SWFM 247

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Chapter 247: Ninety percent of youths’ problems are unanswerable

 

Zhang Ninglang went out for lunch.

None of the remaining five felt like moving. They asked their classmates from the neighbouring room to buy lunch for them before continuing to lie on their beds.

“The most pitiful thing for a man is lying on a bed everyday thinking about rolling around on a bed,” Li Xingming expressed his comprehensions on life.

“Don’t be dirty-minded here! Faced with such beautiful love, let us hurry up and purify our souls,” Tan Yao said shamelessly in a tone that lacked remorse.

Then, the atmosphere in the room turned somewhat emotional.

Li Xingming thought for a long time before saying, “If I was given a chick like this back then, I might have turned out to be a good man as well.”

Four or the remaining three people ‘tsk-ed’ him.

Therefore, Li Xingming placed his hopes on the smiling Xu Tingsheng, the only one not to have been disparaging, “Bro Xu, what do you think?”

“Probably not,” Xu Tingsheng smiled, “Actually, good men should be born that way, not changing all of a sudden because of some woman. It is virtually impossible for a man to truly change his nature for a woman as is seen in novels, television and the movies. It might be possible for a time, but definitely not for an entire lifetime.”

“On this topic, there might actually be fewer good men than we men ourselves think there are. Sometimes, when feeling blissful or emotional like when we meet someone for the first time or suddenly miss a person, even we ourselves think that we might really become good men then.”

“I definitely can’t be considered one now,” Lu Xu said.

“I don’t know if I can even be considered half of one,” Old Wai said.

They looked at Xu Tingsheng, who said, “I’m not one.”

Li Xingming said, “I…”

Old Wai said, “You don’t have to say it.”

Li Xingming hatefully got off his bed, turning on his computer and downloading a show.

Tan Yao randomly tossed his cigarette away, saying, “Well, I’m definitely not one. Still, I’ve just thought of something. If some bastard dude falls for a woman to the point of even being willing to die for her someday, can he be considered a good man then?”

“That serious?” Li Xingming muttered, “Can he at least bed her before he dies for her? And best not just once. Best if it’s for a few years first.”

“…He can’t,” Tan Yao said.

“Only a fool would do it then, dying for her. She’d cry for him, yes, feeling sad for a while, but wouldn’t she still be making merry on someone else’s bed in the end? Do you think she’d still remember you having died for her then?” Li Ximing ranted indignantly.

Then, he opened the show he had just downloaded, “…Demon, quickly return my Grandpa to me! Ha…Bang…Pa…” “Heck, Calabash Brothers.”

Everyone felt that while this didn’t seem very upright and honourable, it did make a lot of sense.

No one rebutted him.

There were ultimately few who would choose the honourable path, most of them existing merely in historical records and fictional works.

Tan Yao looked at Xu Tingsheng, saying, “Don’t be led off-tangent by Li Xingming. Let’s talk about that problem of mine.”

Xu Tingsheng said, “If he dies, he’s a good man. If he doesn’t, he’ll still be a bastard.”

“What do you mean?” Tan Yao asked.

“Being good to a woman forever is harder than dying for her. Is that what you mean?” Old Wai answered.

He had once truly risked death for Li Linlin before. Yet, there were still many times afterwards in which he had hurt her and caused her to cry. Being willing to die for her did not mean that they would not quarrel terribly over some minor matters, especially when the two were still in the peak of their youth.

Xu Tingsheng thought for a moment before saying, “I believe that there are many men in this world who have once been willing to die for some woman at some point in their lives. Yet, this does not entail that they can be a good man forever for her.”

“This matter cannot be decided by subjectivity. For example, if Andy Lau had not died at the end of <A Moment of Romance>, he would definitely and unquestionably have been a burden on Jacklyn Wu for the rest of their lives, bringing her innumerable harm.”

“…”

“Anyway, I personally feel that only a fool would be a good man,” Li Xingming said.

“……”

They wrangled over this unanswerable question for a long time, only changing the topic when Zhang Ninglang returned from lunch.

Everyone peppered him with questions.

“How are things?”

“You’re together just like that?”

“What stage have you gotten to already?”

Zhang Ninglang said, “Nope. I told her that it would be better for us to slowly get to know each other better first. Girls can’t enter a relationship so lightly, starting so quickly as well, especially in a place where you’ll have to stay for four years.”

