That night, I went to Lee to unload my numerous complaints.
“Why do you think he’s so meddlesome? It’s not like he pays the tuition. I’m not causing him any damage by skipping class! My own father doesn’t even care about me, can’t he just turn a blind eye?”
Lee said, “I heard that Cheng Yichen was a top student when he was young, so maybe he’s a bit obsessive-compulsive in this aspect.”
“A top student?” I thought about the middle-aged man with a monotonous life, “I can’t see it.”
“He used to be a promising student at X university. A degree from X university from more than twenty years ago is worth a lot more than now.”
Those who could enter X university were indeed great talents in that era, but in that case, at that starting point, wasn’t it pretty much a failure to end up living like this?
Kfocu Izkfoc pnc n reeswjepo jfnj azac’j woo lqkf rqwzcoww nca tzvoa zc jfzw epazcnpi cozufrepfeea hnp ngni hpel jfo kzji kocjop. Fzw aniw povetvoa npeqca jfo cokowwzjzow eh ovopiani tzho, hzuqpzcu eqj gfzkf wqmoplnpsojw fna wmokznt aontw, nca gfnj jzlo jfo azwkeqcjw wjnpjoa. Ntjfequf fo fna ocequf je gonp je soom gnpl, geqtac’j wjnpvo je aonjf, nca azac’j keqcj nw rozcu lzwopnrto, fo ntwe aohzczjoti keqtac’j ro wnza je ro tzvzcu gott.
Zc jfzw gni, fo gnw wzlmti nc oxnlmto eh gfnj cej je ae.
Zh fo wjqazoa we fnpa yqwj je oca qm tzso jfzw, jfoc gfi wfeqta Z soom wjqaizcu?
Roknqwo eh jfo oxzwjocko eh jfo aolec-wqraqzcu jntzwlnc, Z keqtac’j emocti wjni nj felo ec jfo aniw jfnj Z fna ktnww. Z fna je ue eqj je hzca n mtnko je mnww jfo jzlo.
Lecoi gnw cooaoa je mnww jfo jzlo, nca Z fna ce lecoi, we Z gnw hepkoa je ue je wkfeet.
Li keqpwo lnjopzntw gopo tzso zcaokzmfopnrto uzrropzwf, Z azac’j hzj zc gzjf li ktnwwlnjow, “felo” gnw wjzhtzcu nca aompowwzcu, nca li gnttoj gnw moccztoww. Ntt eh jfzw lnao lo powjtoww, nca tenjfo li pojqpc je wkfeet.
Gfoc Z jfzcs rnks je rohepo, Z fna rooc we mtnihqt, we memqtnp, nca we vzrpncj zc tzho.
Nj jfo jzlo, Z’a ntgniw jfequfj jfnj Z keqta uoj ec gott ncigfopo roknqwo Z gnw tevoa ri ovopieco nca ncieco.
Ceg Z wqaaocti pontzboa jfnj n tnpuo mnpj eh li otouncj aoloncep rnks jfoc fna rooc aqo je li lecoi.
Lecoi zw jfo lewj utnlepeqw wmokznt ohhokjw hztjop. N tzho gzjf ce lecoi knc ecti ro n rtnks-nca-gfzjo hztl. Pzufj?
My dad told me to ask Cheng Yichen for money when I was short, and I did ask, but then he took out all the cash in his bag and gave it to me, and it was only 600 yuan.187 USD
What can 600 yuan do? It wasn’t enough to buy new sneakers, and even in-app purchases on mobile games needed at least 648 yuan.294 USD. This is a standard recharge amount in games roughly equivalent to a $99.99 USD recharge. Apparently because it’s the upper limit of a single recharge on iOS.
I was too embarrassed to keep asking for it. He looked so poor.
Today, I barely survived being ravaged by the storm of knowledge again. I returned home on my last breath and hid in my own little world to play games.
Games are the cheapest form of entertainment. Oh, that’s not right, mobile games aren’t. I’m no longer able to afford the purchases in mobile games, so I can only play on the PC.
298 yuan can buy me a shooter game that I can play until the end of time.343 USD
I had a rough time with my games that night. I would either encounter bad teammates or some godly player with cheats on. The more I played, the more I lost, and the more I lost, the more unwilling I was. I had been planning to go to bed after winning one game, but I ended up losing until five in the morning.
I had only dozed off for an hour and some when I heard a knock on the door.
My eyelids seemed to weigh a thousand pounds yet the knocking sound was relentless, as if it was knocking on my eardrums.
When I finally woke up from the knocking, my morning grumpiness was about to reach its max. I climbed out of bed and yanked open the door, ready to pick a fight with them.
And Cheng Yichen, as if he couldn’t read other people’s moods, continued to prattle on without any regard: “Breakfast is ready. If you don’t eat it now, it’s going to get cold.”
I vented my morning grumpiness: “No!”
He asked, “What’s wrong? Do you not feel well?”
“Then what’s wrong?”
I said, “I just don’t want to go to class.”
“Why do I have to go to class?”
He looked like he was very surprised and froze for a moment before saying, “What is a kid your age going to do if they don’t go to school?”
“What’s the use of studying?”
