Category: Died Before the Wedding (Page 1 of 2)

Died Before the Wedding

2021 Weibo Extra Archive

Sunday, December 31st, Light Snow and Windy


I didn’t know what kind of luck we had in our dormitory last night. With a leaky heater and a broken window, the whole room was like a blowing ice cellar.


The roommate was rushing to use the heater and went to the classroom and the library to review early in the morning, and I was woken up at 8 am by the maintenance man.


I made a bowl of breakfast, Jinmailang’s knife cut wide noodles1. When I brought it in, I could see the white air that was condensed from the cold floating on it.


The maintenance worker asked me, Are you cold?

I said, Not cold.


He continued to fiddle with the radiator and chatted with me as he worked.

He chatted and said, The Art Plaza is very slippery. I heard that several students broke a bone there, so don’t go there if you have nothing to do.


I said, En, the class groups have sent reminders.


The uncle said, When I came here, I saw some students chasing and making trouble in the square. You college students are really lively.


I ate my noodles and joked casually, that was abnormally lively, and that was an unfortunate thing.


The uncle laughed.


Before he left, I helped him carry the things downstairs. The uncle’s back disappeared into the snow. When I turned back, someone suddenly appeared there.


He called out Ge, and the next thing I knew a chill ran down my back.

I didn’t even think about it, I grabbed the perpetrator with my backhand and shook the snow behind me.

I said, How old are you Xie Chenmin?


He probably didn’t expect me to react so quickly. His thick eiderdown2 collar was pulled up by me, and he looked like a big penguin forced to crane its neck.

He recklessly approached and carried me up, and there was still unmelted snow on the red scarf.


I said, I’ll come down for a little while go back later.


The big penguin carried me upstairs whole. The melting snow was so cool that it wet my shirt.

—There was no doubt that he was beaten.


At the door, the red scarf that still had his warmth was wrapped around my neck. He walked into the dormitory, frowned and said, Ge, are you trying to keep yourself fresh?

I said, The radiator was broken last night, it was just repaired, and the heat hasn’t spread out yet.


I wanted to take off the scarf and give it back to him, but the penguin covered my hand. He breathed into my cold palm, the warmth swirling in it.

He argued, If it’s broken, you should go to sleep with me, can you live in this ice hole?


He didn’t give me a chance to say “I can”, and he arbitrarily urged me to get dressed, threw away the instant noodles I had just eaten, and packed me back to their dormitory.


I wasn’t afraid of cold, but Xie Chenmin thought I was.


He said he wanted to put me in his pocket, just like a hamster, to keep me warm.

Also, he would bring in food on time for three meals a day to eat on time, and he would not allow me to eat instant noodles.


I said, I can sue you for illegal imprisonment.

He said, Raising a hamster doesn’t count.


He laughed, unable to move his neck because of the scarf, and when he turned his head to look at me, he had to twist his shoulders together, smiling like a tall and silly landlord’s son.


I reached out, patted the back of his head lightly, and was taken away by the warm palm.


Eight o’clock, light snow, not too many people yet. I held hands with him on the roadside while the hustle and bustle hasn’t started yet.


Bold as if Judgement day had passed, leaving only two people who didn’t know how to be afraid.


He said he would take me to the Art Plaza for a snowball fight.

I shook my head, saying that it was slippery.

He said it was fine because he had just come back from playing there this morning.


I remembered the lively big goofball the maintenance man had been talking about and frowned and asked, It was you?


He was puzzled, Huh?


I scolded, Stop messing around there, a student broke a bone there.

He said, I know, the youngest in our dormitory fell there the day before yesterday.

I’m quite proud to say that you know him, the one called Han Shiyu. He calmly talked about his ‘feudal superstition’ and said, It was because he fell that I dared to make trouble. The youngest was sacrificed to heaven, and his mana was boundless3refers to gameplay where when one person is sacrificed, the other party gained more power and also a TV series 琉璃 recently used the joke a lot.


I was silent for a while.

I said, Can your dormitory do somethings that’s normal?


Xie Chenmin pointed at himself again and said, This is the most normal one for you to get, so you just have to enjoy the show.


I couldn’t help laughing.


The lake in front of their dormitory was called Abandoned Bed, and the surface of the water had frozen a few days ago. The stone engraved with the name was covered with a thin layer of snow, which he wiped away by hand as he passed by.


He said that he was worthy of the alma mater sermon and that he had forgotten all about eating and sleeping except for one thing when he was young4referring to the Abandoned Bed lake.

I said, So am I.


At his words, deep affection fell into his dark eyes like snow on his eyelashes, probably reflecting a person in them.

He said, That’s what I like about you.


