Fleeting Midsummer - Chapter 56
Chapter 56: Sorrow is Greater than the Heart and Does Not Die
After that day, I became very obedient. Every morning I would wake up exactly at 7:00 and would go to buy some preserved dried cabbage buns and soy milk. After I finished eating, I would read an hour of German. Next, I would go to class, following the regulations. At class, I would not open my phone, eat snacks, or sleep. Even if it was the driest and dullest politics class, I would concentrate my full attention on it as well. After class, I would go to the computer room to listen spoken English and do my English listening comprehension questions. In the evening, I would also go to Weiming Lake to stroll around. I felt that the days passed by happily. I no longer saw Fang Yuke nor heard his voice. I had disappeared in Fang Yuke’s whole world and I felt that it was great.
Wang Yimo and Julie had been in contact with each other all the time these past few days. It was almost as if they were about to become one. As half of the matchmaker, I received an enormous polite reception. As long as there was a meal, they would definitely invite me over to be their unwanted third party. After I went one or two times, I refused to go again. First, Wang Yimo rarely went to the canteen to eat. Every time he would flashily go with Julie to a restaurant that is 10 miles away to wait for me.
While on the bus, it was easy for me to become absent-minded and miss the stop. I was used to subconsciously searching for the pair of hands that pulled me. Under the scattered sunlight, I could vaguely see a warm side profile. Secondly, their sympathizing expressions were too obvious. It seemed as if every single little sentence was intended to try and clear the way for me. Especially Julie, as she spoke to the end, her subject would always change to “men are farts”, and other vulgar conclusions. I scarcely realized that she herself was dying under this fart and was and doing so extremely happily. The IQ of women in love is 0. I used to be like that.
Over the weekends, Wang Jie and Ah Tao would always drag me to the supermarket to shop. We went to the morning market to buy supplies, making me do the bargaining. I thought that their hearts were too dark. Other people were industrious, as they operate small businesses and if we stopped buying so much clothes, we could also have more money for supplies. Thus, I didn’t bargain and just bought them. As I lugged them back, I waited for them to rot. This made them even more flustered. They would bring me to go on scenic tours. After seeing waterfalls from ten different ferries, we would go to pick a few fruit from the farms and handed them to me as they whisperingly took a lot of pictures. The me in the picture laughed extremely forcibly. The sunlight hit my face, making me seem unnecessarily pale. I thought that they didn’t need to be so concerned about me. My life was very substantial. It was a richness that I had never felt in all my 20 years of life. I didn’t have any time to consider that and the romantic history and people that were irrelevant with me. I didn’t care about whether those people were happy, whether they were reluctant to leave each other, whether their fingernails were clean, whether their expressions were penetrating, or whether their mouths were overcast. Really, I didn’t care one bit.
But why was our dorms so close and I had still never encountered him? Why hadn’t there been even one brief encounter?
Later, after the evening when he went crazy, I heard that he was going to leave the country in a month. Julie stood nervously in the wind as she told this to me, a little regretfully. I really hated Beijing’s sandstorms. They pricked my eyes and it really hurt. I didn’t dare rub them either. I was afraid that the things that came out of my eyes would be too tart and too bitter. I could only look at the sunlight peeking through the thick, round, ash-colored clouds in the sky. The sun in my heart was also in a similar situation. On that night, I finally squatted in the toilet and viciously flung my phone sim card. Looking at its final struggle in the water before falling into the toilet drain, I felt a perverse sense of happiness.
It just happened that on the second day, Wan YiMo needed to return back to New Zealand. He pulled all of us dorm mates out to sing Karaoke. I agreed super excitedly. I told them all, this lady boss here wanted to be the microphone boss. They’d better call some handsome men for me because I want to reveal my ultimate ability. They were all exceptionally pampering these past few weeks; they agreed to anything no matter what I asked for. As expected, when I looked into the private room at the Karaoke centre, there were quite a few strangers, all of them quite handsome. It’s just that I suddenly lost my interest in handsome men and treated them just another part of the karaoke room, I was really not interested. I thought about Yao Zi, if she knew about how I was turning down this fortuitous encounter, I was afraid that she would definitely disown me as her disciple, never to return. One of the handsome guys proposed a game of dice. The punishment was a bit crude, the winner would pick a number and the loser would have to kiss the person who corresponded to that number. I clapped my hands and called out in agreement. If one wanted to play, they should play an exciting game. Anyway, I was single right now and could afford to play it. Beijing’s music was the the Xinle Band’s ‘One Night In Beijing’. It was a high pitched song that was extremely noisy. I drank the beer and stepped on the sofa with the dice can clasped in my hand, shaking it in the air. The dice rattled in the can.
