The night was inviting…not too cold, a little overcast, and not much breeze. It was just before dusk, 5:50. I headed for the river walk. The river walk, as relaxing as it sounds, is noisy and bright with neon rainbow lights flowing on the opposite side of the river bank. A few people were out that night, and although it’s quieter to walk along the lower level of the river, right on the bank, it’s also a little dangerous once night falls. So, I enjoyed the upper bank of the river walk and turned up the music. On the walk back, it started to spritz. I picked up my pace and made it to the apartment complex with no problem. The gatekeeper auntie was waiting there and offered for me come in and sit awhile. I accepted…feeling weak and eager to sit, I went into the living/bedroom wing of their house. Their house consists of two rooms of equal size. The other room is a kitchen with a little gas burning stove, a cabinet full of dishes, and a love seat. On the side of the kitchen and right outside the entrance is a built on lean-to that I speculate houses the squatty.
The Ai, (pronounced “I E” and meaning Aunt in Chinese) ushered me inside and offered me some wine. I told her no thanks and also explained that we weren’t allowed to drink. Inside the living room was another middle-aged man. He was warming his feet under a blanket and a space heater, or “magic box” as I like to call them. He was friendly and asked me some questions about how long I had been in China, etc. I told him and Ai about my day and shared a little bit about how I had gone to church that morning to worship. They talked about how Chinese people only worship Buddha. I pointed out all the Chinese people that I had seen at the church that morning. I asked them some more questions about how they worship Buddha. I explained how we worship the father; the man seemed to like my explanation. The Ai changed the subject and asked when I could come for lunch or dinner. She’s almost aggressive in her lunch invites, but I really appreciate the warmness and kindness she radiates.