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Chun Hua smiles as she boards the long bus
back home from work. It is 5 pm. It has been a
busy day at her office; the statistics
department in the ministry of National Planning
located at Dongcheng district of Beijing. The
governor of Ghanzou province had ordered for
statistics of various indices of development to
be forwarded to him in a week’s time. It would
soon be time to prepare the annual budget of
Beijing and he wanted to study the facts and
figures in order to come up with a well planned
As a staff of the statistics department, it was
part of Chun Hua’s work description to fish out
the hidden figures, memorize them, document
them in understandable formats and forward
the files to the director of the Department for
vetting and approval.
Earlier on in the day, she had stumbled on a
document, stating, “there are nine million
bicycles in Beijing”. It was an old report
prepared for the tourists that flock the city
daily. Chun Hua felt that the figures were
obsolete and needed to be updated. As she
researched on the internet to source for more
information, she came across a song titled
“nine million bicycles” by Katie Melua, a British
She checked out the lyrics of the song and was
disappointed that it wasn’t performed in
Mandarin language. But she was bilingual. She
could read and write sparingly in English
language, so she had no problem relating to
the song.
The bus races through the busy streets of
Beijing and slows down to a halt at the traffic
gridlock at Gangzou university avenue, Chun
Hua leans back on her seat. She closes her
eyes and silently hums the song that has been
playing on her head all day long.
“There are nine million bicycles in Beijing
That’s a fact,
It’s a thing we can’t deny
Like the fact that I will love you till I die.”
Love…love…that subtle emotion…love…
Chun Hua smiles once again as the image of
her new crush and love interest floods her
mind’s eyes. Her 27 year old heart was falling
for her new co-worker Li Wei and there was
nothing she could do about it.
He had been transferred from the directorate in
Shanghai to Dongcheng, three weeks ago. Li
Wei has the looks and airs of a movie star. The
first time she saw him she told herself that he
was a younger version of Jet li. His round
shaped face, tiny but piercing eyes that seem
to gaze into her soul and pink lips were
irresistibly seductive. His baritone voice was
unnerving. Her hands had trembled when he
shook her by way of introduction on his first day
in the office.
“Hello, I am Li Wei, your new colleague”
“You are welcome!” She had replied him. He
had gazed into her eyes and held her hands
longer than necessary, giving her the
impression that he was already smitten by her.
It wasn’t a new thing for a man to get attracted
to her. She was certainly a head turner. Her
pretty oval shaped face, petite nose, white
teeth, high cheek bones, curly hair, slender
body frame has always made her attractive to
the opposite sex. She was used to males
gawking at her body.
“You should have been a model, Chun Hua. You
should be cat walking with the stars on the
glittery runways of the forbidden city and Honk
Kong” A male colleague had once told her. He
had wondered why a beautiful lady like her
would take up a monotonous job in the Chinese
civil service.
Right from day one, it was obvious Li Wei had
more than a passing interest interest in her.
The little things he did and said, the way he
kept coming to her desk to ask trivial questions
all betrayed the signs of a man in love. Even
though they had exchanged phone numbers, he
was yet to ask her out. She would wait for him
to make the first move.
The traffic gridlock clears up and the bus goes
into motion. Chun Hua opens her eyes and
looks through the window, recognizing familiar
buildings. She would soon be home.
From the distance, Chun Hua spies her father
Zhang Yong, working on the lawn in front of
their home. He is bare chested, carefully raking
together a stack of dry leaves with a long rake.
His shiny body betrays the sweat seeping out of
his skin pores.
“Good evening pa, I can see you are busy”
“Welcome my daughter! You are back from
“Yes pa”
“Welcome, your mum and sister are inside”
“Alright pa”
Wang Jing, her 18 year old sister and Zhang
Jing her mother are in the kitchen preparing the
evening meal.
“So food is not yet ready?! I am so famished!”
Chun Hua exclaims as she throws her bag onto
the in the living chair and storms the kitchen.
“Welcome sister,” Wang Jing greets with a
warm smile.
“Chun Hua you are back already? Food would
soon be ready. Your sister here has been lazy,
otherwise we would have finished preparing this
wonton soup by now” Zhang Jing says.