With a ‘peng’, I slammed the dice can on the table, straining my voice to shout, “No! This lady boss wants to kiss every single person. You all need to clean your mouths for me!” I think that all I needed was to hold a cigarette in between my fingers and I would be the perfect gangster’s apprentice. Furthermore, my luck was exceptionally good that day, winning nine games out of ten. The one time I lost, the one I kissed was just Julie. My heart was unsatisfied, I hooted, “Julie, kissing you is just like licking myself. No way no way, I can be considered as the savior of you and Xiao Mo, you should sacrifice your family’s Xiao Mo for a while.” After saying this, I extended my left hand like a gentleman, inviting Wang YiMo to step forward. My dorm mates knew that I wanted to be crazy this night and they all let me do what I want. I suspected that my attitude previously where I had studied well was scarier than anything else. They would rather see me go crazy than be that obedient child who was no better than a walking corpse. As a result, I had them as my supporters and was extremely gutsy. Wan YiMo shook his head resignedly and shrugged towards Julie.
Julie picked up a pair of maracas, “Xiao Mo, you shouldn’t shrug your shoulders. It’s such a foreigner’s thing to do and feels so different from our culture. Living outside for ten years, your living habits have all changed. You should change it back for me. Go, go. Let my family’s young lady give you a kiss. Just pretend you’re buying a piece of meat.” I happily bounced over, but my tears started to flow uncontrollably. Because I was thinking that if Fang YuKe stayed overseas for ten years, would his living habits also change? Like, he wouldn’t like eating the things I liked to eat anymore, he wouldn’t like drinking the drinks that I did, wouldn’t remember how a brat like me would curse him for being an idiot? Everyone was waiting for my kiss, but I suddenly could not stop thinking anymore. The fact was that the man of my dreams could only be him was plain as day.
That’s right, I was thinking of him. No matter whether I was studying or eating a steamed bun, whether I was studying German or looking at the blackboard, whether I was at some random lakeside, his silhouette would find a crack to squeeze its way back into my brain. Extremely dense, extremely full of him. I’d thrown away his number, but I could still remember what it was. We’d broken up, but I could still remember the warmth of his hug. He was leaving the country, but I could still remember his smell.
There’s nothing sadder than a withered heart, but it was not dead yet. As it turns out, I still had no way to get rid of these feelings. I love him. I really love him. But he had thrown me away to go to England. I was still studying English in hopes that one day I would be able to live within his space, secretly taking peeks at him. These petty ways of thought were so deep, so much so that I didn’t even feel like giving away a kiss, even for fun. I wanted to, with him…… I faced Wang Yi Mo’s face with a bit of embarrassment, hesitatingly moving my head closer, slowly closing my eyes, with tiny voices in my heart going, “don’t do it, don’t do it.” It was at this moment that I felt a pair of strong hands hold onto my shoulders. I turned around and saw a pair of jet-black eyes filled with anger. The owner of those pair of eyes rudely and unreasonably pulled my hand and led me out of the karaoke room.
The music in the karaoke room didn’t stop. “I’ve waited for 2,000 years, but my lover never returned……” Sounds of the mushy popular hit song echoed down the corridor. One could faintly hear the sounds of someone vomiting in the toilet.
Fang YuKe was standing in front of me. His black checkered shirt looked extremely attractive when paired with his fair face. It was just that his fair face was currently wracked with exhaustion and pain. We were both silent. The love song from the booth was still playing, the man who was vomiting sounded like he even wanted to puke out his intestines. Amidst the sounds of the love song and the vomit, my heart kept beating and was unable to calm itself down. As such, I courageously turned my body only to be pulled back. Behind me, I heard Fang YuKe sigh softly. Hearing this, my eyes burned again. In the past, when he used various profound or straightforward words to hurt me, I was so angry to the point where I wanted to commit suicide by biting off my own tongue. However, he wasn’t mocking me right now. He’d only sighed but I’d felt discomfort to the point of choking. He sighed, “I’m sorry.” His tears pitter-pattered to the floor, the light that reflected off was multicoloured, dazzling the eyes.
