Three days after our first fight, I sent him a message and he didn’t reply. I deliberately asked him to have dinner together, but he replied in spite, I’m sorry, I need to go to class.

       On the last day, my short-lived guilt had passed. I already calmed down and was angry at his attitude, so I sent him a message saying, You’re on a roll, aren’t you?

       He didn’t reply.

       I said, Fine, let’s not talk about it anymore.

       I will eat by myself.

       Then I turned on Do Not Disturb and plugged in my headphones and deliberately walked to the restaurant on the East Campus.

       I thought I was doing him a favour.

       It was not easy for same-sex couples to get around the country, and if he ever got fed up and wanted to leave, I could at least let him do so without any worries.

       There was a huge lake in the school. At night, there were singers playing the guitar by the lake, couples sitting side by side on stone benches holding hands, and old people walking out with grandchildren or pets.

       I found an empty stone bench to sit on.

       It was still a little cold by the lake at night, and I rubbed the tip of my nose when the wind brushed my nose and sneezed.

       I rubbed my arms and thought to myself, It doesn’t matter, it’s not like the East School cafeteria tastes any different than the West School cafeteria.

       Xie Chenmin was simply childish.

       I was just reminding him, it was not like I didn’t trust him.

       If I could, I would borrow a handcuff from the police academy next door, lock one hand and throw the key into the lake, so he would never be able to unlock it.

       But then I couldn’t.

       I felt torn too, I was afraid that one day we would both get hurt. However, I was also afraid that I would not be able to give up if we really separate.

       I knew he felt the same way.

       But this idiot chose to vent his temper in such a stupid way for a pissed-off kid to vent his temper.

       I calmed down by the lake for a while and finally glanced at my phone.

       There was a 99+ from Xie Chenmin alone.

       And his roommate was calling me too.

       He had sent countless “I’m sorry” all by himself. Plus the countless “I was wrong” messages from his roommate—followed by one: Min ge just stole our mobile phone.

       He asked me where I was, and he went to the three or four restaurants on the west campus, but he couldn’t find me.

       He said he was a jerk and he didn’t mean to ignore me.

       He said he was sorry.

       Until finally, Please come back to me.

       I think I might have spoken too strongly and made him misunderstand something.

       I called his roommate first, and his roommate told me in a hurry.

       Lin ge, just meet Min ge, he’s been looking for you since noon like he’s going crazy.

       Where are you?

       I said, I am by the lake near your dormitory.

       When they thought of Xie Chenmin who ran all over campus and didn’t even have time to go back to his dorm halfway through, his roommates sent a three-line ellipsis, saying, they feel sorry for Min ge.

       ……

       I liked a cold and uneventful life, and an information explosion was a disaster in my opinion.

       But this guy with light all over his body broke in, and my life has never been in the ordinary.

       It seemed that I turned out to be reluctant to settle for blandness as long as I had a chance to burn.

       I read through his ninety-nine plus one, and he sent a dozen more during the period.

       I replied, I was by the lake.

       It’s a bit cold.

       His frantic messages stopped. I guess he was running.

       Until the sweaty, panting fool appeared in front of me again and hugged me, his kept heart pounding against his hot chest nonstop.

       A thought occurred to me.

       I felt this one could actually go on.

       He was the kind of person who was capable of holding the hot scalding straw in his hand sincerely, even if he had seen the thousands of winds and clouds outside, the vast scenery, and even if he was afraid of rumours and prejudice.

       He was the kind of person that he would show his soft, imperfection side to the straw, that he was afraid of, but on the outside, he was indestructible and invincible.

       I felt, that it was time to stop wondering if we would ever be apart.

       Why should I care about what the outside world sees? It was the same now, it was the same before.

       At that time, there were still many people of all shapes and sizes and eyes with all kinds of colours at the lake. I wrapped my arms around Xie Chenmin’s neck and bit his lips which were still breathing heavily.

       I said, I’ll never say those words again, I’m sorry.

       Xie Chenmin buried his panting head in the side of my neck like a big dog, as if he had been scared, and said sullenly, I don’t blame you, really.

       I said, En.

       I’m not a childish prankster.

       ……

       On the third day of my death, Xie Chenmin slept in my room with Zhaocai in his arms.

       On the fourth day, he took a leave of absence.

       I thought it might be because yesterday’s bout of vomiting had hurt his stomach.

