Chapter 12: A pretty woman- Yan Pinmin
“Little Tea House, Yan Pinmin.” After the woman left, I pick up her name card and studied a little. A tea leaf was printed on the name card and on top of it printed with two characters, Pin Min (means enjoy the taste of tea), following her name, address, and phone number. This is a famous tea house situated on the only small hilltop in town. It is about one km of a bee line distance to my shop.
The surrounding environment of the tea house is considerably serene and tranquil. In usual days, many wealthy men and government officers would visit there and drink a cup of two. Often, not many among them truly enjoy the true taste of tea, thus the word ‘drink tea’ suits them better.
“Yan Pinmin? Nice name. God knows who had a taste of her!” I put the name card into my pocket, brushing my jaw and pondered.
After I packed up the stacks of paper monies and paper servants, I took a cab and head to the Little Tea House. Of course, under the circumstances where meter is off, the total fare is $30. Come to think of it, many people are fastidious about these religious items nowadays, no one would ever want their car fill with things for the deceased, wouldn’t they?
“Sister Pinmin, your delivery is here.” Soon after I reached the place, I held the two paper servants with pocket full of paper monies to find a quieter place and called Yan Pinmin. I’m not going to walk in with two paper servants like an inconsiderate person. As insensitivity will invite fists.
“So soon?” Yan Pinmin seemed surprised with my delivery timing on the other side of the phone.
“Well, of course. Customer first, customer counts. I am just beside the entrance. Walk out from the door and turn left, I am waiting for you at the corner!” Immediately after the call, I hid the paper servants in the lawn and squat while waiting for Yan Pinmin to come.
“Why are you hiding here?” Just in time to finish a cigarette, Yan Pinmin appears before me. I amused her when she saw me squatting down like a theft.
“All because of your grandfather’s servants. If I bring it into your shop, I’m afraid someone may chase me out after being pummeled.” I turned to retrieve the two paper servants from the lawn.
“You are surprisingly considerate, follow me.” Yan Pinmin smiled and gave me a praise.
“Wow, you’re staying here? Tsk, tsk, tsk, how much are all of these cost?” Yan Pinmin led me to a two-floored villa next to the Little Tea House. When I saw the little garden and the swimming pool, I startled, mainly to my discover that the villa wasn’t built according to random architectural designs. At the very least, a master must have been hired to design the feng shui and the surrounding structure.
There is a front swimming pool and a backyard that is facing a hill. The whole idea to have the front of villa facing water with the hill as background was mainly for feng shui purpose. According to the saying of Zhou Li: Bright future shines ahead, backing support may lean against, (前有照: 照 means reflect/shine, the pronunciation is similar to 罩 zhao, means ‘cover’) that’s the ideal land of great feng shui. The only flaw is the swimming pool, as it was built artificially. Therefore, its fengshui effect is less than naturally formed pool. For a normal civilian, such fengshui is enough to assure her success in career and smooth sail in life.
“Come in. Place everything over there will do.” Yan Pinmin opened the garage door to let me place the goods inside.
“Alright, the delivery is here. Sister Pinmin, I bid you adieu!” I dusted off my hands after I place the goods in the garage.
“Wait. You must be tired, why don’t you come by the Little Tea House, I’ll make you some tea.” Yan Pinmin slightly interrupted me.
“Such a thoughtful woman!” I secretly appraise this woman who is now walking beside me.
I never knew how to reject an invitation from a pretty woman. So, I followed Yan Pinmin to the Little Tea House. Just when I step into the tea house, a high pitch voice that will make one fuzzy piercing into my ear, “Aiyaiyai, Pinmin, who is this? Your sugarboy? Such a handsome young boy, not so sure about his body strength.”
“Stop bullshitting. He is my customer!” Yan Pinmin shot a glare at her, blushing.
“Just kidding, what’s that guilty conscience? How long we’ve been knowing each other? Your man is not always home, occasional libido is acceptable, no one would bother speculate it. Am I right, young hunk?” the woman who sat over there wears a chemise-like lacey dress, teasing ceaselessly at Yan Pinmin.
“Yupe. As the saying goes, when nine out of ten women consented, the only worry is a man’s loose mouth. What do you say, sister? Am I right?” Pick on me? I secretly sneered. Then move myself to sit in front of the lacey lady.
“Pfft!” the lacey lady seemed choked on my words and spurt out a mouthful of tea on her laps. Flurriedly, she clean up the mess with tissues.
“Where did you find this weirdo?” After she cleaned up the mess, she rolled her eyes at Yan Pinmin, who is now tittering hysterically.
“Nice tea!” I lift up the teapot which was placed before the lacey lady and pour myself a cup to tea. Then move the cup closer to my nose and took a sniff.
“You know the art of tea?” Yan Pinmin’s eyes brightened up as she asked.
Customers here are roughly divided into two types. The first type will be those poseurs and pretenders, whereas the rest of them covet for her beauty and hit on her whenever the chance they got. When she saw me picked up my cup of tea, instead of drinking it immediately, I studied the tea carefully and scented the smells. Perhaps this is how Yan Pinmin has thought about me, the person who knows the art of tea.
“Roughly!” said me, in a reserved manner before I slightly sipped a mouthful of tea and drink it slowly.
“Tsk, tsk, tsk. A soul mate. Fine, I cannot be an obstruct here. Pinmin, we’ll have a meal together some other day. Ciao!” Lacey lady glanced at me and Yan Pinmin before she walked out from the door with her teasing click from her mouth.
“It’s alright, I can accept jokes. Furthermore, jokes from a pretty lady is just what I needed!” I thought for a while and replied after I had finished my tea.
“Thank you for your tea, I should head back to my shop.” After I placed the tea on the table, I stood up and bid her goodbye.
“Here’s a member card for you. 20% discount for your every visit onwards.” Yan Pinmin quickly hand out a member card from her purse and gave it to me before I left.
“Oh ya, may I ask, where do you plan to burn these paper monies? Right before the tombstone or just around a random corner?” I pocketed the member card and asked.
“My granddad’s grave is located at another place. Today is his death anniversary, I don’t think I can head home in time. I’ll look for a quiet place to burn these offerings, just to express my reverent to him. Am I doing it right? I never had the chance to approach these matters. If there are any taboos, you have to let me know!” Yan Pinmin worriedly questioned after she heard me asking. She is like most other people, afraid of ghost but never believe its existence.
“Taboos aren’t the one should be worried. Find a quieter place, draw a circle on the floor but leave an open. Then write the name of the specific ancestor will do.” This is a method without being presence before the grave, different area will have different custom. I pointed out few cautions to Yan Pinmin once more.
“Thank you. I didn’t know any of these particulars if you didn’t tell me.” Yan Pinmin nodded and agreed to what I’ve said.
Perhaps of loneliness, or maybe I know one thing or two about the art of tea which make us click in conversations. From that day onwards, Yan Pinmin will occasionally call in to invite me over to the Little Tea House.