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December 8, 2004

Posted by anoddphrase in Uncategorized.

(bah… silly english class :P)



Ms. Hendricks

English¡ªBlock C

December 5, 2004


Sunrise at Tian¡¯anmen



            The sound of the recorded school bell that rings every afternoon at the end of classes rang.  Once.  Twice.

            Dum¡­ Dum, Dum, Dum¡­ DUM, DUM! DUM! DUMMMM¡­

            My hand shot out to slip the white iron curliques at the headboard of my bed before my eyes were even open to take in the dark blue, black light that still filled the air of the night.  Fingers curling around the small annoying devices that was vibrating excitingly on the desk table behind me, I yanked it to my ear, pressing the glowing green button, ¡®On¡¯.

            ¡°I hate you.¡±

            A low, sleep-rough voice chuckled on the other end.  ¡°Are you coming or not?¡±  I gave a prolonged, pained groan in response, and rolled over to stuff my head in my pillow.  ¡°Well?¡±

            ¡°Of course I¡¯m coming.¡±  My voice was muffled in the pillow.  ¡°I¡¯m insane, remember?¡±

            The chuckle sounded again.  ¡°Okay, well, I¡¯ll see you at 5.¡±

            I pulled up my head from the pillow, shoving a hand in my sleep-puffed hair, and kicking off the covers from my warm cocooned legs.  ¡°Well, it¡¯s¡­¡± I squinted for a moment at the dark letters of my alarm clock, ¡°4:35 right now, and since it takes me about 15 minutes to get ready and about 30 minutes to get to your house, I¡¯m probably going to be a little late¡­¡±

            ¡°Well, hurry up.¡±  I grumbled something that sounded vaguely like another ¡®I hate you¡¯, which got another laugh in response.  And then he hung up.

            Another ten minutes later (record time), I was bundled up, scarved and buttoned to the chin against the cold night air, which seemed to still pervade the layers of wool armor wrapped up around me and send a chill of goosebumps up my forearms as I threw my leg over my ancient, pink and rusted bicycle¡ªquite possibly from the Cultural Revolution Era.  The permanently tilted basket, filled with my heavy Chinese books, rattled noisily over the newly installed cobblestones of my apartment qu Çø, but I ignored it until I pulled past the lonely white light in the security guard rostrum at the gate.  Lifting a hand for a wave to the green-uniformed guy huddled inside, I pumped the pedals of my bike and headed down the dark, empty four-laned street beside my apartment building.  The darkened, sleeping windows of cars lined the road on both sides, echoing the windows of the buildings that shot out above them.  And the faint yellow street light at the end of the road stared lonesomely out into the still-night space, waiting for someone to acknowledge its presence by passing it by.

            I sped past it all, feeling the frost tingle the insides of my lungs before seeing it form in dark grey clouds in the air in front of me as I exhaled.  When I hit the open space between buildings, in the far distance I could see the neon signs of San Li Tun or some other night-life area, but as soon as I entered back into the forest of five-story xiao chi shops darkness prevailed once again.  Against the dark blue sky, I could see the faint blackened silhouettes of buildings and the occasional bristled outlines of a tree, but mostly I concentrated on distinguishing the various shades of black on the road ahead of me.

            Surreptitious slants of yellow appeared on the sidewalks, radiating out into the dark so that a shadow could walk across it, slow and sleep-filled.  The rattling and soft hiss of a truck grumblingly made its way up behind me and I swerved right, out of its way, letting it pass.  And the sky lightened slowly.  The very top of it, above me and to my far left¡ªthe sky of the East¡ªwas becoming a very light blue.  The shadows in front of me were lightening to a very dark grey, and I managed to dodge a pothole, instead of joggling through it.

            A faint white seeped onto the horizon as I hung a left into the hu-tongs by Houhai, screeching shortly to a stop in front of a shadowy figure donned in Red Guard get-up.  The figure swung a leg onto his bike before I even got the chance to set a foot on the ground.

            ¡°C¡¯mon¡ªwe gotta hurry if we want to make it to Tian¡¯anmen before sunrise!¡±   He called over his shoulder.

            My laugh echoed off the enclosed walls of the hu-tong and in the lightening darkness, and I shoved off, racing the sunrise to Tian¡¯anmen Square.



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