Chapter 54: The ending he must bear
“Huh? You are…?” That was so out of the blue…I glanced at the number again.
“I’m Hong Xiaobei. From now on, listen to me. I know you’ve been watching me ever since you have came to this school. I don’t care what motives you have for approaching me, and neither do I care about your relationship with my sister. But currently, you’re the only person I can share my deep thoughts with. Ever since my sister died, I’ve always been living in the midst of pain and struggle. The only things that sustained me from continuing to act her role were Kevin and Xiao Xin. I thickened my skin because of Xiao Xin’s hospital bills. I wore the high heels and the brand uniforms that didn’t belong to me. I carried the brand name bags that weren’t mines. I lived a luxurious life that was someone else’s. I guess I am rather fortunate. Each time I felt like I had no one to rely on, God would grant me another reliance. But I always give those people misfortunes. Right now, Kevin is my world. During my most helpless and desperate moments, he believed in me. He decided to stay by my side during my most darkest times. So, I love him. Both him and Xiao Xin are the people whom I want to protect the most. But today, at 5:47pm, the doctor announced that Xiao Xin had passed away to another world. I don’t want to have any more hopes towards life anymore. All the people whom I loved are dying one at a time in front of me. They all leave me. Late at night, I often cry myself to sleep. I can’t help but feel resentment. Why is life so unfair? Why can’t I protect those who love and support me? I’m calling you because I want you to do one thing for me. From the start, I’ve never been able to successfully protect anyone. This time, please let me succeed for once. I’m begging you…or else my life would be a total bust. In regards to my sister’s issue, although Kevin took part, I hope you do not mention him. Please do not mention it to anyone. If others find out, he will be considered an accomplice. He will be sentenced. His future is bright, I don’t want him to go to jail because of me. Just let me take responsibility for everything. Allow this secret to disappear with me. Oh, also, please tell Kevin I love him. I have never told him face to face. After all, I am a shy maiden. I don’t have the courage to say “I love you”…”
Hong Xiaobei’s words seemed to be heading towards a bad direction.
Aside from the unknown number, I heard someone yelling from the background.
“Miss, come down!”
“It’s so dangerous. Whatever you want to say, come down first!”
Could she be….
“Xiaobei! Don’t do anything crazy!” I hopped up from my couch and shouted into the phone, “Where are you now? I’ll come find you!”
“No need. I’m tired…I just want everything to end….”
My sense of dread was growing by the second. I tightly gripped onto my cell phone as I tried my best to persuade her. “Xiaobei, please do not do anything foolish. You told me how you felt when your father committed suicide. You know that suicide is not the answer. It’s only an escape. You’ll be pushing all the responsibilities towards others instead. Those who love you will suffer. Please calm down. We can take time to make a decision…”
My voice was caught in my throat. There was no sound on the other side of the phone. I only heard the wind howling, with no sound of life.
My cell phone slipped from my hands and landed on the wooden floor. It made a huge noise, and I felt like there was a gigantic hole in my heart.
My mind was a mess, with another voice that wouldn’t stop ringing, “It was because of you! Because of you! Because of you!”
Yes, it was because of me! If I hadn’t trusted Xu Weishan so easily and meddled in their affairs, perhaps, Xiaobei and Kevin could have lived an ordinary life.
Logically, I should be running out to find Hong Xiaobei. But strangely, it was as if my legs had lead poured over it. I wasn’t able to take a single step. It was like there was superglue underneath my feet that forced me stay in my original spot.
“What happened? Huh? Your cell phone is on the ground. You clumsy bum, if you drop your cell phone too often, then…”
Suyang heard the noise and came running out to see what was wrong. He talked endlessly as he bent down to pick up my phone for me.
“Fortunately, it’s not broken….” He spread out my hand and stuffed the phone back in it. Suyang finally noticed the tears that were rolling down my face. He asked in a caring tone, “W-why are you crying?”
The moment I heard those words, I began to sob louder. Initially, I only had silent tears rolling down from my eyes.
Ultimately, I never told him the reason. But Suyang was able to make discerning judgments and didn’t continue to push me. He gently placed his hands behind my back as he patted and tried to soothe me.
I released all my emotions and loudly wailed. I let out everything that I was feeling…the humiliation I felt from being deceived by Xu Weishan, the self-blame for tracing after Hong Xiaobei, and the regret for meddling in other people’s business.
After a long time, I changed my mindset. Although I was used by Xu Weishan, at the end of the day, I didn’t do anything.
I was glad and lucky that I didn’t do anything. In their stories, I tried my best to be an outsider and listener. It was a freak combination of factors that I had entered their lives and found out about their stories. In regards to their ending, it was self evident.
I knew the ending of this story wasn’t my fault. If I had never came to this University to pretend to be a fake student; never met Xu Weishan or found out their story, Hong Xiaobei would’ve just made one less phone call today. But even so, I couldn’t help but feel depressed for a very long time.
The next day, Hong Xiaobei’s suicide caused a sensation all over the newspapers.
The inside story of the Xu Clan: Real daughter murdered by fake. The fake committed suicide to escape punishment.
According to sources, before Hong Xiaobei had jumped into the river, she recorded a confession on her cell phone. The confession was broadcasted and Hong Xiaobei admitted she killed Xu Weishan. She didn’t say it was manslaughter. She said Xu Weishan died because of her and she wasn’t asking for forgiveness. She just wanted to die in order to regain peace in her heart again.
Police officers also came to find me. They asked me why I was the last person Hong Xiaobei contacted.
I calmly responded, “How would I know what was going through in her mind? She’s dead now. Who can explain?”
“Did she say anything specific to you? Your conversation was not short.”
“She told me she was sorry for using a fake identity to trick people for so long. She was tired of pretending to be Xu Weishan. She preferred living as the poor and real Hong Xiaobei. Now, she can finally be herself again. If there’s another world, she hopes to see her loved ones and be with them forever.”
After hearing my words, the police officers shook their heads in confusion. It appeared they didn’t understand my words. “What type of messed up thoughts did she have…”
Later on, I encountered Kevin in front of Hong Xiaobei’s tombstone.
Xu Weishan’s parents ended up burying Xu Weishan and Hong Xiaobei next to each other. To them, they had lost two daughters.
I passed on Hong Xiaobei’s message to Kevin. Kevin calmly stared at me for a few seconds and then thanked me as he turned to leave.
Based on my impressions of Kevin, he had always been an energetic boy who loved basketball. But as I watched him turn and walk away, I could feel a heavy burden on his black windbreaker that could not be expressed with words.
Now, he must bear all the truth and secrets alone. Hence, his back view was laden with grief.
“I have already passed onto your message. Is there anything else you want me to do?” I turned to Hong Xiaobei. She had been standing by my side from the start.
She smiled at me. It was like how we met the first time -when she smiled and invited me to that awkward party.
But this time, her smile was real and bright.
Hong Xiaobei shook her head. Then, she ran and caught up to Kevin as they walked together side by side.