I don’t think my alma mater would have expected a student to take the unorthodox pledge of affection in front of this sign when it was erected.


He was expecting me to say “me too” again.

But I felt bad about lying and was honest. That thing I never forgot was the sophomore data structure final exam.


He was clamouring that he wanted to break up with me and that I should write my own AI and fall in love with it.

Suddenly I thought that was a good suggestion on his part.


I said I’d try to write a prototype when I had nothing else to do.

(Added on January 8: Xie Chenmin secretly deleted it for me and scrupulously cleared the record. This bastard.)


Because the pitiful youngest went home and left an empty bed in their dormitory, Xie Chenmin called and asked me to stay in their dormitory after obtaining permission.


I saw that they had a table full of revision materials and recalled the headache of the course schedule in my sophomore year, Xie Chenmin was much busier than me at the end of the term.

I asked him how come he had time to find me today.


He said, Ge, look what day it is today.

I thought about it.

Oh, the last day of the year.


They had a “grand” New Year’s Eve ceremony, three dormitories joined together, plus me, twelve people in total.


I always thought that life was a one-person affair and that being in love was a two-person affair. So I didn’t pray for the envy and blessing of others, nor did I think that at some point I would have to sink my teeth into the complexity of the world. What’s more, he and I were deviant5because both of them are homosexual.


But Xie Chenmin was a naturally fiery person, and he cannot be trapped in the narrow confines. When I look ahead, this man would do his best to fill the road with light and roses. I watched him laughing in the crowd, clustered in the centre almost at midnight.


It was a Cantonese song, and I couldn’t understand the lyrics.


But I stared into his eyes, and for a split second in this roaring crowd, my heart went off track—it told me, you’re going to show it off.

You’re going to show off Xie Chenmin here and make everyone here envy you for having him.

This “childish” thought made me laugh out loud.


Xie Chenmin finished the last line of his song, and I heard the sound of fireworks in the distance outside the window.


A new year.

Happy New Year.


Monday, 1st January, Cloudy day

Too busy with revision, skipped the day.


Tuesday, January 2nd, Light Snow, temperature -17°C


Xie Chen Min broke his foot, at the Art Plaza.

It seemed that the lucky buff that was added when they offered Han as sacrifices to heaven was not very effective.


I actually wanted to go and say you deserved it to this unheeding fool.

But seeing how pitiful he looked, I was reluctant to say it.


I went to their dorm to take care of him and when I was bored while reading a book, a song came on my headphones.


I suddenly remembered the song he had sung on New Year’s Eve and asked him what it was called.


He sang it to me again and said, Listen to the tune for yourself. Actually, I wasn’t really interested in what the song was called, I just had a feeling that he was trying to say something to me, something very important.


Some Cantonese pronunciations were still very similar to Mandarin, and I didn’t understand them completely, but I just want to make sure.


I asked, What does the last sentence, the last sentence of the lyrics mean?


He said affectionately, Chu.


I said back, En.

He said, Not gonna tell you.


New Year, eight o’clock, Light Snow.

It was still one of those days.


I had to go and search the lyrics myself. It probably went something like this.


“It may be easy to give you a kiss, you’re the only one who’s so special.


“Make me spur myself to reflect on how many times, and stick up for you even when it’s hard.


“No matter how many winds and rains6trial and hardships may arise in the days to come, I will hold on to this word of love, for richer or poorer, for life or death, I am willing to do so.


“I’m not afraid of the endless sacrifices we’ll have to make as we roam the skies together and look at the low-lying areas, remembering that we’ll both grow old one day.


“The world wants to shake me and I’m afraid of nothing, so listen carefully and live and die together, okay?


(It is forbidden to paste the book-related information in the public comment section of the song, and other places.)

It was My Vow song by Pakho Chau.
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Chapter 11

       Afterwards, all the conflicts I had with him disappeared.

       He was just like he always was.

       He stayed out of trouble, and lived his life as he should, like an old cad.

       Except that the whole class had to take a detour when they saw him.

       It was as if the words ‘not to be messed with’ were plastered on his face.


       I felt amazing when I spent time with him.

       I couldn’t help but want to say more. He listened quietly every time, and the expression on his face was as flat as ever. He never talked nonsense, and his reply could hit the nail on the head every time.

       I tried so hard to make waves on his face, to get him to reply to me as if it were a daily challenge.

       I wanted to get closer to him, I wanted to do everything related to him, read the books he usually read, find out what he liked to do, worked and saved up to try and buy him something, even though he never asked for it.

       I especially like this feeling.


       I didn’t know when did I go from liking the feeling to liking him as a person.