He continued to say behind me, “I’m sorry about the things that occurred that day. I drank too much.” He held my hand behind my body but his grasp held none of the warmth from the past and was even slightly cold. He continued, “I’m going to leave this country. In the future, you must take care of yourself. Remember no matter how lazy you are, you have to boil water for yourself, don’t casually drink unboiled water. You should drink less beer, don’t play so crazily, don’t always run from your problems, if you have any problems you should voice them out, if you feel upset, come look for me….” too naggy, too naggy. Fang YuKe, didn’t you know that I really want to avoid you…… I turned my body angrily, “I feel grieved. I feel very grieved right now. But is there a point of telling you? In the future when I feel grieved, where do I go to look for you? Tell me how I’m supposed to convey it long-distance? How much does it cost to call long distance? When the morning comes and I want to cry, do I have to count what time it is over there, whether it’s morning or night, whether you’re sleeping or not, whether I’m waking you up? I still have to think about whether it’s okay for me to be bother you, whether or not you will hate me. I, Zhou Linlin, always speak with imposition. What I can pick up, I can bear to put down. Why do I have to turn myself into such a pitiful person? It’s obvious that you are the one who has thrown me away, but I forced myself to be the one to break up with you. In the end, I still have to pitifully call you to tell you that I’m grieved beyond what I can bear, I’m suffering until I can’t hold on any longer. Am I supposed to live like this? If I live like this, wouldn’t I turn back into the me from the past?
Fang YuKe looked at me in shock and his mouth formed an O-shape, “Why are you saying this? You’re suffering? Why are you suffering? What has that Wang YiMo done to you?” I really wanted to bang my head on the wall and faint. It was like I was punching cotton. I was clearly talking about the situation between us, why did he flip it around to somebody else? I twisted my mouth, “Wang YiMo has done nothing to me. It was only me who was going to do something to him. He’s going overseas tomorrow.”
A look of desolation flashed across Fang YuKe’s eyes, “You’re so upset about him going back to his country? Then what about me leaving the country?” I glared at him, feeling like this conversation was outrageous and mystifying. That random brother was still vomiting in the distance, I really felt like going over to give him a kick and tell him that he would soon get used to his vomiting, but this lady boss was unable to get used to tolerating his vomiting. Especially since my mood was extremely bad right now. I could only pull on Fang YuKe’s hand, walk into the karaoke room, take the microphone to tell my dorm mates and those handsome guys, “My brain is currently confused and I don’t understand a lot of things that have been said. So I want to borrow your ears and intellect.” After saying this, I turned off the music.
There was one handsome guy who was protesting with dissatisfaction. I felt that this guy was as stupid as the weather forecaster on CCTV. The weather had changed but he was still unable to notice it. Right now, everyone present was extremely silent, especially the rock and roll music that was terminated. I faced Fang YuKe and said, “Fang YuKe, this Wang YiMo is Julie’s boyfriend. It was tough but I decided not to have any relation with him so please, do not in the midst of our breakup, slap the sin of being so ‘fickle in love’ on me. I’m afraid that you will say it’s because our feelings have died, or regretted or something along those lines that would slap me with an unfair label.” Fang YuKe remained unmoving over there, as if he had yet to adapt to this quiet atmosphere. Within the group of watchers, some of them had mouths that looked like they could fit a chicken egg. I really let these people off easy, how could I let them watch this drama for free, I should turn around and collect some money from them. Half a day had passed before he slowly released a breath, “Then why did you want to break up with me?” Damn, really f*cking depressing. We’d been talking in circles. I took a break and drank a cup of cool water. Fang YuKe impatiently watched me drink that cup of cool water but he didn’t dare to say a word.
