#7 Three Musketeers in a Pub - Starting a New Life

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Dec 10, 2016 23:18
Yoyo’s a lawyer. She’s in her late 20s, but marriage is not in the cards. Her mother regrets sabotaging the relationship between Yoyo and her ex-boyfriend. The guy moved to another city, and it’s now impossible to turn back the clock. Then, her parents started arranging blind dates for Yoyo, but she wasn't interested in any of the guys. Actually, her mother has lowered her expectations for her future son-in-law, but as Yoyo said, she doesn't have the courage to love anymore. He mother became so eager to marry Yoyo off as to bluntly suggest, “Couldn’t you get married first? If you don’t feel happy and want a divorce, then we’ll be rooting for you!”

Yoyo’s single status made her open to possible harassment from her clients, both married and divorced. They would often insinuate the potential of a relationship, but Yoyo felt nauseated and refused. She was born to a rich family, so she had no need to get her claws onto those sugar daddies. In addition, she hates infidelity.

Her life seemed a complete mess. She decided to escape from the city, travel somewhere and stay for a while. She originally planned to go to New Zealand and drive around the islands for a couple of weeks, because she heard that Kiwis were friendly and that the mountain air was refreshing. I'd just come back from California, so I recommended the place to her. “Why not California? The climate’s fantastic! The sun and ocean breeze will lighten you right up!” She took my advice and went to the other side of the Pacific, traveling to California as well as the Grand Canyon. Just as I predicted, she had a blast. She texted to me, “I might as well study in LA.” I instantly got it. She had originally planned to apply to a law school in Hong Kong, and now she must have changed her mind.




#1 Three Musketeers in a Pub - The Phone Call

The other day, as work was ending, my smartphone on the far right side of the table started ringing. I took a cursory look at the screen out of the corner of my eye. It was Yoyo, a primary school classmate of mine, an attractive young lady. I reached out my hand to grab the phone and clicked on it.

A familiar voice came out and said, “Hi, Carman! You, Dennis, and I meet at Helen’s bar at 7 tonight.” “Okay, no problem.” I replied quickly and then hung up the phone. Best friends don't need to say much to get the message across, do we? She‘s going to study in the USA this August, so she wanted one last get-together of us before she jetted over the Pacific Ocean to another country.

Yoyo, Dennis, and I are like three musketeers. We’ve been best friends since childhood. Many people may no longer remember their primary school classmates’ names when they’ve grown up, but we do; and more than that, we are still the best of friends, simply because all of my classmates used to live in the same neighborhood. We hung out together on the way to and from school.

#2 Three Musketeers in a Pub - The Hidden Paradise

The pub where we were to meet was called Helen’s Bar, located in the urban core. It was a place where a bunch of hipsters congregated, singing and dancing till midnight. Yoyo and I were not party animals or pub guys, but Dennis was. He was a gregarious salesman working in Burberry. Two years ago, when Yoyo was dumped by her boyfriend, Dennis dragged us into this bar, where he was a regular, in order to take her mind off that perturbing lovelorn stuff. Since then, we’d met in that clamorous, dim space from time to time. I’d grown to love it; after all, it felt so nice to do a bit of drinking and wind down from the day.

It took me 40 minutes to reach the bar. On entering, I surveyed this territory of the hipsters, this hidden paradise. There were few patrons at the time, but after a few hours, there would be a flock of uninhibited people coming in to indulge themselves in bacchanalian revelry. I looked over to a corner table, where we usually drank and chattered. Yoyo was right there, dressed in a taupe round-neck cotton T-shirt, waving her hands cheerfully at me. I made a beeline to the place, and then took a seat opposite her.

“How is it going?” I asked.

“Not too bad,” she sighed. “I just have no idea what my life in the US will be like. My English sucks. You know it.”

Yoyo’s English was truly no good. When she decided to start learning English again a year ago, she found her English skills had become so rusty that she even had difficulty constructing a sentence. She’d taken the IETLS examinations three times and finally eked out a 6. She was going to study law in the States, so I guessed the grad-school life in the immediate future would be grim for her.

#3 Three Musketeers in a Pub - The Trendy Guy

“Don't worry. English will come easily to you,” I said, hoping to cheer her up.

Looking around, I found the essential member of the trio, Dennis, was absent, so I asked Yoyo, “Where is he?”

“Forget it. That loco said he was caught in a traffic jam,” muttered Yoyo in discontent. “He’s never on time.”

Speak of the devil, there was Dennis at the door, making his way to us with a confident gait. He wore a flashy shirt, with sleeves rolled up to his elbows. His trendy Burberry backpack swayed on its straps in a pulsating rhythm as he swaggered in.That guy was trendy, perhaps because he worked in fashion and was therefore influenced by the stylish company he kept. It was said that when Dennis lost money in the Mahjong games to a bunch of cynical middle-aged housewives, he would roll his eyes, tug at the collar of his gaudy Burberry suit, and yell in a haughty tone, “This cost me $4,000!”

