Shanghai Nostalgia Chapters 13 – 15
I slept through the whole morning and gave Hans a call round about noon. He answered in a sleepy voice and begged to be excused from our lunch date, but might see me for dinner tonight. He must be feeling too embarrassed for his behavior the previous night. I would fucking be too. It’s one thing to show one’s soft side, you know, that sensitive side, but in front of the boys, it’s sort of limp-wristed.
I had wanted to buy him lunch at the Chenghuang Temple, a 600 year-old temple complex that’s turned into a mass tourist spot. It’s huge, 10,000 sq meter, built of Chinese hardwood, and has been beautifully restored to its former glory, an icon of ancient Chinese architecture. Small shops sell touristy trinkets, paintings, ‘antiques’, and there are demonstrations of Chinese noodle ‘pulling’, calligraphy, musical instruments. It’s a grand place, if not for the crowd.
The restaurant I had in mind serves very good Shanghainese or should I say regional cuisine, especially the xiaolong bao, pork dumpling with delicious superior stock in the dumpling. It was revealed to me the stock is frozen into tiny cubes and wrapped within the sealed pastry prior to steaming. Before the advent of refrigerators it must to be a tedious and messy process.
To avoid the queue going round the block, one goes up to the third floor, where one could be seated in a comparatively short time. The ground and second floors serves does not impose a minimum amount to be spent. The third, however, has a RMB120 (I could be wrong on the exact amount) minimum, thus confining custom to more well-off locals and foreign tourists, although this is quickly changing.
The phone rang, it was Xiao Qing. She told me happily she’s been rostered off overtime today and whole day tomorrow and would be able to see me in the evening. Great, do you like Japanese? You know sushi, sashimi, raw fish? There’s cooked stuff too. She hesitated, I have not had it before but OK. Good girl, meet me at the Dong Chang station. I called Hans and he agreed to meet me for dinner and yes, he knew why Nextage Building is, just a short walk from our office, He’d meet me at the entrance of the restaurant.
This girl has an uncanny ability searching me out from the throng of people and covered my eyes, ‘Guess who?’ from out of nowhere. We made our way through the crowd, mindful of pickpockets who’d have your knickers off before you even feel the draught.
The Nextage Building is just 200m down the road. A JV of Yaohan and Shanghai No. 1 Store, it is now full owned by the latter following the demise of Yaohan in Japan. It is said to be the largest shopping complex in Pudong. One of our favorite meeting place of our group of friends, the Dayu Japanese restaurant stands out because it serves good and inexpensive buffet with a wide variety of sushi and sashimi, teppanyaki, all the beer, sake, wine you can possibly drink, with a good selection of deserts for RMB150 (RMB100 =>USD14.00). I can’t remember the times we staggered out the doors. They have a few restaurants about Shanghai but this store is my choice today because of its proximity to my apartment.
Hans was already there, grinning like the Cheshire Cat, and I immediately spied Xiao Xiao hiding behind a pillar. What do you know, the son of the sneaky…
An advanced booking saw us going in ahead of a snake of people, and the captain we had befriended got us seated in an intimate corner. We placed our orders from the tri-lingual picture illustrated menu, Chinese, English and Japanese, a God-sent not only to foreigners like Hans, but also to bananas like me, you know, yellow out but white in, overseas Chinese who speak but don’t quite grasp the written Chinese. Anyway, they all left the ordering to me. More restaurants should make these menus available, and perhaps items like ‘bull organ stir-fly cows stomach’ might sound more palatable.
Some small talk and we branched off to our own world. We held hands under the table and I told her she looks ravishing while we waited for the food to arrive. She blushed easily. She’s actually a manager in training, she enlightened me. Ahhh.. that explained the blazer instead of just a blouse, I suspect all along you were much too bright to be just a salesgirl, I said. She looked pleased. Just then the first servings arrived, followed by two flasks of warmed saké. I had taken the initiative of getting the girls a glass of Japanese plum wine each and a tiny plate with some plums that are soaked in the wine. The wine is sweet and of low alcohol content to be deceptively harmless, and it’ll help loosen Xiao Qing up.
