A Normal Girl

 LiMei finishes filling out the application then sits by the door, she watches many men and women coming through the elegant lobby. They all look rich, she has a faint smile watching their pretentious behavior, plastic surgeons must be making a fortune on these unsightly women, a couple of the middle aged women by the hotel desk appear as though their face will crack if they smile. Even a few of the men gathered by the woman at the center of the crowd look as though they just received a Botox injection. LiMei’s heart tightens thinking of her grandmother who had a few crinkly wrinkles by her eyes from fifty years of laughter, her skin naturally beautiful as she aged. So genuine and beautiful Jeez, why did fate take both  mother and grandmother that day in the mountains, leaving me with my god awful father and stepmother.

      She glances around the crowd, all these people must be here for the  jewelry auction. Really,if I think about it all the jewels are insured, maybe I should just check to see how tight the security is in the ballroom where the auction will be held. Then I wouldn’t need to worry about finding a job. Right as she is considering wandering along with the crowd towards the ballroom a handsome older man with the maroon and gold colored hotel ensignia on his shirt comes out from a nearby office.  He looks at LiMei holding her application tightly in her small hands,“May I see your application?”

     LiMei hands it to him then he quickly  scans her information, she will do. “Come in my office to fill out some paperwork, from your application you appear to have the qualifications we are looking for, I don’t have time to check with the hotel you formerly worked at so I will give you this job temporarily. If you are a good fit I will give you a more permanent position after I double check your references.” I will be swamped the next few days and three of my room service workers suddenly quit. This young woman is dressed nicely and is beautiful..very beautiful and that is what his male guests like. “Can you begin at six or even earlier four o’clock?

     She is confident about her work history, the old man was very thorough, his son will pick up the call to verify her former employment. Looking around she hears various different languages being spoken. So many people coming from different parts of the world, she should be extra cautious. “I have a hair appointment to cut my hair this afternoon, it has been scheduled for a while. I can be here at six.”He looks at her silky black hair thinking it is a shame she plans on cutting it, then he snaps out of it, it is none of his business. “Fine, go over to the front desk Lina will supply you with a uniform, come dressed for work we don’t have a changing room. {We used to but that damn pervert Song Yichen got sued for peeping.}

     LiMei collects the uniform at the front desk, not what I planned, but it’s is a job none the less. She lied about the haircut, she loves her long hair she would never cut it. She will purchase a wig on her way home, too bad I didn’t bring along my wig collection and other disguises. Li Mei clutches the uniform, her stomach is growling, after she buys the wig she needs to at least stop for some noodles.

     Hopping on the next bus heading to where she lives, LiMei is excited to begin her job, the good thing about being a server you get wages and tips. A fancy hotel like that one the guests should be generous. The uniform doesn’t look too bad, and wearing a uniform saves on having to buy outfits for work. When the bus arrives by her apartment she can’t help but wonder what happened to the man earlier today, while she was surfing the internet looking for a place to buy a wig, there were no news reports. He must be someone powerful to stop any news of the incident, there was quite a crowd when she looked through the bus window at the scene.

     She stops by her apartment laying the uniform on her bed. It’s two o’clock, the wig shop is three blocks over according to the map on her phone. That gives me time to purchase the wig, grab some noodles and catch up on the latest volume of her favorite manga before I needs to go to the hotel. She takes a deep breath as she walks along the sidewalk, no matter what obstacles she has now she is free, it is a great feeling.

     The wig shop is run by a short middle aged woman, she hurries over when she sees LiMei. “Did you want a particular style Miss? I have some Italian imports over here that are quite popular.”

     LiMei looks at the quality of the ones the shopkeeper is pointing out, not bad, reasonably priced. “Yes, they are very nice.” She decides to buy a couple, a black short cut, a little longer one with red hair. Business has been slow the woman thought LiMei came in just to look, she was very happy when she purchased two of her most expensive wigs. “You are very beautiful, are you an actress? Do you need these for a role you are playing?” LiMei wants to laugh yes, they are for role playing but not the type she means. “No, long hair is inconvenient in the work I do.” She hands the eager woman the credit card as she picks up the bag, “Thank you.”

     The woman has a curious expression as she  watches LiMei  leave the store, the girl’s black hair is long and silky why would she purchase wigs, what kind of work does she do? She walks back into the store smiling that was the best sale of the day!

