This one was another story told to me- but it's probably my own invention, considering that it was told to me in Chinese. Yeah...the speaker insisted it was 'learning', I considered it 'torture', and after about eight tries he sighed the popular "Slow American" excuse and taught me a few words. For more of my rambling- on historical stuff- feel free to ask!
Black ink was splattered all over the pool deck in Zhongnanhai, covering a stack of papers and books and seeping into the water to create a floating smear of diluted gray.
The black spiraled its way around a pair of muscled calves- those of a Japanese soldier, Takori, with his uniform cuffs rolled up and his brown-encrusted bayonet tossed carelessly aside. His hair was dripping with sweat from the pursuit and the steamy atmosphere in the room, though it was slowly fading as he wiped it away. There was no use worrying any longer, for Chairman Zedong was gone without a trace.
[Chairman Zedong was hiding in the pool shed amidst nets and barrels of chlorine, but he had not been there for long.]
The Chairman had been to Wuhan the day before to give his wife’s new child to his brother-in-law, who was supposed to take good care of it until China was calmed and The Enemy was gone.
The brother-in-law had decided to hide the girl somewhere in the nearby village of Chaoxiang, where the rain never falls (and still has not, to this day)- he had left in the middle of the night, and began to travel back at sunrise, where he had had his throat slit on the road by the very soldier who now sat with his feet dangling in Mao’s swimming pool.
No one had ever found where he had put the child, and she was found in a haystack perhaps a day later by a peasant family. They named her Xiaofan, which means ‘little ordinary’- and that was what she was.
Xiaofan looked down at her feet, which were bony and stained with mud. She had attempted to comb her hair for the occasion, but had decided to play tag with Tao right before being dragged to the center of the village, where the Communists had parked their automobiles in a ragged line.
Chairman Zedong had each of the girls, of approximately ten years old line up in front of him (each of them both a bit star-struck and suspicious) and he stood with his back very straight and his chin very high, looking dignified even though his shoes were patched with new leather in some places and his traditional jacket was frayed at the hems.
“I am looking for the same earlobe as my wife’s,” he said in his strange Hunan dialect, and beckoned with his finger the first girl, Ai, to step forward.
He took one look at her and shook his head, which she took as a sign to bow deeply and run back to her mother.
Mei, who was known for her glowing, waist-length hair, was the next to step in front of Mao, head held respectably low. “Too big!” he said, and she ran in the same direction as Ai had gone.
Niu was the next to have her ears examined, and was dismissed very quickly and simply, as well.
Xiaofan played with her hair nervously as she stood in front of the Chairman. He looked at her with a small smile playing on his bottom lip, exposing the blackened edges of his teeth. He took her ear into his hand, tracing his finger around the edges.
His ring caught on the edge and he had to tug a little to remove it.
“Too rounded,” he said, and she scurried back to Tao, who was sitting cross-legged on the ground in the dirt not fifty paces away, eating a piece of smoked beef.
She grabbed his spice-sticky hand and helped him up, and they watched the Communist’s automobiles putter off, leaving the village in a haze of brown for nearly an hour afterward.
With dust on their lips, the peasant boy and orphan left back to their mother’s tin house.
What she could not see, however, was her father looking back into the haze, watching her remain little, and remain ordinary.