I eased the girls into the food. First the pickled octopus, a little chewy but moist, then pan-fried scallop. We ate slowly, while she sipped her wine agreeably, I ordered my second flask of sake. By the time the California rolls came, she had a faint flush on her face and smiling more. The sashimi platter, presented atop ice on bamboo boat, one really cannot expect toro, tuna belly, were fresh and so were the rest of the raw squid, salmon, swordfish, arc-shell, conch even, I ordered. I had diluted the wasabé in soy sauce with a couple of drops of sake to add a little body, just the way I like it. She declined but obviously enjoyed the strange but new taste of raw fish. The beef steak, cut to bite-sized cubes and pan-fried with cooking saké, soy sauce, coarse pepper and sesame seeds, is fragrant and just right, charred out, pink to just that hint of red in the middle. No Kobé beef, but still a prime cut nevertheless and one really in all fairness can’t ask for more for RMB150. We had seconds of the sashimi while the girls rounded it off with a fried ice-cream each, thin pastry wrapped over a dollop of ice-cream quickly fried so it’s a little crispy out and heavenly cold in. She fed me some but I am partial to desserts. Me? give us another flask of saké, thank you.
We finished, Hans puffed a cigarette, as many patrons did. Smoking is not restricted yet although one has to ask for the ashtray. Hans graciously paid and said they’ll go their separate ways. I warned him not to spend too much money on her but knew he’ll do the exact opposite.
We said our goodbyes at the door and see them to a taxi. A good thing about Japanese is you don’t feel stuffed from the over-eating. A short walk will do us good. I asked her maybe we should take a slow walk to my favorite foot massage parlor close to my apartment. She nodded in agreement.
The massage turned out to be a good idea, on hindsight. First, it gave the impression I’m not just out to get her in bed although in reality, my boxer was already somewhat wet just having her near; and second, it showed the caring side and the gesture did returned itself many folds.
I asked for Da Li (Big Li), a blind masseur with years of experience. Although he is technically blind, he does have about 10% vision and sees shadows, and does not possess of the sunken nor clouded eyes I assumed all vision-challenged people have. A huge man with massive hands that could break eggs, he had a Carl Lewis hair which would look ridiculous on a lesser person. Oddjob comes into mind. He is surprisingly soft spoken and as I got to know him better, is well informed about current affairs and yes, seems a out of place as a masseur.
I told Da Li to take good care of Xiao Qing’s tired legs while I had another blind masseur. The massage did a world of good for my legs. The Chinese believe the vital organs are connected to various parts of the soles and stimulating them unblocks and revitalizes the related organs. No prizes for guessing which part of my feet get the most treatment.
I see Xiao Qing enjoying the massage, her eyes closed, occasionally flinching from the manipulation. A good part of the massage is spent on the arms and back, as well as the cranium while the feet are left soaking in a wooden tub of steaming solution of your choice, from mineral salts to herbal, to soften the tissues and absorb the goodness. We had the 80 minutes 2-sessions version which costs about RMB100 each, excluding tips, which is unsolicited but much appreciated.
We walked out of there into the crisp evening air, she a little apprehensive of the events to come, I suspect. I have much work ahead to put her at ease. She has not been with anyone since she left home, some history with a man, I expect, but I have learned some things are best left untouched.
‘Aren’t you afraid coming home with me?’ I pushed.
‘No’ she said quietly, ‘I sense you are a good person. Bad people don’t blush’. Ouch!
‘But you know, I’m much older than you’.
‘Only if it’s a problem for you. Is it?’ Well, well, what do you know? this girl has some grey material in her head.
The minder gave me a wink as we passed his tiny office to the lift lobby. I returned with a ‘Chi bao le ma? Have you eaten?’
‘Are you buying?’ he shouted after me as we entered the elevator.
‘Welcome to my humble home’ I said as I pushed the door open.