Although he seemed to be a vain dick who liked to put on airs, this dude, in point of fact, was a down-to-earth guy on the inside. After showing off his clothes, he would add hastily that they were actually purchased at in-house prices up to a 90 percent discount. He just took pleasure in pretending to be a glib jerk to be funny and entertaining.


#4 Three Musketeers in a Pub - The Gourmet

There was an added benefit to being with him, an assiduous gourmet who knew the best food hidden in every nook and cranny of the city. Every couples of months, he would lead Yoyo and me to taste the scrumptious food based on his mental treasure map. We sometimes swung over fences, squeezed ourselves sideways into slits in those circuitous alleyways, and then finished our epic journeys to those restaurants with no signs, in order to relish the legendary savory food. Or, whenever we went out for a spin in Yoyo’s sporty Porsche to the countryside, Dennis could always find a nice farm-to-table restaurant before we were so hungry that we had to pull over.

Holy shit! This dude was a walking Yelp, wasn’t he? My life had always been boring. If there had been a shitcom called “The Big Bored Shit” where I landed the lead role, and Dennis would have been the Sheldonian hilarious character.

Grinning ear to ear, Dennis took a seat quickly besides me, and said to Yoyo, “Oh, sweetie. Congratulations! You’re goin’ to Americaaa very soon!” He dragged out the final syllable of the word, as if to show his bitter resentment.

Yoyo hadn’t told him that she was going to the States. I’d also have assumed Yoyo’d gotten lost for months, had she not come to me for English reference books.

Yoyo yelled, “Stop it! You stupid jerk!”

Dennis let out a gentle chuckle and said nothing, just to let it pass.


#5 Three Musketeers in a Pub - To Drink or Not to Drink

After beckoning the waitress, we started to discuss what to drink. Dennis wanted martinis; Yoyo, a glass of coke; me, beer. I was a bumpkin who knew nothing about cocktails. I saw Dennis frowning, as if saying, “What two morons you are! I’ve taught you two to drink like a million times, but you guys have been hopeless retards in this!”

So, when the waitress came, I sputtered, “Give us two Absolut martinis, a dozen Budweisers, the cooler, the better. And a Coke, room temperature.”

I knew Yoyo preferred drinks with no ice. Like most Chinese people, she believed that cool drinks were bad for people’s health. She favored a healthy lifestyle, so every day after work she would go to the gym, working out for half an hour on a treadmill and attending Yoga classes. Unlike her, I loved ice. I was a frigid guy. Cooler than cool. I was a bit worried for Yoyo, because she was going to a country where restaurants typically offered no tepid drinks.

Our orders arrived. I took a tentative sip of the martini, which tasted nice. Seeing Dennis arranging the glasses for beer, I reached for those beer bottles. Having filled the glasses, Dennis raised his glass and proposed a toast to Yoyo. “Here’s to your success in law school!” Yoyo compressed her lips and was at a loss for words for a while; it would be very strange to respond with a Coke. Soon after, she grabbed a glass of beer on the table and clinked Dennis’s, saying, “Bottoms up! Thank you, man.” Dennis gave a self-satisfied smirk – he'd won again.


#6 Three Musketeers in a Pub - Paranoid Parents

We’d been catching up on each other’s stories for quite a while. There were more people coming in and the music rose to a crescendo. A few shafts of light from overhead beamed trough the glasses juxtaposed on the table, producing a spectrum of colorful refraction. The glasses of amber-colored beer suddenly looked like a set of gemstones glimmering in the dark.

“How are your love affairs?” Denis yelled at Yoyo. He had to yell, otherwise his voice would’ve been drowned in the electronic dance music that was playing at full blast. Yoyo shook her head and said nothing – the same reaction whenever we brought up her love life.

Many young people in China constantly complain that their parents are perhaps the strangest sort on the planet. For young people, dating before going to college are not allowed, because they're told that the academic work should come first. However, when they graduate, their parents all at once started to urge them to go out on dates.

Yoyo hadn’t had a relationship in college, either. A year ago, Yoyo took a boyfriend home, but her parents gave the cold shoulder to the guy, who was from a poor family and couldn’t afford an apartment at that time. Anyway, the father wished to walk his beloved daughter down the aisle into a secure life and seemed too impatient to wait for one of those rags-to-rich stories to happen. When Yoyo decided to elope with the guy to another city, her parents threw a fit and tried to stop them. They succeeded, but Yoyo lost her love forever.