I realised that I was actually capable of possessing a queenly aura. I looked at Fang YuKe, “Fang YuKe, touch your heart and tell me. Was the decision of you leaving the country something that was decided within these few weeks? Your family wants to migrate but you’ve never even told me about this. You speak such fluent English while flirting and exchanging glances with other people, do you think i’m blind? Do you think my heart is made of stone? I still have to wait for you to bring it up? I appreciate you coming to find me today but our conversations always go around in circles and we never find a conclusion anyway. It may not be tiring for you but my brain cells are about to die. You should know that my brain cells are already very few in number, they’re an endangered species. You shouldn’t randomly trample and waste them. If you, for the sake of every person here, say things in such a way that I can understand, I will be able to give up completely. This will save me from thinking about whether or not I even have a 1% chance of possibility of reconciliation. This love we have between us makes me feel too insecure. When I’m leaning back, I’m afraid of falling backwards. When I’m leaning to the side, I’m afraid of falling off the side. You can’t give me Sophie 35 (menstruation pad), so could it be that you just want to give me a disposable diaper to use for the entire year? What’s the damn point of giving me a cushion? To put it simply, stepping forward to help me is like stabbing me with a knife, while stepping backwards to leave me alone is also like stabbing me with a knife. These few days, I’ve been completely out of it and haven’t been myself. Just hurt me and I’ll be able to let it go. At that time, let’s make a clean break and never meet again, even till we’re old and dead. Go ahead and leave this country.” Those few handsome guys were just like statues, frozen over there. In my heart I thought that I, this lady boss, had never ever had any interest in them and had no need to maintain any reputation in front of them. The way they were acting was as if they had never ever seen anyone throw away their dignity in front of them before. This period of silence made the strength of my aura drop by half. I probed, “You should say something. I have so many questions, enquires, cross examinations of all sorts that I still want to ask you.” Fang YuKe suddenly moved closer and cupped my face in his hands, and maliciously bit my mouth. I thought that this was really too dramatic and rendered me speechless. I’d really let these spectators off too cheaply and so I desperately tried to push him away.
But Fang YuKe refused to stop, holding my head tightly, desperately using his tongue to pry my lips open. Around me, they collectively sucked in a breath. These f*ckers, how come none of them stepped forward to save a damsel in distress? Did I really have to shout out ‘molest’ in order to go with the flow? I pouted and said indistinctly, “Jerk, you think that I’m always so easy to bully……” But Fang YuKe just beamed at me as he looked at me closely; his eyes were sparkling. He suddenly said coquettishly, “Idiot, I’m really hungry. I haven’t felt this way for days. I need to eat, bring me out to eat……”
I pointed at the cold self-service dishes on the table and said, “Eat then, eat.” Fang YuKe patiently said at the side, “I want to eat the scrambled eggs with fresh tomatoes that you made that time at Tan Yi’s house.”
I looked at him with suspicion, thinking that Fang YuKe had changed too much recently. The fact that he was suddenly so much stronger could be ignored, but the fact that he suddenly had this tyrannical tendency, such that he was even daring enough to think about the food that I cooked previously. My brain was in chaos once again. How could our previous serious conversation suddenly turn into one like cotton? But Fang YuKe didn’t care about me, he just wrapped me in his embrace, smiling lightly as he said, “I thought that Fang Lei would never be born into this world. Actually, it was that he wanted to be born into this world sooner.” My stupid head was really going to explode, if I fixed it up a little would it still work? Fang YuKe turned his head to give my [dorm] sisters a charming smile that would steal the hearts of a hundred maidens, “I’m going to borrow her tonight, if it gets too late, you can just lock the door,”
My sisters called out in agreement one after the other, their eyes flashing. These treasonous jerks! I opened my eyes wide to glare at them, saying, “You all dare to lock me out?!” Fang YuKe had yet to explain a single thing, but they had already been swindled to this extent. Except for the fact that he had kiss me for awhile, had we even made any progress in this current situation? My position had become so ambiguous. Who was the person who told me that men could not be trusted at all…… After this, Fang YuKe patiently wrapped me in a thick outer coat and scarf. After he had wrapped me into a mummy, he patted my head satisfactorily, leading me out the door by my hand. It was in this position that he led me into the opposite room. Inside that room was filled with his roommates as well as few friends that I didn’t recognise. My eyes were spinning in circles as I wanted to see what Fang YuKe wanted to do.
Fang Yu Ke grabbed a coat, saying to them with a bright smile, “I’m heading off first. That… Today I’ll treat everyone to a good time, take it as I was never going to leave on any journey.” His friends looked on with smiles that were really not smiles. There was a guy who blurted out boldly, “You asshole, you really wasted our feelings. We were all prepared to send you off with tears.” At the same time, he shouted at me, “Sister-in-law, you’ve finally returned. If you didn’t return, we would have really gone crazy. He won’t even play CS with us anymore……”