CHINESE CHAPTERS

Short Flashes

* Swallow part 1: recognition

Swallow part 2: ceremony

Swallow part 3: awaiting

We used to keep dead lotus leaves to hear the rain

Steps

Here live only sparrows





Swallow part 1

Zhang Cōng Yàn was born on January 29th, 1987, the first day of the Chinese New Year. Her name means smart swallow.


Swallow part 1

The city was cold and wet, the walls were covered by a thin layer of grey fungus. I was sitting, covered by a quilt and with a hat on my head. My breath was turning immediately into fog, condensing as water on the windows and draining down in little streams. I was all alone, all by myself, equipped with a hot-water bottle on my back. It was raining. The polluted autumn air engulfed the university and all dormitories.
I saw her on the street, among friends. It was dark, but her face was illuminated by the lantern’s light. I remember where she was standing, how she was laughing, her eyes and the tone of her voice. A boy on a scooter asked for the way. We looked at each other and that is how it began


Swallow part 1s

Swallow part 1

When she asked me, whether I'd like to visit her, I agreed without hesitation.
A tiny village, surrounded by mountains, from which tombs emerge, fields of tangerines and a February with temperatures reaching 30 degrees… We arrived at a big iron gate covered with a small roof made of brown tills. The terraced houses were a mix of multi-storey buildings and old traditional ones made of clay and stones. The first, a symbol of prosperity and investment in future generations. The second, remains of traditional handwork and poverty that slowly passes.
A yellow dog and her parents came out to greet us. The sun was setting.
We sat down at a table stacked with crustaceans from a nearby river. In the middle of the table, a steaming huo guo. I was learning how to use chopsticks and how to disarm crabs without wasting any meat, while trying to keep up with eating all the things appearing on my plate.


In my childhood I was eating a lot of fish. My dad was the owner of a pond, where he was breeding carps. In July, when the nights are very warm, I was sitting with my sister by the bank, taking care the fish. When they lacked oxygen, we opened a dam in order to mix water from two reservoirs.
The air was sticky, the stars were falling.


Swallow part 1


Swallow part 1

Swallow part 1


Swallow part 1

Mìyǒu means: closest friend.
Someone with whom you can sleep in one room, share all secrets.
Someone who is part of the small universe you are, for the rest of your life.





Swallow part 1

Swallow part 1



My grandpa loved me very much. He was taking care of the forest in the mountains, sleeping in a little wooden house at mid-height of a hill. He came down to the village only once every two weeks. Before I went to school, every morning I had been waking up and running up to him. We were strolling together. He was checking whether nothing was threatening the trees and animals. In the evening I ran the same winding path back home.
As a young man he was in prison. I don’t know why, maybe because he always said what he thought. He has never wanted to talk about it with me.



Swallow part 1

Swallow part 1


Swallow part 1

Red protects from evil. Red paper cuttings, lanterns, garlands, inscriptions, good wishes, amulets... Red is Fú – fortune. Red – the color of communism. Carpet-like firecracker scraps are red after New Year’s Day. Fertility is red like the seeds hidden in pomegranates. Red is warm energy coming from the centre of every human, from within. Vitality and strength. Blood pumping through the veins. Everything that's alive is red.


Swallow part 1