       It might have been that one time when the light of Tyndall1Click more to see about Tyndall Effect was suddenly released in a not-so-clear sky and he was there waiting for me as I rushed to the point.

       Or maybe it was that one time when I was studying with him at night and I just couldn’t get back before the gate, and he took me into his dorm to stay the night.

       It left a deep impression on me.

       It was a bit cold in his dormitory, everyone was busy with their own work and the only sound you could hear when you went in was the sound of code being pounded.

       He changed into a very large black vest, which made his skin very fair. His figure was slender, and he looked a little weak.

       He said, Want some fruit?

       I snapped back to my senses and said, Yes.

       So he unscrewed two tins with his empty hands.

       I thought I must be going crazy, my heart was beating inexplicably faster and I couldn’t keep my eyes off him at all.

       I saw the strong muscular lines in his stomach and arms, and his light eyelashes that were flapping several times from time to time.

       When we were on the same couch, I could smell the fragrance on the back of his neck.

       It was very annoying.

       I tried my best to stay away from this dangerous smell and pretended to casually ask him, Senior, you smell so good, what brand of shower gel do you use?

       He said he didn’t know, and that his mother bought all his toiletries for him. After he recognized a brand, he would keep buying them.

       I remembered that night vividly.

       With his back to me, my heart was going crazy, and I had to fight to keep the heat inside me from kissing the swirl of his hair or biting him hard on the neck.

       I realised something unbelievable and irreversible.

       I might have fallen in love with a man.

       There was a certain desire that allowed me to clearly separate this feeling from the friendship.

       What would Lin Chu think of me if he found out?

       I didn’t want to think about it.

       I was spooked to learn about this area, and I went to the hospital to get a blood test on my own.

       It was ridiculous and childish to think about it now.

       This person unknowingly took root in my heart until his every move touched my whole heart, and I knew I was hopeless.


       That day I told him, I like you, Lin Chu.

       Can you try it2refers to trying to have sex with me?

       He was silent.

       When people were in their second grader syndrome phase, they always felt that they were fearless and resolute. But at that moment I was scared to death.

       I thought what if we couldn’t even be friends anymore.

       I thought that even if he ignored me, I would stick to him stubbornly.

       I wanted to find a reason to treat this as a joke, such as a bet played by my roommate and me…

       Then he agreed.

       I felt like I was dreaming. I actually pinched my thigh blue and still felt like a dream.

       It wasn’t until he took the initiative to kiss me, and we embraced in a deserted corner of the restaurant for a long time with our lips intertwined, that I pulled myself out of a daze.

       I didn’t think I was dreaming, the warmth was real and it was coming from this man.

       I was happy to the point of madness.

       I went back and catch my roommates who have escaped everywhere and hug them one by one.


       I made love to him for the first time the very next day.

       I really couldn’t wait, and I was just so inexperienced, green and reckless, to possess him in a youthful and reckless manner, to mark him for all those females and male juniors who coveted him.

       This was Xie Chenmin’s, and no one was allowed to touch it.

       If he hadn’t warned me that he would beat me up if I dared to leave the mark, I would have actually carried out this crazy and childish idea.

       The first time he held back and said nothing. I asked him if it hurt and he just frowned and said to keep going on.

       It wasn’t until he finally couldn’t help but wet the corners of his eyes red that I knew I’d done a terrible job the first time.

       He would always adapt to me.

       At all times.

       So much that I had a feeling of what I should rely on if I didn’t have this person.


       Before I opened my eyes, I saw his memory and me like a revolving beacon in my mind.

       Every moment was flashing instantly in my eyes.

       Only for the moment when we first begin, it was very, very long, so long that I could even clearly feel how I was feeling at the time.

       It was always good to have more memories of good things, to temporarily break free from the reality that I had lost him for a while.

       But one must always look ahead, and even dreamers would have to wake up one day.

       I guess I’ll just have to keep on living.

       The sun was shining brightly on the day I was discharged from the hospital. Zhaocai came to pick me up, wagging his fluffy white tail and came over to nuzzle my leg.

       I said, Come on, let’s get some sausages to eat.

       He gave a woof.

       Mom was still worried, and I apologized to her and promised her that I won’t have these assholes’ suicidal ideas again.

       That day I took Zhaocai and he went to see the kitten, Mum went to see our dad and I went to see you.

       What a family full of trouble and misfortune we were.



       Lin Chu, Chu.

       I have finished reading your diary.

       I listened to you and read it one day at a time for five years.

       You can’t blame me for that, blame yourself. A number of your entries just watered past in one sentence, and I couldn’t help it… So I just read a few more entries.

       I’m doing pretty well now. I quit my job and become a freelancer. I write a little every day and took on some planning work and whatnot.

