Chapter 82: Snowman
Xu Tingsheng was actually very familiar with distributing flyers. In his previous life, in having worked for his livelihood during his time in university, he had also accepted some day-end jobs once in a while in addition to his home tutoring. Most of the time, this had consisted of distributing flyers.
Speaking of which, his first breakup in university had also had to do with distributing flyers.
Back then, just having been in university for a while, he had come to be on good terms with a female senior. However, this female senior had been unaware of his family’s situation. Just a few days after they had held hands for the first time, when Xu Tingsheng had been distributing flyers under the banner of some corporation on the street one day, this female senior had passed by with a few other female students.
Having seen her, Xu Tingsheng had looked at her awkwardly whilst also a little joyfully, raising his hand and waving to her in greeting. However, she had avoided his gaze, leading her friends in heading off in another direction.
That night, Xu Tingsheng had been informed of their breakup.
Maybe many would find this to be embarrassing. With that in mind, while having spread the news that he needed help distributing flyers, Xu Tingsheng did not actually count on many people being willing to help him.
At most, he would just have to make do with Old Wai and Li Linlin as well as Fu Cheng, Huang Yaming, Song Ni and Zhang Ninglang when the time came. They would just have to work a little harder in this. That was what he thought.
Yet, things proceeded in a way that far surpassed Xu Tingsheng’s expectations. Around 11pm that night, he could not but hurriedly call for a stop. It was no longer necessary; they really shouldn’t look for people anymore. He sent the news to everyone.
Within just a few short hours, there were already more than 80 people on Xu Tingsheng’s consolidated list, and this was even with him having called for an urgent halt to the recruitment.
Tan Yao had called a bunch of chicks; Huang Yaming had called a bunch of chicks. There were also Fu Cheng and his friends, Song Ni and her friends, Li Xu’s taekwondo chick and her bunch of fellow trainees, Li Linlin’s friends…as well as their other roommates, some students from their class, some seniors, some football mates and their girlfriends, and also…
“This lineup-do they think they’re going for a tour?”
Xu Tingsheng felt a bit of a headache over how the required number of participants had been so greatly exceeded. However, with them all offering to help out of goodwill, he couldn’t just reject them now, right? …What about after they’d helped? He was obliged to treat them to dinner at the very least, right? …How many tables was that? A wedding banquet’s worth?
Before going to bed, Xu Tingsheng received a call from Fang Yuqing.
“I’ve gathered about 120 people here. Is that enough? If it isn’t, I’ll get more.”
“Why’re you not saying anything?”
“No, I clearly remember that I didn’t tell you about this?”
“You still have the gall to say that? …I had to learn about this matter from others! Xu Tingsheng, do you still treat me as a bro?” Fang Yuqing scolded, “Still, this bro has a wide heart and will not quibble with you over this. Look…I’ve been helping you find people all this while…”
“How about it, is it enough? If it isn’t, there’s still…Let me tell you, I’ve got a bro who runs an entertainment city. There’re a few hundred hostesses inside, of all shapes and sizes that you can think of.”
“…Get rid of all of them. Bro, I’m going to distribute flyers in front of a school here. Your bunch of young masters and hooligans, in addition to a crowd of hostesses…sending them there, you can’t expect my business to not directly collapse?”
“Oops, that’s true. I forget all about that…I’ll go tell them then.”
“Wait, leave those with cars behind. They don’t have to distribute flyers; they can just help with transportation.”
The next day, Xu Tingsheng got up early in the morning. The preparation work was too rushed, with them having to design the flyers, send them for photocopying and also consolidate the number and distribution of junior and senior high schools in Yanzhou City before splitting up the participants into flyer-distributing groups for the various schools. From the standpoint of safety, herein had to be considered the group allocation of males and females as well as which participants had handphones…
The heels of Xu Tingsheng’s feet virtually didn’t touch the ground the entire day-such was how busy he was.
At three in the afternoon, when everyone had gathered in Yanzhou City’s Civic Square, it suddenly began snowing without any prior warning whatsoever.
