my mind, that this was supposed to be the meeting before marriage – that this dark-haired angel was supposed to be mine. She gracefully looked at me, her head tilted back a little.
“I was afraid of this moment,” she said, “But I am not anymore. I read in you, that you are an honorable man, who will care and treat me well.”
I was honorable? It reminded me of that disturbing marriage thing.