       My three roommates were planning to start a business together, so they dragged me over to make up the number.

       Now our company is doing well, except for those kids in the programming department who occasionally get into some trouble.

       They joked that if you were the head of the department, we could be three or four times stronger than we are now.

       I now earn enough money to support myself and my mother and all the little ones in the house.

       I picked up another kitten from the street, but it had totally different temperament from Jinbao, that I thought I had two huskies.

       Apart from the fact that these two worked very well together to make a mess in the house when I’m not around, they almost always fight over food and make a mess.

       They made the house very lively.

       Also, I’ve become a ‘dad’.

       Did not expect it?

       They were a mother and a daughter. I adopted the woman driver’s child as my goddaughter and I thought I could do what I could to help them out.

       Chu, I had a really good time.

       I’m trying to adjust to life without you, don’t worry about me.

       Chu, I miss you.

       And I still can’t forget the way you look, your voice. I can’t go looking for another half who can keep me company.

       Forget it, I still have our mother, a daughter, a cat and a dog. I am not lonely at all, and I’m not in a hurry to find another companion.

       Chu, after five years of coaxing and pestering, your parents finally let me in for a cup of tea.

       I think if I continue to grind for a year or two, I will probably be able to completely change their mind about me.

       Ha ha.


       Chu, there were more and more kindhearted people in this world.

       I compiled our story into a novel and posted it on the Internet, and I didn’t expect it to be quite popular.

       The Lin Chu inside it lived a hundred years old.

       And the Xie Chenmin inside it still likes Lin Chu very, very much.



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Chapter 10

       Xie Chenmin coughed two clear, crisp coughs.

       Behind his body was the solemn and strained noise of the emergency room, and the faint sound of the ECG monitor sounded like someone’s heartbeat.

       Xie Chenmin said, Mr. Lin Chu, in life and in death, in sickness and in health, in poverty or in wealth, are you willing to stay with me for the rest of your life?

       He added another sentence, Don’t laugh.

       I said, You look like a fool.

       He said, I don’t know the word, I made it up myself, don’t laugh.

       I said, Okay.

       He said.

       “Mr. Lin Chu.”

       “Look at the person in front of you.”

       “He’s probably too nervous now and doesn’t look too smart for his own good.”

       “Or maybe he’s been like this since a long time, and as soon as he sees you, his thoughts go all haywire. He doesn’t know what to say or do in order to shove all his silly love carefully down your throat.”

       “Just have pity on him, don’t you not want him, and don’t throw him away.”

       “He really likes you very, very much, so much so that he couldn’t live if you threw him away.”

       The two people with transparent bodies hugged each other as if God deliberately made the skin that wrapped their hearts disappear, leaving only the two naked, bright red beatings nestled together to keep each other warm.

       I knew he had probably been preparing for a long time to say on this day, on our expected wedding day.

       There was no “rival in love” here anymore, he was a pastor himself.

       Xie Chenmin said.

       “So, in life, in sickness, in death, in poverty or in wealth, are you willing to be with him forever and grow old together?”

       I choked a thousand words in my throat and said, “I do.”

       “I do too,” he said.

       He bent his head down and kissed me, the first hot soul I had met in the cold world seven days after my death.

       He once said that it takes longer than a lifetime to love me, and longer to kiss.

       He said he was going to forcibly kiss me in front of the ferryman who brought soup to the dead.

       He was narrow-minded in his heart, never knowing that the sky was the limit, making promises that he would keep, and never taking out again those he placed in his heart.

       I heard the sound of the ECG monitor beating gradually.

       The doctor who had lost hope was taken aback, the sweat on his forehead that had cooled down instantly became hot, and he tried his best to save the heart again.

       I tried my best to separate from him. He knew how it was going to end, but he was still reluctant to give up.

       He said, “Chu.”

       It was like cutting the flesh of the heart into pieces.

       I said, “Xie Chenmin, I love you.”

       How could I be any less reluctant than him?

       How could I endure the darkness again when there had been morning light in one part of my heart?

       I saw his twinkling eyes suddenly widen, and I felt his hands wrap around me. I heard him calling my name incessantly and his voice trembling.

       “Chu, Lin Chu…”

       It’s just two words, fifteen strokes, and it was as if he could say it for the rest of his life.

       I still couldn’t hold back the tears and said, “Xie Chenmin, Chenmin…”

       We were like two crazy believers reciting their faith in silence.

       I concluded this prayer, saying with difficulty, “You…you go back.”


       The doctors touched a sweat and shuddered with excitement, “Saved ……”

       Almost all the people outside the door were overjoyed at what was lost but found. Mother Xie covered her mouth, her body trembled, and she finally cried.