He said, “How can studying be useless? Studying can make people…”
I didn’t have the patience to listen to his lengthy speech and got annoyed, “You’ve studied so much, yet I don’t see how it’s been useful!”
He became silent as he stood there, seemingly at a loss.
Any hint of sleepiness I had vanished. I changed my clothes and grabbed my bag, then squeezed past him and went out.
I wandered aimlessly to the vicinity of the school and passed by a Starbucks. I habitually went in to eat breakfast. A box of sweet and salty pastries was 48 yuan, a ham and cheese croissant was 25, and a caramel macchiato was 37. When I got to the checkout, I froze. My WeChat account balance only had a few dozen yuan. I was somewhat embarrassed and quickly searched around my body. Fortunately, I had 100 yuan in cash that Cheng Yichen gave me.
The clerk looked at me, and I forced myself to be dashing: “I’m paying separately, part cash, part code.”4QR code is the most common method of payment.
This little Starbucks wasn’t even worth mentioning, yet I could go bankrupt having breakfast here.
I stared at the four mini pastries that I could swallow in one bite. A tuna and tomato tart, a spinach and bacon cheese pie, a pulled beef puff pastry, and a turkey and black truffle pie. See? It takes less time to eat them than to finish reading their names.
When I used to easily have a five-figure or even six-figure balance in my account for living expenses, I didn’t think twice about this kind of expense.
But now, just having breakfast meant having to resort to desperate measures.
I chewed on the rest of my croissant while using my phone to browse a rental app.
Living in someone else’s home was never the long-term plan, plus I went against Cheng Yichen this morning. I’ve never been good at getting along with my elders, and our future under the same roof will become even more awkward. I had to seriously and urgently consider my plan to move out.
To move out, I first needed to be able to afford to rent an apartment, which meant I needed money.
I looked at my bank account and sighed.
Back then, I spent my days in melancholy and complaining in dramatic fashion, lamenting that I had nothing but money (that my dad gave me). Other than money, life that had nothing else to it was particularly boring.
Now I wish I could give myself a big slap.
I didn’t know how good I had it!
Only when I became poor did I realize the value of money!
It doesn’t matter what you lack, as long as you don’t lack money. You can be without anything except for money.
Any buildings that were in a more central location cost 2800 yuan5406 USD a month if you were willing to share with others and at least 4000 yuan6580 USD to live alone. For more remote areas, it was 1500 yuan7217.50 USD to rent a one-bedroom, but the location and the quality of living were worse than where I was now.
For me, who was still hadn’t received any living expenses from my dad, it was a difficult situation.
All my life, I had never been as poor as I am now.
If I didn’t find a way to make some money, I wasn’t going to be able to make ends meet.
I thought my current priority was definitely not to soak up knowledge, but to earn money.
But how do I make money?
I had never had a job before, so I didn’t know how to get my foot in the door.
After all, my family was quite well-off, and with Lee’s assistance, I could basically have money whenever I wanted it, so I’ve never really worried about it.
Now, I had been reduced to even having to ask Cheng Yichen for money to buy a Hearthstone card pack. Just thinking about it made me miserable.
So I reluctantly checked the internet for work-study information.
Tutor: 60 yuan88.70 USD an hour. Teaching English to elementary school students, once a week, one hour at a time.
Restaurant server: 15 yuan92.18 USD an hour. Seven days a week, needs regular hours.
Leaflet distribution: 15 yuan an hour. Requires handing out three or four hundred leaflets without throwing any away, and provides a daily subsidy of five yuan100.72 USD for bus fare.
The upgraded version of handing out flyers was assisting parents to fill out vouchers for free trial classes with foreign language teachers, requiring three receipts an hour, with a basic salary of 80 yuan1111.60 USD plus a commission fee.
Was this a job for humans?
So it turns out that life was this hard?
I couldn’t help but fall into thought.
After eating, I continued to stay seated and swiped through my phone, overcome with boredom. The morning passed quickly, and I was finally too embarrassed to continue to stay — I wasn’t left with enough money to order another cup of coffee.
I pushed my way out the door resentfully. Leaving the indoor heating in the Starbucks that made me drowsy, the cold winter wind blew over me mercilessly and gave me goosebumps.
I instantly sobered up a little.
For the first time in my life up until now, I thought of a question that struck me right in the soul: “What am I able to do?”
I was twenty-two years old, uneducated and unskilled, and completely hopeless about studying. Even if I hadn’t lost my enrollment after my sick break dragged on for too long, I probably would have been dismissed from school sooner or later due to my grades.
Other than spending money; other than eating, drinking, and making merry, I didn’t seem to know how to do anything.
I was frozen on the street for a while. The sun shone brightly on the vast earth that was bustling with activity, yet I seemed to be a bubble that was as insignificant as a feather.
- 187 USD
- 294 USD. This is a standard recharge amount in games roughly equivalent to a $99.99 USD recharge. Apparently because it’s the upper limit of a single recharge on iOS.
- 343 USD
- 4QR code is the most common method of payment.
- 5406 USD
- 6580 USD
- 7217.50 USD
- 88.70 USD
- 92.18 USD
- 100.72 USD
- 1111.60 USD