       I watched him sit up slowly from my side, bowed his back, buried his head in his knees, and sat alone on the bed for a long time.

       Until Zhaocai also woke up, he raised his head and stuck his tongue out at him, and then with a loud “yelp” it was pulled by Xie Chenmin and used as a cushion.

       Zhaocai’s big head tilted.

       ……

       I stroked his back and said, Who told you to drink so much?

       He said, I am happy that Senior had graduated.

       I was silent for a moment and said, No need to pretend.

       He looked up at me with his aggrieved puppy eyes, and he said, I am not happy.

       I patted the puppy’s head.

       There were wine stains on Xie Chenmin’s shirt, and it pressed close to my chest.

       He said, You must do well there alone, and when I graduate, I will find you.

       I said, Aren’t you going to attend postgraduate school?

       Although it was not a famous major in our school, the employment rate for Computer Science majors was very high, and I felt like I was not suitable for research. After I was contracted by a well-developed Internet company in China, I didn’t think about the postgraduate entrance examination.

       But Xie Chenmin’s major was different.

       With our school’s reputation, he could have the opportunity to have an unattainable management position directly after finishing his postgraduate studies.

       He said, I’ll study. I will go to your city to study.

       I said, There are no good schools for Industry and Commerce there.

       He said, But there’s you there.

       I said, Lovely words have no effect on me.

       He said, Do you want me to stay alone in an empty room?

       I said seriously, Xie Chenmin, you are not a child anymore, you have to look at your life responsibly.

       I didn’t give him a chance to speak, and said, I just want you to take the exam and then become an executive in a good company, later I’ll spend your money and say goodbye to programming, okay?

       He didn’t even seem to think for a second before he said, Alright, if that’s what you said.

       It took me a long time before I wondered if he had planned this conversation long ago.

       This guy had been trying to get me out of the f/cking computer language, and he had asked me, Choose, which do you prefer, coding or me?

       I said, You.

       When he was happy, he would put his head on the pillow and show me the mountains, rivers, lakes and seas recorded in the memo on his mobile phone.

       He would talk about them one by one like a tour guide and say, When we get married, we will travel all these places one by one.

       I waited for him to finish and finally asked, Have you finished, dear boyfriend? I want to code.

       Xie Chenmin’s biggest rival in love was the computer. His least favourite places were bars and internet cafes.

       ……

       Manager Xie got up from the bed, greeted Zhaocai, dragged his stomach that was broken from drinking last night, and held a copy of ‘Programming from Beginner to Master’.

       Then he went to the internet cafe.

       I remember a time when the school had server room maintenance, and just before the final exam in college, my computer hung up.

       Fate was simply playing tricks on me.

       But at that time, Xie Chenmin’s amazing connections helped a lot.

       He asked the owner of the Internet cafe next to the school to reserve a quiet place for me. Every two hours, a cup of hot water would be served.

       I even counted the time because the boss was acting so weird.

       Then as I typed, the reflection of Xie Chen Min’s handsome head would appear on the screen.

       He whispered, Honey, dinner is ready.

       Then I got kicked out of the internet cafe.

       ……

       The punks with colourful hair probably thought there was something wrong with him.

       I also felt that way a little bit too.

       If you could be a master from a beginner in one book, then why did I waste four years at university?

       He spent a day going through the book from cover to cover, and I didn’t know if he understand it.

       But I knew that the long, long-winded but barely feasible code he wrote was definitely not something that could be done in a day.

       It turned out that the books he bought in college didn’t all serve as pillows for sleeping.

       He stared for a long time at the final line that read ‘Would you like to’ for a long, long time.

       Finally, he picked up his clothes and left.

       He did not execute.

       I also know it won’t work.

       There was no compiler1source code compiler on the computer in the internet cafe.

       ……

       He said he was going to surprise me and that he was going to use his rival to surprise me at the wedding.

       I was wondering what love rival.

       And he said nothing.

       ……

       Do you think there really were people like Granny Meng in the world?

       It was probably made up by some people who wanted someone would hand over a bowl of hot soup when they died and were hungry and cold. So when they drank it, they would forget everything… At least the last proof that they belonged to this world was piping hot.

       I was dead for five days and have yet to see the person who gave me the soup.

       Legend has it that people could only stay on earth for seven days after they die.

       I followed him every day and maybe touched him on my first seven days.

       No one could see my soul though.

       Xie Chenmin continued to ask for leave, and he went to his mother’s place.


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