Dear Deuce

Valentine and Third Eileen Chang

February 13, 2018
400 words · 2 minute read

In the spirit of Valentine’s day, I present you the sweetest piece I have ever beheld, in Eileen Chang’s novels. This is from “Eighteen Springs”, later named “Half a Lifelong Romance”.


“Eighteen Springs”






As they walked together and talked, he suddenly stopped and cried out her name. She got a sense that he’s baffled with something, and answered, “Yes?” But he fell silent after that, and they walked on.

A series of disturbed imaginations flashed through her mind: something happened to his family — he is going to quit his job — his parents arranged a woman for him — he fell in love with someone, or he ran into an ex-girlfriend when he was back home. She asked again, “What is the matter?” He answered, “Nothing.” She was then mute.

“I didn’t bring a raincoat with me,” He said, “but it happened to rain.”

“Oh, it rained in Nanjing? It didn’t rain here.”

He continued, “But it is quite all right. It only rained for one night. We go out in daytime anyways. But sometimes we go out at nights too. The night that rained we also went out.” He noticed his words coming out in a horrible disarray, and stopped abruptly.

She got a little worried. With a light smile, she asked, “Are you okay?”

“I am okay,” he said, “I have things to say to you.”

“What is it?”

He said, “I have many things to say to you.”

With that it was as good as him saying them all. It was as good as her hearing them all. She looked all serene on the surface, but he could see extreme happiness underneath. There was suddenly a light in the world that makes everything basking in it clear and certain. He never felt such certainty. It is like when you go to an exam, upon sitting down you look at the questions, and find yourself knowing all the answers. You are excited that you do, but also you feel strangely tranquil that you do.