We stand on the rooftop looking at the great yellow moon rising over the tower blocks. He places one finger under my chin and tilts my face upwards to meet his. We kiss for a long time, tentatively then hungrily. When we break apart, we stand looking into one another’s eyes. “Shall we go to Shanghai?” he asks suddenly.
I am caught in the moment, the filmic, beautiful quality of it, and the image of us standing like this, together under the dirty skies and gleaming moon, in a world of infinite possibility.
I look deep into his eyes. “I would love to go to Shanghai with you,” I say earnestly. “Let’s go to Shanghai!”
We laugh, without really knowing why. We seem to have raised the stakes, intensified this moment so it teeters on the brink of becoming something more substantial.
Five minutes later we are standing in front of a Chinese restaurant scanning the menu. Peking duck, lemon chicken, and all the other cloying imaginary Chinese dishes beloved by English people. He turns to me and smiles, and I feel the kiss and the moment congealing inside me like cold sweet and sour sauce.
The red neon letters above us read Shanghai.
(excerpt from a long abandoned book attempt)