This is a Seriously Awkward Scene
For this reason, I formulated a strong plan.
- Every morning I would let Fang Yuke buy me breakfast and then call me to wake me up. Then, I would begin to study German. Considering the fact he did not even understand German, I would persuade him to choose German as his second foreign language. This way, we could speak German words of love in public settings.
- For my elective course, I would request that Fang Yuke select it for me so that he could help me study and take notes and record the essential points for exams.
- Before I slept I would make him read a line of English love letters for me, in order to raise my English capability.
With this complete, I believed that my grades would take a qualitative leap. Conveniently, I could also reach another hidden purpose: If Fang Yuke could not continue to persevere, I had a reason to plead for my 85 points. When the moment came, if it got to a 75, it wouldn’t be a problem.
I definitely didn’t expect that Fang Yuke would be able to persevere as greatly as one of the sons of the Twenty-four Filial Exemplars , Like a morning bell and an evening drum , every morning at 7:30, he would definitely call me and wake me up. At night at 10:30, he would read me a section of a love letter in English. Besides my own classes, he chose the same elective classes as I did. He even minored in German, acting as a role model with a great appearance. In a glance, more than half of the semester had already passed. Fang Yuke did everything easy as pie, while after I woke up, the moment I grabbed a German book, I would faint and fall asleep again. I didn’t understand half of the love letter that Fang Yuke read to me at night. I estimated that his speech had improved a lot. All my thoughts at the elective classes went to the person beside me. How did I have the heart to study well? Alas, if I continued on like this, when I graduated, wouldn’t I stay where I was now?
Sometimes when Fang Yuke was tutoring me, I would watch him and be lost in thought. I’d gaze at the look of concentration he used whenever he read books, hair splayed across his forehead, while his large shoulders would scatter sunlight all over his body creating a golden halo. Every time when one of these moments came up, I would feel this wasn’t real. Because the pimples on my face continued to spread unchecked, my fat continued to accumulate, so no matter how I looked at it, I fell from the standard of “pleasing to the eyes” to “a spectacle too horrible to endure”. This was so much so that I wrung my hands for Fang Yuke, and no matter what, I had to think for the genes of the next generation.
Many worries arose as I was together with Fang Yuke. Besides my inferiority and feelings of shame, there was also Fang Yuke’s fan club. In the past, I didn’t realize how strong his charm was when I was just common friends with him. Only now did I find that this rascal’s karma was so strong that it exploded. Sometimes when a question came up with my moral standing, the mailbox was incapable of making landfall normally. When I went to borrow Yuke’s mailbox, I found that inside was a pile of love letters that had not yet been opened. Especially after the summer project, all the junior female students at my alma mater all pretended to use the name of studying to send mail with straightforward love confessions. That level of achievement was so much greater than what I had given Xiao Xi. Plus, the content was very rich, new and original. From dumb language to classical Chinese, there were numerous. I watched Fang Yuke expressionlessly delete all his mail. I could even hear overly sensitive hearts smashing to pieces on the floor. But Fang Yuke said, “I don’t like people younger than me. There’s a generation gap.” At the time, I was so amazed that I couldn’t stop. It turned out that Fang Yuke had intense tastes. Thus, I lewdly requested to look at his A card to see if he was the whole family set. Instead, Fang Yuke fiercely struck my head. However, in the numerous days that followed the moment I saw Fang Yuke, I thought of an upper class lady being kept by an attractive young man. As for Fang Yuke he was intolerable of my strange expressions. In the end, he upgraded the grade to 85 points to 90 points as punishment to prevent me from indulging in flights of fancy and to make me quiet my heart and study.
I was really incapable of understanding the degree to which Fang Yuke cared about my grades, especially the concern towards my English speaking skill. Often, when I couldn’t help but ask him he would say, “I like to speak English well, and study well,” which made me tie myself into a knot and die. My English only amounted to “How are you?” “Fine, thank you. And you?” At this stage, wanting me to fluently speak “Today, the chef at the canteen is really not bad. The balance between the fat and meat on the red braised pork is exactly right, the oil isn’t greasy, and the quantity is sufficient” and things like that was quite a stretch. Indeed, it made things difficult for me. This was the first time I hoped that the motherland would be sufficiently powerful to open the whole world to “The New West”, making all the citizens in the whole world study Chinese. Then, they would have to take the Chinese TOEFL test and IELTS and things like that. If they had the skill, just use Chinese to lament about red braised pork. Let them taste my pain! Hmph!
When I heard “500 Sentences of English Colloquial Speech” I was at a loss as I sat on the bed and asked, “Julie, if I continue on with my grades, how much do you think I can get for the midterm?”
Julie spread out her facial mask on her face like a white faced blood-sucking vermin as she lay down on the bed. Her eyelids did not lift as she spoke, “What’s up? Since when did you care about your grades? In any case, just try hard not to fail the course. Last year,didn’t you pass every course? Look at how generous our teachers are.”