Snow seldom fell in Jianhai Province, and it was the same for Yanzhou City as well, where one would only be able to experience it once every few years. Somehow, they coincidentally got to experience it today. As the snow grew heavier and heavier, Xu Tingsheng bought and distributed umbrellas to the participants. His intentions were to cancel today’s event, letting them return now and instead troubling them again the next time round.
However, everyone’s spirits were extraordinarily high. Distributing flyers whilst traversing the snow was clearly a very appealing, mood-making thing.
Since the general opinion was so, Xu Tingsheng could only go along with it. After repeatedly expressing his gratitude, he dispatched the participants out in the groups that had earlier been decided, with them being transported in batches by the people Fang Yuqing had brought along.
Xu Tingsheng left Tan Yao and Fang Yuqing with him.
After asking Tan Yao to take care of booking the restaurant for him, Xu Tingsheng asked Fang Yuqing to help him to buy some good cigarettes, to be distributed to his friends who had driven over as well as those other guys who smoked later on.
“I know that you guys don’t lack these things, but from my standpoint, my gratitude and feelings have to be conveyed,” Xu Tingsheng said as he saw Fang Yuqing about to refuse.
Fang Yuqing accepted his words.
Actually, if truly speaking from a monetary standpoint, it had not been worth it for Xu Tingsheng today. There were too many people, with the expenses correspondingly also being too high. However, what of from an emotional standpoint? Xu Tingsheng was very grateful, and also very satisfied. Therefore, money and whatnot actually just paled in comparison sometimes.
When Fang Yuqing and Tan Yao had left as well, Xu Tingsheng began gathering up the remaining flyers. He had a place he needed to go to as well- Xinyan Junior High. Having managed to find this completely reasonable excuse only with such great difficulty, Xu Tingsheng would now be able to stand there righteously and pridefully.
Apple got off a taxi, not carrying an umbrella. A world of snow drifted about her amidst its descent as she stood there, gazing at Xu Tingsheng from the distance.
She was smiling, but there was some apprehension within her smile, like a little kid having done something wrong. The current Apple was not at all like Apple. Perhaps she had been hurt by Xu Tingsheng drawing away from her over this period of time. Perhaps she felt that she coming here was wrong, that Xu Tingsheng would not welcome her here.
Yet, she had still come.
Xu Tingsheng had pushed her very far away over this period of time. She had once ridden on his back, once murmured in his ear, yet now…they were further apart than even normal friends. Apple had always been sprightly and unbridled. Once, she had been able to conduct herself naturally and with ease even when the two of them had not been well acquainted with each other, acting bewitchingly or shamelessly as she wanted…Now, however, she dared not.
Xu Tingsheng had been too forceful in pushing her away. He had originally been worried that he might hurt her too much later on the future if he presently allowed them to draw too close. He had wanted to increase the distance between them a little, wanting a suitable, healthy relationship to form between them. He had still wished that he could be Apple’s best friend that surpassed the bounds of gender, but in truly having acted, he had ultimately still been too forceful.
There were many times when due to his cold and indifferent tone, Apple had suddenly been lost for words on the other end of the phone, rendered silent and sobbing.
Xu Tingsheng ran over with the umbrella, shielding Apple from the descending snow. Seeing the snowflakes that covered her hair and shoulders, he extended his hand forward as he unconsciously thought to help wipe them off, but then retracted it again.
Apple’s expression stiffened.
“Song Ni told me about it. Early yesterday night, she said that there might not be enough people. I’d prepared to come over early in the morning. But afterwards, she instead said that there were already too many people…I didn’t know whether or not I should come.”
“I thought about it for an entire day, and found myself at the bus stop before I knew it…I came. I’m sorry.”
I came. I’m sorry. Xu Tingsheng really felt like hugging Apple as she apologised. She looked even more pitiful and agonised than when she had been at her most solitary. Xu Tingsheng had given her warmth, yet had afterwards pushed her towards an all-encompassing snowstorm.
Still, he did not do so. He had already taken that most difficult step. He could not go back again.
“Where shall we go?” Apple asked Xu Tingsheng.
