Yingping has two lives. The dividing line came with the explosion in the firecracker factory when she was 17. She undid her first life and started the second one from rot bottom, re-emerging from seven operations. Wearing a face patched up by skin from her thighs, a face that resembled a map of random territories.
The face was rugged. Yingping tried smiling. The patches twisted each other and negotiated a smile that was hardly detectable. She got married, she an educated woman who lived in a prosperous city, he an illiterate retiring soldier desperate to escape a life back in his village with no electricity.
It was a good match. She was his dignity, decoding the mystery of words and people for him. He was her self-esteem, shielding her from inquisitive stares, armed with shopping lists that had drawings representing daily items. They were inseparable, except that they never went out together.
Yingping has now arrived at a ripe old age. Her face has smoothened as the result of negotiation of the patches of skin. Somehow, the skin lost the ability to wrinkle, giving her a permanently youngish face. She learned to smile better smiles. Her husband started walking with her in the street since she did not know when. Lately, he learned to walk with her in the street, holding her hand.
The couple fell in love.