“Then do you think the teacher will so generous and let me get a 90?” I hugged my pillow as I looked at her.
Julie curiously looked at me, “Since when did you want to improve yourself like this? Isn’t your life just pursuing meeting the minimum standard? After being with Fang Yuke, your level has to increase as well?”
I pursed my lip, “My life is made up of awful numbers. Right now, Fang Yuke told me that my requirement for moving out is 90 points, and he’s using this condition to force me……”
“Say, why don’t you have any future prospects? Are the three of us so infectious that you want to move out? I think you’re definitely being eaten. A rascal who neglects one’s friends when smitten with a new love, when the time comes don’t find us and cry.” Julie bared her fangs and brandished her claws as she spoke.
I laughed foolishly, “Oh, aren’t I giving you guys an empty bed to put junk on? Give me an idea. How can I make Fang Yuke give up on such a ridiculous condition? My mom doesn’t even have such high standards. The moment I look at those warped abcd’s, I feel like my brain is either accumulating water or it is cerebral hemorrhage. The moment I look at Chinese characters, I want to give my greetings to Confucius and tell him off for being a self-centered show off. Say, why is my mood so passive? If I test 90 points, doesn’t that mean that studying is a very lowly thing? The more you disgust it, the more you will win the desired outcome? Alas, how can I find such a great boyfriend who’s so eager to study. In the past, didn’t he also come up with the idea to go to three classes and skip the other two? How come now, every time it gets to our elective class, we must go. And he even supervises me so that I’m not allowed to go to bed or eat snacks. Did I find a boyfriend or a dad?” I painfully grumbled.
The phone rang. Julie and I mutually hoped for a long time, waiting for the other person to pick up the phone. Unfortunately, the other end was not patient and didn’t wait for us to finish competing who was lazier, and who would answer it. The phone cut off.
Julie kept her face rigid as she said, “Zhou Linlin, I think that only Fang Yuke can stand you being so lazy. After you pass this village, you won’t have this shop. Hurry up and marry. Otherwise, when someone suddenly begins to regret and wants to withdraw a product, what’s to be done?”
I had just thought of saying something when my cell phone rang. I picked it up. It was Fang Yuke.
“I don’t want to listen to English love letters anymore. I don’t understand it. You can read some Chinese originals to me.” The moment I picked it up I unhappily said this. Maybe I couldn’t persevere.
“Last year you were exempt from having to take English. This year, you better recover and quickly start studying. If you can’t pass the grade 4 Peking University exam, then you can’t get your diploma. Be obedient, don’t act willfully and make a scene.” Fang Yuke’s voice unhurriedly came through the phone.
“Ugh you’re so annoying! Just like my dad.” I angrily spoke. Not waiting for Fang Yuke to speak, I hung up. After I hung up, I was also shocked by myself.
Julie glanced at me, “Did you eat gunpowder? It’s so difficult for him to read English to you every night, and it’s even free English audio, but why don’t you cherish it? Listening to Fang Yuke speak English like an English gentleman, is his family about to migrate to Great Britain?”
I pouted, “Brilliant students will forever not understand the pain of weak students. When teachers explain things one time, it’s carved into his brain and he remembers it so clearly. I wish I could replay the scene. As for me, sleepiness is like a conditioned reflex for me. It sounds like Tangseng is reciting Buddhist scriptures. So how come he can use those kinds of requests and put them on me? Also, I already honestly told him I wanted to live in his house, so if he doesn’t want me to, he can just refuse, right? WHy would he heap so many requirements on me? These past few days, every time I dream, I dream of test grades. I’ve almost returned to that time before the Gaokao. Everytime I took the Gaokao, at least I still had a psychological teacher to coach me. Now I am completely relying on myself to adjust to this.”
“Fang Yuke is not wrong in making you study well. Look at you, forgetting yourself with love. If he didn’t require that you test 90 points, you wouldn’t even be able to test into the minimum standard. Thus, he still has a lot of foresight. He understands you so thoroughly and he even used something that enticed you the most to restrict you. So able!” Julie said.
“I don’t care! I have to show my anger in case I am threatened by him. Perhaps I don’t have to go through all this pain to reach my final goal.” I diffidently played with my phone, waiting for Fang Yuke to call and comfort me. After I waited for such a long time, Fang Yuke didn’t call me at all so I didn’t know if he was angry at me.
The second day, the moment I woke up it was already past 10. These few months, Fang Yuke was the first to call me. It seemed it was impossible for me to intimidate him. It was more or less if he was the one to intimidate me. Yesterday, my nameless fire had offended him. By and by I would have to go beg for forgiveness. Oh dear.
— 二十四孝- the Twenty-four Filial Exemplars, classic Confucian text on filial piety from Yuan dynasty 晨钟暮鼓- lit. morning bell, evening drum, symbolizing monastic practice (idiom); fig. encouragement to study or progress