When I returned home from the hospital, I tossed and turned, still thinking about that matter and unable to sleep.
Then I suddenly remembered that Lee used to have a friendship with Lu Feng. He used to be Lu Feng’s junior schoolmate, and also had work dealings with him.
Back in the day, I hadn’t been too interested in news and gossip that had nothing to do with my world, and even if Lee mentioned some in casual conversation, it went in one ear and came out the other.
But now I hated myself for not paying enough attention to the gossip back then! So I hurried to mend the situation and sent a bunch of messages to Lee’s WeChat.
Zj gnw npeqca wovoc ep ozufj e’kteks zc jfo lepczcu zc Tew Ncuotow. Too pomtzoa ntlewj zlloaznjoti, “Kfocu Izkfoc gncjw je sztt Tq Hocu?”
Z scog jfzw rzu cogw geqta apng fzl eqj. “Jfnj’w gfnj Z’l uqowwzcu, ntjfequf jfopo’w ce aohzczjo mpeeh.”
Too wnza, “Gott, ieqp uqoww wfeqta ro keppokj. Jfewo jge fnvo rooc dqnppotzcu hep jfo lnyepzji eh jfozp tzvow…”
“Ae ieq sceg gfnj’w uezcu ec rojgooc jfol?”
Nhjop n tecu jzlo, Too pomtzoa, “Cejfzcu, lewj tzsoti welo wjqhh Tq Hocu fna aeco zc jfo mnwj gnw oxmewoa nca lnao Kfocu Izkfoc rteg qm.”
“Ovoc zh zj’w nc eta aorj, zj zw cokowwnpi je kelo je jfzw mezcj? N sczho nca apquw gopo zcvetvoa. Kfocu Izkfoc teesw we kqtjqpoa nca cej nj ntt tzso weloeco gfe knc ro we pqjftoww.”
Too wzufoa nca wnza, “Eh keqpwo cej. Tq Hocu rnks jfoc, gfnj gnwc’j fo knmnrto eh? Fo gnw kelmtojoti n fonpjtoww lnalnc. Ieq aec’j qcaopwjnca; ovoc Z’l wknpoa eh fzl gfoc fo uojw kpnbi. Cej je locjzec Kfocu Izkfoc gncjzcu je sztt fzl, welojzlow Z ntwe gncj je.”
“Then why didn’t you?”
Lee was furious and forced out, “Do you think I can?!!! Besides Cheng Yichen, do you think anyone else on earth can touch him?”
Then Lee became very frank and self-analytical. “Besides, I’m not a good person myself, so I’m afraid I’m not qualified to do that. I’d rather be his partner in crime.”
“Why do I feel like you can’t do it because you think he’s handsome?”
Lee immediately sent an emoji spitting out blood.1Meaning he was speechless from anger.
Leaving the rest aside and speaking just in terms of looks, even in middle age, Lu Feng was still outstandingly handsome. Him in his youthful glory could be imagined.
But to me, or rather, the perception he gave most people, was beyond his skin.
Lee also asked, “How are they now? I mean, Cheng Yichen, is he still around? Or has he run away?”
“He’s here. He’s in the hospital taking care of Lu Feng.”
“Hm,” said Lee, “that’s good. If Cheng Yichen is no longer there, then for safety reasons, I would advise you to pack it up and run as far as you can.”
“If Cheng Yichen didn’t leave, then there’s nothing wrong.”
“He probably forgave Lu Feng this time.”
Although I didn’t fully understand, Lee acted like he knew more to the story. I thought about it carefully and agreed. Between the two, no matter how serious the grudge and enmity between them was, after a brush with death, it should be close to resolved.
I couldn’t help but ask, “So you know why Cheng Yichen became like that?”
After all, he really did seem to be a very gentle person with a great temper.
Lee, after a long time, replied, “Don’t ask about it.”
“Why?” What gossip couldn’t be shared with me? Our friendship of so many years didn’t hold up well.
Lee said, “It’s better if you don’t know.”
“How can it be better if I don’t know?! It’s not good at all! Tell me quickly!”
Lee, after a while, only gave me a very mysterious reply, “When you know, you’ll regret knowing.”
Lee had predicted correctly, and the following period was peaceful.
During Lu Feng’s hospitalization, Cheng Yichen took care of him and I occasionally paid a courtesy visit. I would always see Cheng Yichen reading a book in front of the hospital bed while Lu Feng leaned back and quietly watched him.
It looked as if Lu Feng only had a cold and his family came to accompany him for a shot.