       “He’s temporarily in a coma now, and I’m not sure when he will wake up…”


       Like a child, Xie Chenmin lay on the hospital bed and said, “I think if I close my eyes and open them again, I won’t be able to see you. Suddenly I don’t want to close them.”

       I said, “Close them, you can still see our mother and your brothers when you open them.”

       I added, “Remember to make it up to the driver for all the fear she’s had for you.”

       He said obediently, “Yeah.”

       He was still looking at me with his eyes open.

       I said, “I’ve been writing a diary every day since I’ve been with you, probably keeping it all with that notebook. If you read once a day, you can read it for ten years.”

       He said, “Okay.”

       I said, “Don’t forget to bring Zhaocai back. If it’s okay… If it’s okay, take him to Jinbao’s small tomb.”

       “Well,” he said, “That kid will make me buy him sausages.”

       I said, “Then buy it, buy two, and bring for the kitten.”

       “What if I want to eat too,” he said.

       I said, “Then buy three.”

       He smiled and said, “I’ll buy four and take them to see you, just like a family of four.”

       I also laughed and shook my head and said, “Then you have to take care of yourself.”


       He nodded, still looking at me.

       I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, and my nose was a little sour, “Close your eyes and get some sleep. You see, our mother is accompanying you in bed. Don’t you feel a pity?”

       He hummed obediently again, closed his eyes, opened them again, glanced at me, and said carefully.

       “Chu, can you not forget me?”

       I said, “How could I?”

       He said, “En.”

       It always seemed to me that he closed his eyes very slowly, as if for a lifetime, probably because I also knew that when he closed them and fell asleep, we were saying goodbye.

       I saw a line of tears streaming from the corner of his eyes. He was trying hard to sleep, trying not to open his eyes to look at me, pursing his lips, and trying not to call me by my name.

       I would never shed a tear again.

       When the clock reaches zero, the first seventh days had passed, and what has gone must always be returned to reincarnate.

       I didn’t think I’ll ever forget it without the soup.


       I had a dream in which my whole body was in pain.

       I remember crouching next to a bicycle and kicking it down in a fit of rage.

       I said to the other side of the phone, You guys come over later, I’ll call some guys, even if I go to the council today I’ll have to cripple them.

       I heard some voices of surprise and disbelief over there, and I hung up the phone before they could say their words of persuasion.

       Then someone called again.

       When I saw the contact’s name, I felt a little uneasy.

       So I hung up.

       Went to the roadside and weighed a brick in my hand.

       The phone in my pocket kept ringing and I was forced to pick it up.

       I said, “What are you up to?”

       He said, “Where are you?”

       I wanted to laugh a little, and said, “Ge, if you come here to be a peacemaker, just talk on the phone. After I hang up, this humble servant will fight. The telephone bills are very expensive.”

       “You know the consequences,” he said.

       I said, “Set aside a case for me, thanks.”

       The phone hung up.

       He said, “According to the school rules just changed last year, did you know that you will be expelled?”

       The voice came from behind me.

       I turned around and saw his still calm to the point of being indifferent face.

       I remember when I saw him for the first time, I thought this guy was beautiful, and that he was probably an art student.

       But actually, he was very outdated.

       Always telling me not to do this, not to do that, not to get in trouble, no games, no entertainment, and only study every day. He was one of those good students that used to be so common in the class.

       I didn’t like good students.

       At this moment, there was a lot of anger in my chest that I wanted to vent, and I didn’t want to see good students getting in the way. 

       I said, “Senior, let me just address you, ge. Go away, don’t fvcking stop me this time.”

       He said, “Xie Chenmin.”

       I saw him walk from the darkness to the light of the street lamp. As soon as he spoke, he choked.

       He said, “You go back with me.”

       His face was covered with medicines to treat wounds.

       I didn’t expect good students to get into fights.

       If one of the student council officers with him hadn’t told me later, I might never have known why the gang came to me to apologise.

       I had gotten into a fight with the basketball team of that class because the opponent cheated. This matter was originally closed, and both of us were disqualified.

       But they were so angry that they provoked and injured my housemate in private at night.

       Lin Chu knew about this faster than I did.

       He alone went to the three pricks who had picked a fight and beat them up.

       Surprisingly, they were evenly matched.

       He told them to apologise and that would be the end of it, but if they didn’t, he would report them for picking a fight and add a charge of disrupting and injuring a mediating student council officer.

       I had to say that the three guys felt wronged, they were hurt much worse than this student council officer alone.

       I kind of wanted to laugh when the guy said that.

       That buddy told me, You don’t know, at that time Lin Chu stepped on someone’s back and said.

