Chapter 019—A Distant Land

In addition to Chinatown, Flushing had the second largest population of Chinese and Asians in New York City, with countless Japanese and Koreans residing there as well. Signs written in Chinese could be seen everywhere and there were plenty of Chinese supermarkets selling all kinds of Asian snacks. There were also mobile phone repair shops, Chinese tea houses, and many more. With a flourishing Asian community, Flushing reminded them of home.

People here liked shopping, especially on Sundays; the streets were crowded with people and cars, while small shops had gatherings of crowds. This was especially true for shops selling fashionable products.

Groups of young people discussed trendy things in front of the shops. It was not difficult to find that most of them would dye their hair in a multitude of colours that always included either brown, cinnabar red, or brownish yellow. The fashionable young people would even wear several earrings or nose rings, and some even had iron nails on their eyebrows. Strange clothing was pretty much their staple. Only a few young people there still had black hair and dressed simply. 

A contrasting scene appeared in the busy street. A lone girl with black hair stood among people with golden hair walking along the street. Interestingly, there were only a few people in the store where the girl stood in front of. The lively atmosphere on the street seemed to have avoided this small shop. 

The girl with black hair had two braids, and she wore a light red plaid shirt, blue jeans, and a small straw hat. Under the hat was a delicately contoured face. It was clear that the girl’s round sparkling eyes were firmly fixated on the barista in the shop.

Brewing a cup of coffee, the barista poured the foamed milk into the cup from high to low. With great technique, the barista made a heart-shaped pattern in the cup of coffee before serving it to a customer. 

The girl was entranced as she looked on, wearing a gentle smile, silently enjoying the barista’s movements.

The barista cleaned up the cups and plates; he did everything by himself. Good thing there weren’t many customers and he was barely able to handle it. 

After busying with work, the things finally settled down and he noticed a girl standing outside the door, seemingly doing nothing. He smiled and a pair of dimples appeared along with his white teeth. His curved sparkling eyes gave the girl a welcoming look. The man went out of the door and said to the girl, “Emma, why are you standing there? Come in and sit down.”

Emma smiled, nodded, and went in.

The coffee shop was not very big. There was an open work space in the middle and a bar table surrounded the outside. The barista could easily deliver the drinks in front of the guests. With several small tables and two small trees in the shop, the place looked elegant in general. 

Emma sat at the bar.

“Would you like something to drink?” The barista asked her kindly.

“Erm… I’ll have a cup of cappuccino.”

“OK,” he said while making an okay sign with his hand. 

“Thanks, Able!”

That’s right, the man was Yeung Yi Po, Able.

“Don’t mention it!” He compacted the coffee powder in the holder and asked, “Was it busy at the market?”

“It’s not busy now, so I came over.”

“I’m going to get some supplies later too.”

Emma’s eyes glowed and she asked intently, “What do you need? I’ll prepare it for you.”

“It’s fine, I’ll come over after I’m done here,” he said as he skillfully steamed up the milk. 

“What time are you closing? I can wait for you… I mean, I’ll help you prepare the goods when you come over!” Emma said with a little shyness.

Able took the cup of espresso to the counter and said, “No, it will take you more than an hour to go back to New Jersey! It’ll be too late.” With the pot of steamed milk in hand, Able then poured the milk into the espresso to form a heart shape. 

Emma liked to watch Able while he was focused on pouring out the patterns. She looked at him stupidly with her chin resting on her hand.

Able placed the coffee in front of her and asked, “Did you hear me?”

“What?”

“I said, don’t wait for me at the supermarket. It will be too late.” Able took a piece of cake out from the fridge and said, “Here, on the house!”

Emma was very happy, “Thank you very much! But I prefer your coffee.”

He grinned and said, “My cake is still not up to standard.”

She laughed, “What daily necessities do you need? I’ll bring them to you since I’m free in the afternoon! Tony and Anne can handle things in the market.”

“You’re leaving work to them? Tony is so busy, he even has to prepare for the wedding!”

Emma thought about it and said, “Not to worry. My future sister-in-law brought a capable angel to help us out. She dealt with everything so I wasn’t needed.”

“Oh,” Able said as he wiped the counter, “The future sister-in-law is here? And she even brought help? This is something fated for sure.”

As a customer came to pay the bill, he looked at Emma and said, “Hi there, Princess! Don’t you have to work at the store?” The customer was a regular at the market.

Emma replied, “My brother and sister are there.”

“I heard that your brother is going to get married. When is that?”

“Next week!”

“Congratulate him for me!” The guest paid and left happily.

Emma suddenly asked, “Able, will you come to my brother’s wedding?”

He hesitated for a moment, “Well, Tony invited me, but I’ll be busy that day… so I haven’t decided yet.”

Feeling a little disappointed, she said, “Aww, come! I can show you around my house! How’s that?”

Able patted her head and said, “Emma has so many ideas. Let me think about my scheduling then.”

“That’s that then!” She said with great relief.  

After chatting some more, they said goodbye; she had to go back to the market.

It was a Chinese market that was more than 100,000 feet large. In Flushing, this was the largest one. Ninety percent of the products sold were Asian foods and supplies loved by the Chinese living there. They even had what the chinese loved the most, Mahjong! 

When she ran into the store, someone yelled out, “Emma! Where have you been? It’s been so busy here!”

“Yeah, yeah! Don’t shout will you!” Emma picked up some goods and placed them on the shelf.

Anne came up with her eyes squinted and said, “You went to chat with Able didn’t you?! If you like someone, just tell him!” She was purposefully making fun of her.

Emma arragened the items and said, “I’m not like you! Treating relationship problems so casually!”

“Well, he’s ten years older! He’s probably treating you as his younger sister! Dumb!”

Emma thought for a moment and asked, “Sis, is age really an obstacle?”

Anne said, “I don’t know! If you love each other, perhaps age isn’t an obstacle! That’s why I’m saying you don’t know.” 

Emma didn’t listen to her words. She looked ahead as though she was looking at the future.

“Hello! Don’t be day-dreaming, help me out!”

Emma was roused and the two sisters worked together to arrange the goods.

Coming from the attic, Tony said to the girls, “Anne, Emma put the soy sauce up on the shelf. It’ll be a busy day.”

Both of them complained, “We’re students! Not your regular employees!”

Tony laughed and said, “Well, then will you please ask Uncle Wa to do it for me. Thanks ladies!”

Anne said, “You’re about to get married yet you only care about working! You are lucky to have sister Cin Heung to help you! Or else you wouldn’t even have a wedding!”

“Hi, Anne, Emma, I’m looking for the beef noodle I usually eat, but I can’t find it.”

Surprised, Emma said, “Able! When did you come here?” Her face suddenly became red as she was afraid he had overheard her talking about her feelings.

“Just then when Tony called you girls.” He looked up and called out, “Hi Tony!”

“Hi! Able! The beef noodle has been moved over there!”

Able didn’t overhear about Emma’s feelings, but he did hear a name that touched his heart. The face of someone who had the same name appeared in his mind at the same time—Cin Heung.


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