Xu Tingsheng couldn’t possibly appear before Xiang Ning with Apple in tow, and there was also no way that he could just dump her here now. Therefore, there was a single school in Yanzhou City that would not be receiving flyers from Hucheng Education today-Xinyan Junior High.
“Let’s not go anywhere. How about…we build a snowman,” Xu Tingsheng pointed at the gradually thickening layer of snow on the ground.
“Yeah,” Apple nodded, smiling joyfully.
Around 5.15pm, the people who had left to distribute flyers began successively returning as they congregated within the Civic Square.
After less than two hours, Xu Tingsheng had a strange feeling that this flyer-distributing activity might have somehow accidentally turned into a mass blind date event. Many guys and girls were chatting happily upon their return, a feeling of romance blossoming within the air.
It was all thanks to the snow that had descended today. Traversing the snowy lands together, it would generally be much easier for a pair to feel warmth and happiness.
There was still almost an hour before dinnertime. No one was in a rush to get to the restaurant. Rare was the snow, rare were the interactions. It seemed that most of the people here were very willing to continue moving about amidst all this snow.
Someone saw the snowman that Xu Tingsheng and Apple had built.
Afterwards, more than 80 people worked together in unison, some even running hundreds or upward of a thousand metres away to heap up the snow. The entire Civic Square was filled with dozens of snowmen of varying shapes and sizes, the greatest one of them being two metres tall and several metres wide.
Many passers-by began stopping in succession, more and more people gathering within the Civic Square.
“Are there still any more flyers?” Tan Yao asked Xu Tingsheng.
“Yes,” Xu Tingsheng took out the remaining bag of flyers.
“Gimme,” Tan Yao said.
“Give me some as well; I haven’t even distributed any yet,” Apple also extended her little hand that was reddened by the cold.
Quite a number of people took photographs of the snowmen, capturing the flyer-distributing Tan Yao within as well, and also Apple. Of course, more people were willing to take pictures of Apple. This was an innate advantage possessed by women; it wouldn’t have changed however much more handsome Tan Yao had been.
“What a pity it is that this is still not that era with people in social networks frenziedly snapping photos of everything to show their friends. Camera phones are less prevalent as well. Otherwise, this advertisement would have gone crazy big.”
As Xu Tingsheng was sighing emotionally over this, someone walked over with a camera.
“Hey, student. I’m a reporter from Yanzhou Nightly. Is this a…school organisation’s event?”
Xu Tingsheng was taken aback for a moment. This reporter’s intentions were very clear. If this was an event by an organisation of some school, he might be able to legitimately add a heading like ‘I Enhance Yanzhou’s Scenery’ or the like, putting it together with some photographs and writing some relevant article.
Yet, what a pity it was. Xu Tingsheng passed the reporter a flyer.
“A corporate activity? …That’s a little troublesome then.”
He had said a little troublesome as opposed to, say, no good. Xu Tingsheng acutely detected the meaning that the reporter was trying to convey as he took out two packets of Chunghwa cigarettes that remained from Fang Yuqing’s distribution and secretly slipped them into his hand.
“You can write a report primarily about the snowtime scenery. If it’s convenient, perhaps you can casually mention our Hucheng Education as well. At present, we are serving parents as well as university students who have to work for their livelihoods for free.”
“If it’s like this…it can’t purely be considered a corporate activity. I’ll think about it when I get back,” The reporter said to Xu Tingsheng as he pocketed the two packets of cigarettes.
“Thanks. Here’s my handphone number, take it down…If it’s possible, let’s communicate again.”
Just like this, Xu Tingsheng concluded his first ever instance of ‘bribery’ following his rebirth. While not that happy or joyful, he also did not resist it, finding it hateful. Sometimes, there are some rules that you are helpless to change, can only conform to.
Swivelling his head and looking over, amidst the vast expanse of snow and snowmen, there stood Apple without an umbrella, walking amidst the swirling snow in her white clothes as she handed out flyers with an incandescent smile on her face. As someone threw a flyer onto the ground after having looked it over once, she picked it back up, wiping it clean with her sleeve before happily continuing with her task.
Snowmen must definitely all be girls. Do they feel cold…would she feel cold?