Do you live all alone here? She was astonished. I imagine the apartment she shared with a colleague is much smaller, so it looked such a waste of money and space for just one.
Let me get you a drink. I had a bottle of Mateus Rosé from the airport on hand just for these occasions. It’s easy on the palate, fruity, not too dry and just right on the sweetness, perfect for the ladies, and I enjoy it too.
With drinks in hands, we sat on the sofa. I kept a deliberate distance away.
‘You know, I like you the moment I saw you’, I said, ‘enough to make me go back 3 times, and even more times if you did not, errr, bumped into me. I really shouldn’t be doing this. I have a family back home and am not going to leave them or anything like that. I wasn’t planning to talk to you or anything that day, just acting out my fantasy, but I’m like a moth attracted to the flame. I would not be able to offer you anything other friendship and companionship’.
She sighed, ‘Good men are always taken’. A long pause. ‘But I’m not naïve and it is wishful thinking for me to expect anything otherwise’, she looked up staring at the floor, ‘but I’m also like a moth’.
I moved just a little closer and took her hands into mine. She shifted closer so our legs were touching. I bent my head and she met me halfway. I tasted her sweet lips which parted slightly, tasted her lips gingerly. I held her head, kissing her more passionately now. She broke away, just a moment to catch her breath and return for more, I obliged. After a few exploratory foray into her tongue, I urged her with my hands to sit on my lap, she side-saddled instead of straddling my lap.
I came up for air, looked into her eyes, her hands clasped behind my back. She saw the question in my eyes and in it, I saw a yes, not a word spoken. I snuggled my nose into her neck, a faint whiff of fragrance. She lifted her head to allow me easier access, I nibbled and sucked at her earlobe, soft and pliant, she gasped and held me tighter. One hand behind her, my other hand crept to the front, up under the front of her wool sweater. My hand touched bare flesh, warm and smooth. I felt the wire support of her bra and palmed her full breast. Another gasp escaped her lips.
I could feel her nipple through the bra, hard and proud. With both hands now, I lifted her sweater. The bra was of a good make and supported her fullness with not a gap to spare. The clips were located in front and easily snapped off to reveal perfection itself. Milky white with pinkish areolas, the erect nipples is now engorged to a slightly darker hue. I would venture a B cup, a handful but not disproportionate to her frame. Perfect. Hungrily I clamped my mouth down, sucking, licking any which way I could.
I spent an insurmountable amount of attention on those beauties, gentle licks rising to crescendos, alternating with two handed massages and soft butterfly wing flicks to the nipples. It had her on the edge and at one stage had to stop to massage her leg to assuage her cramp. Still I hold my own desires back, determined to show this maiden what pleasure is.
I got up finally, held her hand to guide her to the bedroom. The room is now clothed in semi-darkness, ambient light filtering from the neighbors’ units. I drew the translucent curtains, and helped Xiao Qing off the clothes. She had on a pair of cute red undies, the sort that had a cartoon figure stitched in front, with a tiny ribbon. The double layered crotch was dark with wetness, pulling it off her ankles, my felt the thick slippery slime, oh my…
She half buried my head into my pillow to avoid my look. It’s really funny and endearing, these wonderful creatures, here they are completely nude to you and they are shy to look at your erection. I discarded my clothes. Lying up close to her, our first touch was electrifying. The entire sensory systems in the body seemed to exist only in the areas we were touching. The passion consumed us until we ceased to exist but as one.
As though in a haze, not aware of our movements, we fused. I could feel her gripping me there. Strong hard grips, as though a hand is milking me. I can’t remember how long we were grinding against each other, an ascending spiral, desperate and a sudden explosion; the Italians call it a little death.
I woke up in darkness. I sat up in complete disorientation. Where was I? Home in Singapore? My eyes squinted to take in the surroundings. Slowly the furniture came into focus, there’s the old 24” TV at the foot of the bed, the cheap furniture and then slowly I drifted back to reality. I’m in Shanghai, and just had the best loving of my life.
Very nice storytelling indeed.