     LiMei stops by the noodle shop on the corner then orders their special of the day, spicy noodles.  She can hear her stomach grumbling, so hungry! The aroma is making her drool while she waits for her food, she taps her fingers on the table wondering how long it will take. Suddenly she feels a pair of large hands on her eyes from behind, she is about to turn and viciously raise her palm to strike the person when she hears a familiar voice leading, “Feng LiMei..buy me some spicy noodles!”

     “You brat, scaring me like that you are lucky I didn’t slap  you!” He is the grandson of the elderly couple who she rents a room from, Du Chang. He looks at her delicate body she doesn’t look like she has any strength at all,  he smiles at her, “Feng LiMei don’t be ridiculous, with skinny arms like that you need a strong guy like me to protect you!”

     LiMei plays along, she likes this brat, he is very cute when he smiles, he has dimples and a sweet naive look about him. “Another word and no noodles for you!”

     When they deliver the noodles she asks them to bring a bowl for Du Chang. “Aren’t you supposed to be in class right now?”

     “I’m participating in a swim meet the bus needs to pick us up soon to go to Pushong Heights.”

     “Oh, I didn’t know you are a swimmer.”

    “Mainly I like soccer but they needed an extra guy on the swim team so I volunteered.” He is popular at his High School because he is both handsome and athletic, several Universities are scouting Du Chang but he wants to join the military like his father.

     LiMei takes her chopsticks and starts to eat she is famished, Du Chang’s food hasn’t arrived yet, he can’t wait. He picks up his chopsticks and takes some noodles from Feng LiMei’s bowl, she slaps his hand away, “Du Chang we aren’t that familiar for you to eat out of my bowl.” She laughs hitting his chopsicks with hers as he tries to take more noodles. They are both laughing when his spicy noodles arrive.

     “Where is your little girlfriend?” LiMei likes teasing this boy, she never had a brother, the only men she ever knew were complete bastards. He is untainted by the world, very sincere.

     Du Chang’s face turns red. “Feng Li Mei! I have no idea who you are talking about!”

     LiMei has a smirk on her face as she points her chopsticks behind him. A pretty girl in a school uniform is standing there holding a water bottle. She is blushing not moving forward as she hears his words.

     Du Chang turns around, “Nuo, what are you doing here?”

     She stammers a bit, “Ahh..ahh” She thought he would be at the bus stop, she wanted to give him water to take to the meet. As she was walking she saw him laughing with a girl eating out of her bowl.“I know you always forget to take water so I brought you some.”

     LiMei can see the girl’s  doelike eyes are getting misty she doesn’t want any misunderstanding, “Hi, I’m LiMei, I only know Du Chang because I live with Du Chang’s grandparents, sit with us!” She slides over on the bench so the girl can sit down. “I love the braids in your hair, did you do them yourself?”

     “I did this morning before school”, Nuo gazes at Du Chang a little apprehensive, does Chang like this girl? She looks like she is in University.

    Trying to relieve the awkward atmosphere LiMei takes Nuo’s hand while admiring her hairstyle, “Nuo is it? Maybe you could braid my hair sometime.”

     Du Chang nods  no…no.. this girl sticks to him everyday at school, I don’t need Nuo pestering me while I am over at my grandparents too!

    LiMei pops up off the seat as she looks at her watch,“Well nice meeting you I need to go get ready for work.” 

     LiMei leaves the noodle shop satisfied with the meal and is in a good mood. looking at the wigs in the bag she is carrying she smiles,  except for the incident this morning, today hasn’t been too bad so far. Being realistic I wasn’t qualified to work at the Hushang Group. Grinning she thinks about the little girl crushing on Du Chang, to be so young with no worries! Soon she arrives at the little white house on the corner where she lives. She likes this apartment because she has her own stairs outside that lead up to her small apartment, she doesn’t need to go through the house to get to her room. She sees the old couple once and awhile in the yard but they don’t bother her.

    She falls onto the bed, it’s four o’clock she can rest for an hour then shower to go to her job. That manga will have to wait for after work.

     The alarm goes off on her watch, Dammit… the time went by too fast! She a takes a quick shower then puts on her uniform, not too bad, the black skirt is a little short, the white top fits rather snug, but her last job’s uniform was skimpier. She puts on some lip gloss, then wraps her hair into a tight bun so she can fit the wig over it. At least they don’t require you to wear high heels just ones with a small heel. LiMei looks in the mirror and giggles looking at her reflection, Who are you anyway? , I look like an anime girl with this short black wig.

     Turning off the lights she leaves her cozy apartment locking the door behind her, I feel like a normal girl right now heading off to a regular job!

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