       Don’t think you can sue me, I have plenty of people here. So shut the fvck up if you want to have an easy time.

       The buddy said that he didn’t believe that this was said by Lin Chu, the most disciplined, fair, and honest person in the Supervision Department. He was as tough as a hooligan, and if the head of the department heard it, it would be the end of him.

       That was the first time I really got to know him.

       I thought he was like a wise man in a novel, a reclusive man who was outwardly weak, but in reality, he was just unwilling to care about others.

       I couldn’t force him to be serious.

       Only later did I find out about his transfer.

       This man could care less about the gaze from the outside world and only listen to his heart.

       It was really remarkable.

       That was when I realised that he was the kind of person I wanted to be.

       I wanted to try my best to catch up with him.

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Chapter 9

       When I was at university, I would meet Xie Chenmin from time to time at some regular places.

       For example, the milk tea shop and the courier office.

       There, one could see Xie Chenmin working part-time and countless girls who chat with him.

       His appearance was so dashing that girls would always ask him if he was an art student.

       Sometimes people in my student council officer group would also talk about him.

       This man named Xie Chenmin, was the one we dealt with last time, right?

       The part-time daily publicity officer of the confession wall said so.

       Every week there are anonymous confessions to him, the frequency of this kid appearing in our place is too often. 

       I asked, Every week?

       The officer looked hurt when he said, Yes, I can’t stand it.

       Just across from me, he was wearing the employee hat backwards in his work uniform. He sat across the chair, rested his head and arms on the back of the chair as he sipped his milk tea and played with his phone.

       I looked up and said, You are quite a casanova.

       He said, I can’t help it, I got my face from my parents.

       I said, That’s nice.

       He also looked up at me and said, Is Senior jealous?

       I said, Jealous my ass.

       This sloppy boy straightened his chair and smiled at me, Senior, do you have a girlfriend, or a boyfriend?

       I said, Yes.

       He froze for a while, then stirred his milk tea and said, Huh? I haven’t seen one.

       I said, You see it every day, it’s called a computer.

       He said, Senior, don’t joke around.

       I said, What are you trying to say?

       As he held the side of his face, he said, I had a few girlfriends in the past.

       I pointed out the main point, A few. How great you are, Xie Chenmin.

       He said, No, I didn’t do anything. I even still have my first kiss. Do I look like that kind of person?

       He didn’t give me a chance to say ‘seemed like so’, as he continued, I was quite casual and felt proud to be pursued and that having a date was particularly awesome.

       He said, I’ve never chased anyone, it’s always the girls who come to me, impressive, right?

       I hid it from my mum at the time and felt especially cool.

       I ridiculed him, The rebellious period is overlaying the second phase.

       He said, My mum later found out and she asked me to leave the school at the time and dragged me home to talk about it all night.

       I stopped drinking my milk tea and looked up at him.

       He said,

       My mother said, Xie Chenmin, I have nothing against you falling in love, you can do whatever you want.

       But you’re a boy, and there are things you have to think about and take on more than the other person.

       You should not respond to any expectations from others until you have thought you can spend time with them.

       They are also someone’s children too, why should they be hurt by your lack of consideration? Why should they be turned into capital for you to show off?

       Xie Chenmin, you’ve let me down this time.

       He said, My mother just looked at me and said these words to me very seriously. I thought about it for a long time by myself, then I cut off all my girlfriends and got slapped by them one by one.

       Later, I was rumoured to be a scum, but I didn’t bother to mess with anyone else who didn’t mess with me.

       I laughed when I heard this.

       He said, I figured it out, I don’t actually like them in my heart, and if they follow me, it would be too suffocating later on.

       I jokingly said, How do you know whether you like it or not, who knows when your second grader syndrome strikes again.

       He said, Senior, I think if I really like someone, I’ll probably be especially crazy.

       I said, Huh?

       He gestured seriously and said, As if the whole world is black and white, but only this person is in colour.

       He said, If this person disappeared from my eyes, the world would probably be dull and boring.

       He said,

       So might as well let me disappear with him.

       I looked at him and thought he was joking.

       I was silent for a while and said, Go write a novel.

       He laughed cheekily and said, When the time comes, you will be the only one to read, Senior.

       I said, I’m short of a book for mouse pads.

       He said, Heartless.

       The man over at work called out to him, saying that a group of girls wanted to take a picture with him and one bought two large glasses of pearls.

       Xie Chenmin immediately straightened his hat, got up and said, Okay, coming.

       This guy had gone from a romantic expert to a mascot.


       Life was like a box of chocolates, you never knew what flavour you were going to eat next.

       But life was actually more complicated than chocolate, and you never know when a flippant remarks you said at a certain time came true.

