The Mystery I Am Trying Not to Solve

April 9, 2012

I do marketing at a Chinese company. It’s fun, good for my career, and a cultural  adventure of epic proportions. But the real excitement happens elsewhere: in the coffeeshops and living rooms that have become my classrooms.

Teaching English is where I reach that subsection of Chinese society that I don’t bump into on sidewalks or get smothered by on crowded trains. This subsection is whisked about the city by drivers and live in numerous houses in various places.


But she, well, she tells me I am one of very few friends, because everyday Chinese folks can’t do anything but ask her what it’s like to be a singer, and other artists are too competitive to be trustworthy.She talks about how to avoid paparazzi during an event. She mourns the way her blog is received by the masses lewdly commenting on her youthful beauty instead of engaging in her earnest discussion of art.

She shows me her promo videos, the costumes she’s designed for her music video, and the dress she’s picked for her next concert. Like every Asian I know, she is “fat”, and proudly showcases her superior air-brushing skills.

I know her childhood, her awards, her publications, her sex life, her love life, her detest of children, her love of stability, the way she can’t stand upright in high heels, the way her mouth puckers when my definition of an English word makes no sense, the way her face shines more Imagebrightly than the sun when she laughs at my antics. And I will perform any antic to see that radiance.

For her I have drawn wretched pictures and described every dirty word I know. For her I have gone to bed with heartache after hearing a particularly depressing rumination on life. With her I have laughed until I cried.

I know that some stand in awe of her, and some in envy. I know that if we lose contact, I may never know how to find her again. I know that I know too much about her. But I don’t even know her real name.

All I have to do is ask. But to me, she is, and always will be, Wendy.


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