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I knew it. I knew he will discard me. I should’ve trust nobody, including myself.

I wandered and wavered through the orchard that has no more fruit nor leaves on the naked trees. Indeed, winter is here.

Forlorn trees dangled in the cold air of winter, they are as haggard as my sallow face, without any hope or temperature.

I picked up my beard that is lying on the worn-out tile, the glass is freezing cold, it seems like it’s going to break in any second. It makes my hands hurt, feeling imperception.

Even though no one is here, I still couldn’t scream and yell, and express all my pains. My mouth wouldn’t let me. “Control yourself, Elle,” they said in unison.

I closed my eyes tightly, empty my minds. His words kept on flashing through my head. I reach into my pocket and pull out the letter he left for me, and start reading it ceaselessly. I still couldn’t believe this is true. Staring at his pretty handwriting, memorizing all the beautiful memories and tracing over his signature with my finger that was already numb. “…I understand that we should accept the love we think we deserve, but your love is not the right one for me to deserve. In brief, I’m not the right one for you. I’m sorry...”  I lay back down on the cold tile floor, hot tears stung my parched eyes. His words are like millions of knives that keep on pocking my eyes and every part of my body. It felt like I was on fire, flames licking the inside of my body fighting for a way to burn me into ashes. So painful that I couldn’t breathe. I felt my body gradually drifting lightly like a flimsy feather and falling into the bottom of the sea. The sky falls apart instantaneously and Edan sank to grief. Will this catastrophe ever end?

Then I hear footsteps.

It’s an old guy. I rolled my eyes. His in shabby clothing, however tidy and neat. He sits down next to me, eyes looking at the endless sky. He seems indifferent but somehow makes me really want to talk to him. The old man stuffs his hands in his pockets and looked carefully at me. “Forgive me for asking, but what happened to your pretty face?” he said in a low voice. I turn to him feeling ashamed, hands touching my freezing cold face. “Oh… I’m all right. My face is just a bit numb and pale.” I pull my purple cap down, feeling embarrassed and coward. “And what’s the matter with your eyes? it’s…red.” I look down, didn’t say a word. “I don’t need people to compassion me!” I yelled to my inner soul.

We meander on the lake that had already frozen into hard ice. The frozen lake is like a ravishing crystal that shimmer and twinkle around my hollow body. Glamorous. This man, he looks like someone I have seen before, but who was it? I have no clue. But there was an ominous thought that keeps on tangling in my head.

As expected, the ice starts to crack. I didn’t even notice he lift a gigantic rock and throw it on the ice. My first thought is why did he do this? I was completely muddled. And the second thought is “death”.

If I fall into the icy water, the man will also fall. Why does this familiar man want to make us die together? My mind turns into chaos. I start drowning and drowning down the deep cold lake. Everything went dark, including me. “Hell is the worst place ever and there’s no escape for all eternity.” I’m I on a journey to hell?

The darkness seemed to surround me, impenetrable. A red moon suddenly appears. Then, my heartbeat stopped.

There is this fragrant smell of incense. I open my eyes, I’m now lying on an ancient looking bed. Where I’m I? I’m not dead? Lucky, so lucky. Then I look around amazed. All the furniture’s are from Ancient China that I saw on TVs. So uncommon. “Come, she is awake, the imperial concubine is awake!” an ancient looking maid run towards me. Imperial concubine? So weird.  how did I get to this place? This is insane. “Wait, do I know you? This doesn’t seem like the orchard park, and I’m not an imperial concubine, I’m Elle. Why I’m I here?” The maid looked at me with strange eyes. “Madam, looks like you have a very serious sickness, don’t get up yet, you should rest more.” My mind is tangling with chaos, around and around. I have a bunch of questions that I want to ask. It looks like I’m in the ancient period. I feel regret that I didn’t study well in history class. Might it be a dream, or is it a time travel? I run outside in bare feet with disheveled hair and sallow face. People look at me as if I’m an unhinged lunatic.

Even though the maid persuades me to go back I still didn’t listen. The houses outside are no longer houses, I’m in a palace, and I can recognize this is the forbidden city of China. People out there are no longer wearing modern and fashion clothing, they are wearing Qing dynasty clothes. “Madam, please go inside, your body hasn’t fully recovered.” The maid persuaded me over and over again. “Before I go inside, you got to tell me which year we’re in right now,” I ask her earnestly. “Qianlong six years February 2. What’s the matter, madam?” This is not a dream, and I didn’t die either. Looks like I time traveled to Qing dynasty. Or can I say this is my previous life?

My previous life is an imperial concubine, that’s unimaginable. Does it mean that my husband is the emperor? I only met him on TVs and movies, now… I get to meet him in real person. What an honor! “Emperor is here.” A minister officially announced. I prompt in my bed, pretending I’m still sick. “Are you feeling alright my dear?” emperor Qianlong said in a soft and gentle voice. It makes my ears itch. He made me think of the old guy that broke the ice. How strange. I start pretending really sick so I can detainment him. Obtaining the emperor’s favor makes me feel like the person on the top of the world. So proud, so glorious.

Days elapse so quickly, like water streaming down the riverside. I gradually adapt to this place. Eating the best meals in the palace, receiving all kinds of luxurious gifts from the emperor Qianlong and other lower level concubines. Having the best treatments and living my best life. I’m no longer a pity ant that always gets despise by others. But one thing really struggles me is, I still couldn’t forget him, he is still all over my heard. It’s inaccessible to forget a person that you truly love, no matter how wonderful and abundant your life is.

Yes, completely forgetting a person is painful, but you have to force yourself to put him down, and time will always help you. So we push forward and sail against the current until we return back to the good old days of innocence...





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