After that, everything was very calm. Any dramatic, gossipy storyline I expected didn’t happen. After two days, Lu Feng was discharged from the hospital.
Back home, Lu Feng looked thinner and more haggard, like a monster that had a layer of its soul drawn out. On the contrary, it made him appear less gloomy.
As soon as Cheng Yichen arrived home, even before resting, he bustled about making dinner for the me who was crying piteously for food. He said to me, “Let’s have porridge tonight.”
It sounded like meager fare not worth living for.
The result was a large pot of eel and squab congee on the table.
The aroma was soft and creamy, sweet and savory. The pigeon meat and eel were tender and silky, and together with a sticky rice porridge, it ironed out my stomach properly. It wasn’t greasy, but filling, and it could not be more satisfying.
Clearly, it had been specially prepared for a patient who had lost too much blood.
In this respect, I envy Lu Feng.
Cheng Yichen should detest him, which was normal, as Lu Feng was a detestable person. But Cheng Yichen still took such meticulous care of him.
I also wished someone would treat me like that. Even after seeing all of my bad sides, someone who was still willing to be good to me.
After the meal, I was still licking the bowl. Lu Feng stayed with Cheng Yichen to wash the pot, standing next to him and handing him rags and towels, as if nothing had happened. As if Cheng Yichen hadn’t done anything to him.
The resentment between the two was something I couldn’t ask about, I couldn’t figure out, and I couldn’t guess the pattern to. But the current state was a good thing.
Otherwise, Cheng Yichen used to give me the feeling of a lost soul. His smile was like smoke, as if blowing a breath would make him dissipate in the air. Even I felt unsettled.
Now, he seemed to be a lot more stable, as if he had made up his mind and his soul had returned to his body. He now wore a determined expression.
I was also relieved. This was great. Only when the family is in harmony will all prosper.
Soon, school started, and I had to redo my second year university courses again.
In other words, my happy days were over.
Seriously, not only could I not remember how I got into T university, but I couldn’t even remember why I wanted to enroll at T university.
I had never been studious from the moment I came out of my mother’s womb!
Well, that was an exaggeration. I should say that when I was young, I had once looked forward to getting good grades.
Because getting a perfect score or winning an award meant receiving praise — other kids could get them.
However, I soon found out that I couldn’t get them, because my dad didn’t care about it. He wouldn’t be happy or disappointed by my grades. He really didn’t care. He didn’t have a driver take me to various classes so that I could be talented, but just so that I would spend as little time as possible in front of his eyes.
No one cared, so I grew to not care either.
So I thought, according to my way of doing things, I should have became the shame of Nan High School after graduation, muddled my way into a high tuition diploma mill university, and then continued to muddle through that diploma mill university.
I ended up going to a top school like T university. Aren’t I digging my own grave?
On the first day of school, I felt like a salted fish2A lazy and unmotivated person. being thrown into a koi pond.
My classmates were like leaping koi about to cross the dragon gate.3In Chinese mythology, a carp that is able to leap over the Dragon Gate is transformed into a powerful dragon. It symbolizes a sudden uplifting in one’s social status. Koi are a colored variety of carp. Their fingers flew as they concentrated on taking notes, even raising their hands to ask questions and argue with the teacher in a heated discussion. Meanwhile, as a salted fish paralyzed on the table, I didn’t even know what the teacher was saying and was battered to dizziness by the waves of knowledge.
After barely getting through the day, I already had a plan. I wasn’t attending any of the later classes that I could skip, and it would be best to directly muddle through until it was time for the final exam to attend class. This was no place to stay!
However, as soon as I got home, I saw my class schedule posted in black and white in the living room.
I was staring at it when Cheng Yichen came out of the kitchen. He wiped his hands on his apron while greeting me, “You’re back, Xiao Jing? How were classes today?”
I pointed to the piece of paper on the wall and said extremely slowly, “Why is this here?”
Cheng Yichen said enthusiastically, “I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to remember your class times and be late making breakfast for you. I stuck one here to remind myself.”
I thought that thing was like a demon-subduing talisman, there to subdue me, the little demon who was trying to skip class.
I ate the snacks Cheng Yichen brought without tasting them under that demon-subduing talisman until I could finally sneak back to my room. When I pushed open my bedroom door, I saw that there was surprisingly an identical schedule posted on the wall.
- 1Meaning he was speechless from anger.
- 2A lazy and unmotivated person.
- 3In Chinese mythology, a carp that is able to leap over the Dragon Gate is transformed into a powerful dragon. It symbolizes a sudden uplifting in one’s social status. Koi are a colored variety of carp.