His roommates could only sigh emotionally.

The benchmark for a good man…was unexpectedly pulled so high by this usually inconspicuous roommate of theirs all of a sudden.
……

Xu Tingsheng had originally intended to return to Hucheng for a look around that afternoon, but Old Wai told him, “Zhang Yan’s trishaw flipped on her way to school yesterday, injuring her left leg. Our classmates intend to pay her a visit. Are you going? If you’re busy, I’ll help you to buy and send some fruits over.”

Xu Tingsheng discovered that he could not connect Zhang Yan’s name with a face from their class. Old Wai had even said outright: You may be too busy to go.

Xu Tingsheng discovered that he was already just so detached from university life at this point.

“I’m going. Notify me more on matters and activities regarding our class in the future,” He said.

They squeezed into a public bus for over an hour and bought fruits and tonics at a nearby place. Seeing that basically everything that should be bought had already been bought, Xu Tingsheng bought a bouquet of flowers.

Some of the others laughed, “Bro Xu, you’ve watched too much TV, right? Who actually gives flowers? Be careful that her boyfriend doesn’t misunderstand.”

Xu Tingsheng said, “No, right? Calla lily, health and happiness. Hey, it’s not like it’s a rose.”

When those of Room 602 arrived and saw the things on the table, they knew that most of the other students in their class had already visited. Those from the other male dorm room should already have visited as well.

Currently, other than Zhang Yan, there were a few of her roommates and a boy in the sick ward.

Xu Tingsheng carried a bouquet of flowers, standing by the doorway.

Everyone smiled as they looked at him, that boy included.

“Uh,” Xu Tingsheng said awkwardly, “Is it very strange? I always see them do this on television.”

After the laughter, a girl said, “It’s fine, it’s fine. We were just rather surprised to see you here.”

Xu Tingsheng said apologetically, “I’ll change. Right, who’s our class chairperson? If there’s something on for our class in the future, notify me as well. Even ordering me there is fine; I’ll actively draw myself over to the organisation.”

Lying on the bed with a foot strung up, Zhang Yan said, “I am. You better mean what you say!”

“Definitely,” Xu Tingsheng said.

Zhang Yan smiled, “We’re organising an intra-faculty welcome party for the freshmen next week. There’s a play and a script, and we need to find this one guy to cross-dress. Say…how about it?”

Xu Tingsheng was instantly rendered speechless.

“Most of those in our class registered on Hucheng’s platform to support you in that matter last semester. Well then, do as you see fit,” A girl elaborated.

Xu Tingsheng was completely helpless with this as he hesitated for a long time before asking, “Can you guarantee that there won’t be any recordings or photos?”

“Nope,” The girls collectively replied as one.

Zhang Yan smiled, saying, “That was a joke. Relax, we’ve already got someone for that.”

Xu Tingsheng heaved a breath of relief, sitting down before he asked, “It must really hurt?”

Zhang Yan said, “Yeah.”

“How great that she still has her boyfriend to accompany her throughout the nights. Her body may hurt, but her heart must be crying out in joy,” The girls teased.

“This is an ambiguous saying,” Tan Yao said dirtily.

A chubby, forthright girl mocked, “Playboys aren’t allowed to speak.”

Tan Yao said, “It’s not like I played you.”

“Come play.”

“You think I don’t dare to?”

“Come on.”

“You said it. You can remove them first.”

“No, I’ve got a lot of meat.”

“Oh, but I like those with more meat.”

“……”

The two shamelessly squabbled without feeling the least bit embarrassed. Surprisingly enough, the playboy Tan Yao was on very good terms with the girls in their class, that kind of normal, good relationship between friends and classmates. Even Xu Tingsheng felt a bit envious of this.

Now, Zhang Yan’s boyfriend smilingly handed her an apple whose skin he had just peeled.

After receiving it from him, Zhang Yan said to him, “You should really hurry back home and catch up on some sleep now that I have my classmates to accompany me.”

The boy considered it for a moment before nodding, “I’ll come back before dinnertime then.”

The boy said goodbye to everyone and then left.

Everyone inside the sick ward was praising him.

Even Zhang Yan herself said rather emotionally, “Yeah, I’m so fortunate.”

