Not Just Yet

Nicholas Quirke was feeling more nervous on the morning of 12 November 2020 than he had felt for a long time. The anxiety caused by the uncertainty of his stay was increasing as he pushed the limits of the Chinese government’s policy. He arrived on the 29 February 2020 and under his visa should have departed 29 May. The extraordinary circumstances of the virus had given him an additional, uninterrupted stay of six months for which he was forever grateful. Having to attend each month with the ever likely outcome that his stay would not be extended made the visit more stressful each time and after his last experience of the process he was certain he was going to be looking at a very different landscape. He was astonished therefore when he presented his paperwork that it was reviewed, deemed acceptable, stamped and approved and he found himself with another 30 days, albeit 160 yuan lighter. This meant he was not leaving just yet and he would get to spend his birthday in China and possibly, if his teaching schedule allowed it, get to see a little more of China. It was good news and he felt like celebrating and made his way to Wudaoying Hutong where he often had tea at a vegan restaurant for lunch and a tea. Having lost 2 kilo as a result of his illness and conscious that his digestive system was still a little delicate, he had a very simple but attractive beetroot salad. One he was finished and exhausted the Longjing tea he went home, revealing in his good fortune and the beautiful sunshine, to commemorate the occasion with Peng. The evening film was the creepy The Dark and the Wicked which was a truly disturbing and unsettling film. Once again he was taking to bed with the stuff of nightmares ready to whirr through his slumber.

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