This was getting silly, he wouldn’t have sent me that message without giving me a way to answer, I picked up his note and read it again, nothing there; I turned it over, -of course! “Only if you wish. Hu Xiaowen” and a cell phone number.
I glanced at the time, Lucia would be here in an hour to pick me up for our weekly movie, with luck it would not be another action flick tonight. I still had a few things to take care of before getting ready to leave and we would be back too late for a phone call, maybe it would be better to call tomorrow, at leisure…-And how would you like spending the night second-guessing yourself? Scared you’ll sound like an idiot? It would be worse if you didn’t call at all, he’ll think you boorish and conceited, or…not interested.
Enough was enough. I picked up the phone and dialed Hu Xiaowen’s number.
" What do you think of Turandot?”
" Pass, next question please”.
He grinned: “ You won’t get off so easily, so why trying?”
I raised my hands in surrender “ You win.”
"So…?” He prodded, raising an eyebrow.
" As far as music is concerned, it is my favorite opera. There are others I love but if I had to listen to a single opera for the rest my life I’d choose Turandot”.
" The China one sees in Turandot is an utter disaster, I find myself cringing all the time. Can you imagine an imperial daughter saying ‘I am the Daughter of Heaven’ and meaning it? Brrr”.
Xiaowen nodded, taking a sip of his beer. It being a Monday, The Highlander was less than half full, we had chosen a small corner table in the back room of the pub, far from the television and the loud conversation of the sport-watching patrons.
" At the same time, though” he said “ it isn’t like wuxia books and movies haven’t played with history either, I would not say Chinese entertainment as a whole is more accurate “.
"Yes, but…” I sighed, trying to find the right words to articulate what I felt. “ That is your history, those are your legends: if you play with them, in your own way, for your ends and for your entertainment, that’s one thing. But if a bunch of Europeans goes ‘Wow, that’s fabulous let’s make something of it!” takes a story about a Mongol princess, turns her into a Chinese one with a Persian name and proceeds to heap a series of misunderstandings and mistakes on it with the idea of making it more exciting or more palatable to a Western public or even just because they don’t know any better…well, that’s different “.
" Yes, it is.” and again that sudden, brilliant smile, rare enough to feel like a special gift, one that made butterflies dance in my stomach “ and that is why…”
"You are planning a Turandot of your own? “ I interrupted, unable to contain myself. “ That’s fantastic! Also just a little crazy though, going nose-to-nose with Puccini.”
I forgot to say: any questions on the story or anything mentioned in it are welcome. :)