       He joked that if I must go before him, he asked me to wait for him in front of Naihe Bridge.

       He said that if the person disappeared, he would disappear with the person.

       One was a heavenly coincidence and one was never a joke.

       I only know now.


       Xie Chenmin was trembling as he held me, and I could feel that his temperature was slowly draining away.

       He was on the verge of dying, and his soul could temporarily wander away from his physical body.

       I said, Go back.

       He said, I won’t.

       I said, Don’t make me say it a second time.

       He said in a flustered and trembling voice, You agreed to wait for me, Chu, I don’t want to be alone, and neither do you, can’t we be together this time? We’ve been together before, don’t…

       Don’t you dare not want me.

       Chu, I miss you.

       I clutched his back with both hands and blocked the sobs that wanted to come out onto his shoulders.

       I could hear his trembling ending and felt his residual warmth.

       I could also hear the scraping of machinery, the resuscitation doctor’s yell, and the voice of the young female driver outside the door.

       She said sorry to Mother Xie countless times, saying that she didn’t expect him to suddenly appear in the middle of the road, and she also admitted that she was a little tired when driving.

       I could see that her brow was full of fatigue and guilt.

       I saw that Mother Xie’s eyes and saw the whites of her eyes were already bright red, her tone was trembling, but she still calmly said, It’s okay, he’s to blame.

       The female driver seemed to have never seen a sane family member in such a situation and was stunned.

       Mother Xie said, He’s been very off lately, I…I didn’t think he’d take his own life, if I could have realized it earlier, I ……

       His friends and relatives were comforting his mother who was alone at the moment. The female driver’s cell phone rang, and the childish voice over there asked her mother when she was going home.

       I said, Xie Chenmin, look over there.

       He buried his head on my shoulder, shook it and said, I’m not looking.

       I couldn’t express my conflicting feelings.

       I felt very selfish. I wanted to go through the cold death with Xie Chenmin, the man I love so much. I wanted to take him with me, and I didn’t want to leave him alone with a so-called important and false pretence ritual.

       But I absolutely couldn’t do that.

       I tried to calm down and said, You listen to me, okay?

       A long time ago, three of his roommates complained to me that Xie Chenmin listened to me the most. This person was usually late to class, talked back to teachers and disliked his classmates, but in front of me, he behaved like a kindergartener.

       Sure enough, he still listened and looked over there.

       I said, Look at our mother.

       Mother Xie’s back was still straight, but she was silent amid the countless noises, and there was an indescribable sadness.

       I said, You’re all she has left. If you leave, what do you want her to do?

       He didn’t say anything.

       I said, Look at that driver, her child is still calling her home. She’s probably a single mother, out on her own to make ends meet, and because of your one thought, their lives could be so devastated.

       But she still chose to stay and did not escape. Do you have the heart to let this crippled family take another blame?

       I said,

       Look, your friends, their expressions.

       Look at these doctors, they are desperately trying to save you.

       And Zhaocai, who is waiting for you to pick him up and take him back.

       How can you say you are alone.

       He said, But you are not there. Chu, how could I be without you?

       I said, I’m by your side, am I not? But you just couldn’t see me.

       He squeezed me tightly like he was trying to rub the breath out of two souls and melt them together.

       He said, Chu, I can’t let go.

       I said, I know.

       Whether it was me, or this world with the people’s warmth, he was just equally reluctant.

       He sobbed softly in my neck. It was the second time I saw him cry so unabashedly.

       He said, Lin Chu, you are too fvcking cruel.

       He was a cheerful person and someone with high self-esteem. How painful and difficult it was for him to convince himself to give up everything, even his life.

       But he really did.

       I said, I’m sorry.

       He said, Don’t say those words again.

       Like an oath of the youth who did not know the extent of heaven and earth, he made up his mind to come to me and said that he would love me longer than a lifetime.

       However, I could only drive him away.

       Romance could only be placed in the story, and it could only be defeated by a cruel reality.

       But the man in front of me said,

       Chu, let’s get married now, okay?

       I looked at him.

       The room was so quiet that only the sound of the rescuers remained.

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Chapter 8

       After Xie Chenmin finished his postgraduate studies, he was recruited to the headquarters of a well-known large company in the country.

       It was a job that many people dream of.

       But he applied to the branch.

       Fulfilling the promise he made to me when I graduated, he came to the city where I was.

       I watched his high-speed train enter the station, saw him throw his luggage and rushed over, and heard him say.

       Chu, I miss you.

       I said, So am I.

       He said, I miss you more than you miss me.

       I didn’t argue with the big boy. I gave some support on his back and said, Let’s go, Zhaocai is waiting for you.