After a while, she told Xu Tingsheng, “I still haven’t apologised to you for back then.”

Xu Tingsheng appeared bemused as he tried hard to recollect on whatever she spoke of.

Zhang Yan smiled, “You can’t remember, right? Back during military training, there was once when the instructors asked us girls to come out and testify against the guys who were being a bother. Someone maligned you then.”

“Oh, I remember. There was a giant standing in front of me then, so I couldn’t even have looked at the girls in the first place. In the end…it was actually you?” Xu Tingsheng smiled as he asked.

“Right,” Zhang Yan nodded rather shyly.

“But why did you do that?” Li Xingming asked.

“Stupid, you’re really asking that?” A girl exclaimed.

“It’s actually nothing that can’t be said,” Another girl explained, “When university had just started back then, we girls were chatting in our dorm. The conversation came to guys. Then, someone said that we should hurry up and voice out who it was who had caught our eye, let we end up fighting with one another when the time came. At the time, Zhang Yan chose Xu Tingsheng.”

“That’s right,” Zhang Yan said frankly, “Who knew that just a short time after, you suddenly turned out not to be a normal male classmate at all. Pointlessly wasting me taking the initiative.”

At the start of university life, the girls who came in yearning for love were actually no fewer than the guys at all. The so-called ‘caught one’s eye’ actually merely referred to the good impression that one initially had of another. This could increase their future interactions, yet might not result in anything for sure.

Yet, it was also possible that it might result in something.

Xu Tingsheng wondered: if he had just been a normal guy from university, just like how these girls had initially seen him to be, being still okay while also not as special as he had turned out…

If it had been this way, how would things have gone afterwards? How would his university life be like now?

Perhaps Lu Zhixin would only be a stranger whom he brushed past on campus. At most, Xu Tingsheng and his roommates would turn and glance in amazement at her, thinking her to be very beautiful, next ridiculing how her expression was all indifferent as did she think herself so great?

Perhaps something might truly have developed between him and Zhang Yan. And if that was so, it might really have been the potential happy and blissful times between them which had ended before they had even started that had been ‘wronged’ back then, when she had maligned him.

Now, however, it was already just an inconsequential, long-forgotten detail of days long past.

The entire trajectory of things had changed, coming because of change, going because of it.

“Well, do I still have a chance now then?” Xu Tingsheng smiled.

Zhang Yan smiled as well, saying jokingly, “No way! My boyfriend’s great. Just go regret, you.”

After discussing herself, Zhang Yan dragged someone else down with her as she pointed at the girl who had just revealed that scoop, “Don’t just talk about me! I remember that you also chose someone back then? Who was it?”

“Tan Yao,” The girl admitted straightforwardly.

Even as Tan Yao was feeling triumphant.

“I was blind,” The girl continued.

They all laughed. Afterwards, the girls began exposing one another’s choices. Of course, those for whom it could revealed basically had things all settled by now. For example, there was this girl who had once been interested in Lu Xu. Lu Xu already had a partner now, and it was the same for her as well.

After a long time of this, Li Xingming asked dejectedly, “No one was interested in me at all?”

“Actually, there was someone,” The girls said.

“Really?”

“Yup. And if it weren’t for you going around scaring everybody like crazy over that period of time, it might actually have worked out between you.”

“Who? Tell me! Tell me, is it already too late for me to change now?”

The girls communicated amongst themselves secretly for a time before saying, “Can’t tell you.”

“But why?” An agonised Li Xingming asked.

The girls communicated amongst themselves secretly for yet some time longer. Still, they did not provide Li Xingming with an answer in the end, as well as why they could give no reason.

Xu Tingsheng watched on from the side. Having graduated from university before, he had once heard people confessing emotionally to their classmates of four years, “I actually thought about entering a relationship with you before. Sadly, it’s too late now.”

The other party smiled wryly, saying, “Really. Alright, I actually thought about it before as well. Sadly, it’s too late now.”

“I thought about it during our first year. What about you?”

“It was during our third year for me, that time when you twisted your ankle in a basketball match.”

“Why didn’t you say it?”

“You too, why didn’t you say it?”

Why do people always like to wait till the dust has settled and it is too late before speaking up?

Ninety percent of youths’ problems are unanswerable.


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