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Rob Radboud

www.barbarayung.nl

Barbara Yung's life in England

 

One Friday evening I went to a party alone. It was Friday therefore Barbara had to work, she couldn't come. I didn't matter that much, I was used to going alone to parties. When I am at a party I always start in the kitchen. The kitchen is the place where everybody eventually comes, it was easy to make contact there. If I get fed up talking to a certain person, I can easily slip away, pretending that I only came to the kitchen to get a drink.

This party was organized by some of our Chinese friends. If I remember rightly I was the only not Chinese there. There was also a girl there who I had never seen before, she wasn't one of the students of the CCAT. I started talking to her (in the kitchen), we could really get on well together. Sometimes I get that, I start talking to someone I never met before and it just clicks. Somehow we are on the same wavelength and conversation just goes, no awkward silences and everything said seems to trigger new stories from both sides. This also happened with this girl. She was very cheerful, laughed a lot, full of energy. I can't remember her name. I can remember that she was 17 years old, had 4 sisters, no brothers and her family owned a Chinese take away, her father was known as a heavy gambler.

The whole evening we stayed together, talking and dancing. My friends noticed that we liked each other. Several times they interfered with our conversation and started talking about Barbara. Or when we danced they came dancing beside us and reminded me of a girl called Barbara, by shouting very hard in my ear with a low voice 'BARBARA!'. Beside the talking and dancing nothing further happened. We didn't arrange to see each other again, we didn't exchange addresses and I didn't ask her telephone number. For me it was just a very pleasant evening.

Barbara decided that she wanted to celebrate her 19th birthday with a big party. A party where all the guests would have a nice meal together and then there be a opportunity to dance. She invited all her Asian friends, most of them were the members of the Asian society. It must have been about 60 people. Barbara rented the largest Chinese restaurant of Cambridge , The Pagoda. The funny thing was that she insisted that I would pay the bill, but she also insisted that it would be with her money. She would give me the money beforehand and then I pay with a cheque from my bank account. At that moment I didn't understand why she wanted this. Of course did the restaurant owner later tell Barbara's mother that I payed for the party. The only comment her mother made was 'he must have had too much money'.

Barbara organized everything precisely as she wanted it to be. She decided the menu, negotiated with the restaurant owner, organized the music, made the invitations. She didn't want me to get involved. It was going to be her party.

Everything went as planned. Barbara got all the attention, she was the shining centre of the party. I sat next to her, not feeling very comfortable. Two opposites again. I am a person who normally likes to stay in the background, out of the picture. Barbara even sang spontaneously a duet of Chinese traditional loves song with another girl. This was the second and last time that I ever saw Barbara perform in public.

After the meal Barbara was very busy entertaining the guest. She obviously had no time for me. I didn't feel like sitting all evening next to Barbara, I am a restless type, I like to be able to walk around at parties. I got bit bored as nearly everybody spoke Chinese, therefore I decided to wonder around a bit. While doing this I saw the girl from the previous party again. I hadn't noticed her before. She was sitting alone near the dance floor. I went to set next to her and immediately we started talking again. We chatted and laughed together like we had known each other for years. I think we been talking for quite a while when one the girls came to me and said: 'there is something wrong with Barbara, you better go and see her'.

At a distance I saw that Barbara was surrounded by a few girlfriends, she was very distressed all in tears. When I reached her, the girlfriends quickly left us alone. I was startled seeing Barbara like this. I had never witnessed this before. Before she was so cheerful, happy, radiating, strong and in control. And now all of this was gone, tears, timid, looking so vulnerable, even humble. She told me that seeing me like that with that girl, she thought that this was the end of our relation and she just snapped, she couldn't control her emotions.

I supposed I ruined Barbara's birthday party. Most of the guest must have thought badly of me, but that didn't bother me. What I learned that evening and which I had never had realized before, was that my behavior had such an impact on Barbara emotions. I realized that Barbara was much more delicate than I ever had thought . I knew that in the future I had to be very careful in my contact with other girls.
And that girl from the party? I never heard of her or seen her again.