“I am not lazy. Besides, sister does not look
like someone who is hungry” Wang Jing mildly
“Yes, it is true. Chung , you you have been
looking radiant these days, there is a sparkle in
your eyes” the elderly woman says to her
“What are you people talking about?” Chun Hua
replies with a coy smile.
“Your face is radiant, your heart is happy. Tell
me who is he? What is his name?”
“What are you talking about mom?”
“Don’t deny it, you are in love. When a woman
is in love, it shows in the light in her eyes, the
glow of her skin, the tone of her laughter and
the breezy manner of her footsteps”
Wang Jing winks at her sister as she starts
grating the fresh ginger for the dish.
Chun Hua sighs, “His name is Li Wei, he works
at my office”
“I knew it!” Wang Jing exclaims and imitates a
dance-step that amuses her elder sister.
“Keep quiet Wang! Come over here and dice
these carrots” Zang Jing says to Wang. She
turns around and pats Chun Hua’s cheeks, “i
am happy for you my daughter. Does he know?
Does he love you in return?”
Chun Hua nods with a broad smile.
Its 7:30 pm and Chun Hua is in high spirits. She
is walking along the rows of beautiful and
nicely scented flowers at Wangpang resort.
Li Wei is walking beside her, rolling a bicycle
along with him.
He had called Chun Hua about an hour ago. He
said he wanted to meet her. He said he had
something urgent to tell her that couldn’t wait
till the next day. He had begged her to meet
him at the ever serene and romantic themed
Wangpang green park.
Chun Hua had dashed out of the house to meet
him. She was pleasantly surprised to see him
turn up with a bicycle. He had driven her on the
bicycle and lost balance midway. They had
both fallen on the ground and shared a huge
dose of laughter that set them at ease.
Now they are just strolling around having fun,
sharing in the blissful moment.
“As I was saying, I checked out some new stats
about Beijing today. Do you know that there are
9 million bicycles in this city, including yours?”
Chun Hua addresses him.
“That number is way too small for a big city like
ours, well…tell me more”
“Do you know we are twelve billion light years
from the edge?” Chun Hua says and silently
sang the rest of the verse in her mind
“….that’s a guess,
No-one can ever say it’s true
But I know that I will always be with you…’
“You are a good statistician Chun Hua” Li Wei
says as they stopped and stood under a cherry
blossom tree. Li Wei carefully placed the
bicycle on the ground at the base of the tree.
“I have more statistics for you!” Chun Hua
declares. She is elated and carefree.
“Do you know there are six billion people in the
They are looking into each other’s eyes, waiting
for the person who would vocalize what the
heart wants to say.
Li Wei seems to be making up his mind to say
something. As Chun Hua waits for him to say
something, she sings the rest of the song in her
“…more or less
and it makes me feel quite small
But you’re the one I love the most of all…”
Li Wei’s indecision is over. He suddenly puts
his arms around her waist and gently draws her
to himself. She offers no resistance.
“This is it! The moment of love’s expression…”
Chun Hua’s heart races with joy.
Li Wei strokes her soft curly hair and whispers
slowly into her ears.
“Do you know there are now 30 million bicycles
in Beijing?”
He sharply releases her from his arms and
moves away from her.
A cold chill of disappointment runs down Chun
Hua’s spine. The raging emotion of love turns
to bewilderment. She can only stare at him,
tongue tied, at a loss for words.
“But I am not done yet!” Li Wei says and
breaches the gap between themselves. He cups
her face in his palms.
“There are 30 million bicycles. That’s a new
fact. It’s a thing we can’t deny, like the fact that
I will love you till I die!!”
The passionate declaration cascades like a
flood bringing instantaneous relief and euphoric
sensations to Chun Hua. Locked in an
embrace, their lips meet. At first, a shy kiss,
then deep and penetrating flurry of kisses and
movements, unleashing the passion that has
been repressed for a long while. Their love
reaches a crescendo and is complete.
An elderly man cycling past on his bicycle,
stares at the lovers and narrowly misses hitting
a tree by his left hand side. He steers his
bicycle back on the right path and cycles away
with a knowing and longing smile on his
wrinkled face.
The End!

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