Chapter 21: Pondering a Painful Experience
Not dead, happy yet?
The next few days, I would often go to the internet cafe to check if I had received any emails. I actually did receive a new mail in my mailbox. I excitedly paid my respects to God, Allah and the Goddess of Mercy. I shivered and almost clicked on the button that would read out the mail. The mail was indeed sent by Xiao Xi and there were a few sentences:
“I have received your email. Due to some circumstances at home, I will not be able to reach school on time. You should head down with Fang Yuke first.
Also, call me if anything happens. I don’t check my email often. Please excuse me.”
I read that message and pondered over it many times. I only turned off the computer off and left when I could recite all 45 words by heart. I pondered about it very painstakingly for a long time. How could I talk to him for a long time without being a disturbance? Sending email was the easiest way that I could think of. If it didn’t work out, I could refuse to acknowledge it, misread it and even lie to myself about what his emotions and feelings were upon receiving the mail. However, I didn’t expect that I would get rejected on my first try. The question that I had so confidently asked myself had went ignored and my attempts at trying to win his favor had also not been acknowledged at all. I still had yet to experience the first exchange between two lover’s eyes, in which the beginning of school would be meaningless without the lead character. Officially alienated, I didn’t even get a single chance before I was cast out, causing me to break off any strand of hope. The 7th day of Chinese New Year had yet to arrive but I gave my mother a random excuse and set off to Beijing alone.
I didn’t want to come back with Fang Yuke. First, there was my relationship with Ru Ting. I didn’t want to experience her wrath just because I spent too much time with him. The second reason was because I wanted to use this as a way to rebel against what Xiao Xi had written in his letter. Just because he said it didn’t mean that I had to do so. Even though I knew that my act of rebellion meant nothing in the eyes of others and Xiao Xi.
It was very cold in school. Even the teaching building of the first year uni students, had few people. Even the canteen had only one stall open and it just had to be the one that was furthest from my dorm. In order to avoid having to avoid such troublesome things like changing my clothes to leave the house, I bought a big haversack, turned off my handphone, unplugged the phone wire and prepared to hibernate.
In this way, I slept muddle-headedly for a few days until I could no longer sleep anymore. Only now, did I turn on the computer and get on the Internet with my swollen face. TLN: This is the true horror of school…making it so students sleep for 36ish hours straight until they recover Mwahahaha The login page automatically started blinking, notifying me of a new message. I clicked on it to check my email. The sender was called “Heart Jumps”. The content was extremely tyrannical: 22:05 Have you died? 22:50: If you’re alive please let out a small sound. 23:00 Why did you run back to school? Remember to charge your phone 23:20: You intentionally turned off your phone? 23:25: Why did you also disconnect your dorm phone?
My brain was still foggy, but I remembered that “Heart Jumps” was Fang Yuke. On the message construction page, I wrote: “Not dead, disappointed yet?”
Fang Yuke’s icon immediately lit up: “You scoundrel, I just found out today that you went home first. No loyalty.”
The impression that Fang Yuke gave me was more and more like a demon. Although his words were venomous through and through, he was a good brother.
I put on a very sorry expression and wrote: “Thinking of me so much! 🙂 You better clear this chat away. If someone sees this, that someone will go crazy with jealousy. I will be the one who suffers. “ I then sent him an emoticon of someone hammering his head.
“ What’s on your mind? Why else would you go home alone?”
I sighed. I didn’t know why, I hesitated for a long while. I pondered over the issues of my heart indefinitely over a few days’ sleep, and I finally came to a conclusion that allowed me to write a very intentional message on the computer: “ I had put in a last burst of efforts towards my love, but I did not succeed. I suddenly realized that I was not that kind of thick skinned, infallible person who could fight for succeed in the face of adversity or death. I am, in the end, someone who retreats when it gets hard. So I have decided to give up.”
Fang Yuke didn’t start typing on his end.
I continued to write: “I thought that, because I had met him out of the thousands of people, it had to be him. How many things in this world will go according to how you want it? You better not laugh at me. This peerless King Kong beautiful maiden also has her weak side. It’s the same as the characters in the games you play; after getting sliced by countless blades, they’ll die sooner or later, unable to stem their blood flow. I wanted to take advantage of the time that I still had to retreat to give myself a chance at survival. I wanted to be like you; a grand person of endless passions and emotions so that I could become so close to him that he could never leave me. It’s a pity that I can’t be as dedicated as you, nor as brave. I’ve found someone that I liked but I can’t charge forth selflessly. I even had to contemplate for such a long time, finding so many excuses to protect myself. Isn’t it such a joke? I thought that I could treat love in the same way as you did. In the end, I found out that I’m a coward who is unable to withstand even a single blow. I can’t attack well. I don’t even know whether I’m good at defending. Maybe in the future, if there’s an opportunity, I’ll find out.”
I received Fang Yuke’s reply: “ It’s better to suffer now than later on. Take care of your health; if you have time, then go out for a walk.”
I put on a smile and wrote: “Thanks. In front of the Love God, I’m definitely not a good disciple. Retreating whenever I want.”
He replied: “You’ve joined an evil cult. But it’s okay now that you’ve stopped going down the wrong path.”
I laughed : “How do you know whether or not your teachings are not of an evil cult’s?”
He replied: “Because I can guarantee that you will find fortune at the end. Both of us will be blessed.”
I said : “You had better not lay it on too thick. My emotions are currently unoccupied, be careful that I don’t end up as your third party. I’ll see whether or not you can still remain so confident.”
He replied with an emoticon that was cheering and said, “I welcome the challenge!”
After talking to Fang Yuke, the pain in my heart lessened by a lot. It could have been because of the conversation on the internet, which served as medium of distraction that allowed me to express my thoughts without holding back at all. From this moment on, I wrote Fang Yuke onto my list of good friends.
When school opened, I didn’t sink into a deep and dark contemplative mood. Julie and I joked the whole way to class. Many times, I would tease Julie until she had to stand at the public square of the Hundredth Anniversary Commemorative class and double up with laughter, coming just short of lying on the floor and rolling around. I even signed up for a Charity-based club, giving tuition to the small children living in impoverished areas. But, I still felt slightly unconfident, afraid that I was a bad teacher who would lead people astray or even ruin other people.
During this period of pondering about my painful experiences, my key takeaway was: I had successfully dieted. I forced myself to eat during the proper times. However, every time I ate a few bites of bread, I would see my favorite Braised Pork and rapidly lose interest. Looking at myself in the mirror, I thought that I would look good in swimming class now. I could guarantee that if I put on a swimming suit now, I would not have any excess flab, even if I wouldn’t look too sexy.
I checked whether I would be able to become an endorser for some random company on the overhead bridge, before offering to lose weight for a specialist agency, comparing a photo from before the diet and considering it as a part time job so I could earn a bit of additional revenue.
Speaking of swimming, I had no idea Peking University made the class mandatory for the entire school. It was almost as if everyone lived on some island and could encounter a tsunami anytime. Especially for people like me who lived in a patchwork of waterways, especially in Jiangsu, ignorant of even the fundamental skills of anything related to water, this kind of of a mandatory class was basically torture. Because there were a lot of students from Peking University, teachers treated the students from the southern part of the country as if they were water-borne animals. It was almost as if they assumed that we had gills and did not need to use our lungs to breathe the moment we entered the water.