 

 

生日聚会

一个星期五晚上,我一个人去了一个聚会。因为是星期五,美玲得工作,她不能来。我没怎么介意,我习惯了一个人去参加聚会。我去聚会的话先去厨房,每个人最终都会来厨房的,这里比较容易跟人聊天。而且,如果我不再想跟某个人继续谈下去,可以假装只是来厨房找杯喝的,很容易就可以溜走。

这个聚会是由一些我们的华人朋友组织的。如果我没记错的话,我是那里的唯一一个非华人。那晚有一个女孩我以前没见过的,她不是CCAT的学生。我开始跟她聊天(在厨房里),我们相处得很愉快。我知道了,我有时会跟一个从未见过面的人聊天,会擦出火花的,我们很合拍,聊天聊得很通畅,没有令人尴尬的沉默,每说一件事都激发我们双方畅谈的欲望。这种情况就发生在我和那个女孩之间了,那个女孩兴致很高,经常大笑,充满能量。我不记得她的名字了,我记得她十七岁,有四个姊妹,没有兄弟,她家里是做中餐外卖的,她的父亲非常好赌。

整个聚会我们都 待在一起,聊天,跳舞。我的朋友注意到我们互相喜欢对方,有几次他们打断我们的谈话,说起美玲。或者当我们跳舞的时候,他们也在我们身边跳,在我耳边大叫一声,然后小声说:美玲,以此提醒我还有个叫美玲的女孩。其实我和那个女孩除了聊天和跳舞,并没有再进一步。我们没有打算再见面,我们没有互相交换地址,我也没问她的电话号码,对我来说那只是一个非常愉快的夜晚,仅此而已。

美玲决定,为了庆祝她的十九岁生日办一个大型聚会,请所有的客人都来享受美食,然后跳舞。她邀请了她所有的亚裔朋友,大部分都是亚裔学生协会的。美玲租了剑桥的最大的中餐馆-----佛教宝塔,请了大概60个客人。最搞笑 的是
美玲坚持我付帐单,她给钱,就是她会提前把她的钱给我,然后我用我的银行帐号的支票付帐单。当时我并不明白,她为什么这样做。后来才知道,理所当然地那个被租的中餐馆老板告诉了美玲的母亲我付的帐单,她妈妈只是说:那他一定是有太多钱了。

美玲按照自己的意愿精细安排了整个聚会。她安排菜单,跟餐馆老板协商,安排播放的音乐,做邀请卡,她不想让我参与,这将是她的生日聚会。

一切按照计划进行得很顺利,美玲吸引了每个人的注意,她是全场的闪亮中心。我坐在她旁边,觉得有点不舒服。我们是两个极端,我是喜欢在人群中默默无闻做背景的,美玲甚至跟另一个女孩自告奋勇合唱了一首中文的传统爱情歌曲。这是我第二次也是最后一次看着美玲在公众面前表演。

吃过饭后,美玲忙着招呼客人。很明显她没时间陪我,我也不喜欢整晚坐在美玲旁边,无所事事,我是闲不住那类的,我喜欢在聚会时到处走。再说几乎每个人都在讲粤语,这让我有点儿闷,因此我到处逛一下。就在这时我看到上次聚会时见到的那个女孩,早先没注意到她也来了,她独自一人坐在跳舞区旁边,我走过去坐在她旁边,我们又开始聊天。我们聊啊,笑啊,好象我们彼此认识了很多年了。我想我们可能聊了不短的时间,这时有个女孩走过来跟我说:美玲有点不妥,你最好去看看她。

远远地我看到美玲被几个女孩围着,哭得很伤心。我一走过去,她的女朋友们都很快离开,只剩我们俩。这是我第一次见美玲这样,我从没亲眼见过她这样。她以前都是很高高兴兴,开开心心,散发光芒而且坚强冷静,现在这所有的一切都消失了,眼泪、胆怯、脆弱,甚至自卑。她告诉我她看到我与那个女孩,她以为我们之间完了,突然地就控制不住情绪了。

我应该是搞砸了美玲的生日聚会。大部分的客人都觉得我不好,不过那并没有干扰我。我在那天晚上知道了一件事,也是我以前从未意识到的,就是我的行为举止对美玲的情绪会有这么大的影响。我知道以后我必须得谨慎地跟其他女孩接触。

至于聚会上的那个女孩?我从那以后再也没见过或听过她的消息。
(translated by Julia)

 

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