       Xie Chenmin was in his twenties at the time and was very tall, so you could see him in the crowd at a glance.

       He always liked to wear a white tee and a red duck-tongue cap, and his smile was especially neat, like a ray of sunlight that broke through the clouds into the station in the early morning.

       His handsomeness was flawless and clear, the kind of look that you couldn’t take your eyes off when you found him in a crowd.

       At that time the station was bustling with people and there were countless eye-catching things outside the station, but my eyes were fixed on him without getting distracted.

       I didn’t know why, but I just wanted to look at him for a while longer.

       I had never looked at him so closely, even when we were first together, and when we were entangled crazily on our bed.

       I said, Actually, you’re quite handsome.

       Xie Chenmin’s brain formatted for a while, and after recovering, he said to me, Chu, you’re scaring me.

       I continued, I’m a little out of my mind.

       If he had a tail, I guess it would have been wagging by now.

       Morning light got into his eyes.

       In the crowd, he took my hand and held it tightly, and my heart skipped a beat. Then it was as if everything in front of me had lost its colour, and only this silly man holding me was in colour.

       He said, Chu, I miss you very much.

       I said, En.

       He said, Let’s go get a room.

       I said, fvck off.

       If he was a dog, I guessed it must have been a mix of toy poodle.


       Xie Chenmin slept until the afternoon, and when he got up, his hair was so messy and there was a haze as dense as red wine in the air and he stayed up alone for a long, long time.

       He touched the side and shouted, Zhaocai?

       No voice answered him.

       He remembered that after my birthday he had sent the big dog to his mother in the early hours of the morning.

       He was sitting alone in the dim sun, as lonely as a crow that stopped on a tree.

       When I was alive, if I didn’t have work to do, I would avoid oversleeping in the afternoon. When I came to my senses and realized that the day had come to an end, I would feel indescribable loneliness in my heart.

       But when Xie Chenmin came to me after finishing his postgraduate studies, I no longer had such worries.

       Because there was always someone around when you woke up.

       I dropped to his side and said, You bastard.

       Today was the first seventh days of my death, the only day I could touch him again.

       But he did nothing all day and went to sleep.

       I stood beside the bed and gently stroked the profile of my face with my fingertips.

       I could touch it.

       I could feel the warmth that belonged to him on it.

       Just as a gust of wind walked by, the white curtains painted the trail it left behind.

       Xie Chenmin looked in the direction of the wind as if he was looking at me.

       My eyes were wet and I thought, Enough, this is enough.

       It was enough to let me look at the light in this fool’s eyes again.

       You’ve lost weight, you idiot.

       If I’m not around in the future, you have to cook for yourself and not always make instant noodles.

       If you feel lonely, go and find someone who loves you more than you love him.

       I won’t mind, don’t worry about it, besides I can’t see it anymore haha.

       I just want you to be happy in the future.

       In the future, you can go far away and fly high, and don’t worry about anything. Take good care of your heart.

       I’m sorry for barging in irresponsibly and forcing my way out jokingly.

       I’ve never cried like this in my life except for the moment I was born as a human being.

       So much that I choked up until I couldn’t sob anymore.

       Live once for yourself, die once for him, and this life would complete.

       He couldn’t hear my voice.

       But he stood up, looked out of the window, in my direction, dressed like a madman, left the door unlocked and ran downstairs.

       He said to himself, Chu, don’t go, don’t, I’ll find you, wait just a moment, just a moment.

       My heart lurched.

       That wind went on for a long time, flipping through the books and diaries on the table, page by page as if time was passing between the pages.

       The wind passed by the leaves, either taking a few with it to wander, or just leaving some others with a shuddering ripple and nothing more.

       The gust of wind went to the sky.

       Xie Chenmin stopped abruptly at the last step of the stairs.

       He couldn’t catch up.

       I saw him standing for a long time, and called out, Chu.

       He said softly and a little aggrievedly, Wait for me, just a moment, can’t you wait?

       I didn’t know what blocked my vision一tears, or the half the shadow of someone who didn’t live until half his life.

       The last clear image I knew was of him walking down the middle of the road.

       The blinding red lights across the pavement and the honking sirens that cut through the sky.


       I remember that day he voiced out to me and said, Chu, I set the wedding on your birthday.

       I was at work and my fingers stalled on the keyboard for a moment.

       I said, That’s fine.

       He sounded as giddy as a child looking forward to going on a trip.

       He couldn’t hide his surprise, so he told me the secret he had kept for so long.

       He said, I wrote a program.

       I thought I heard it wrong, laughed and said, What did you do?

       He said, I didn’t hire an emcee, just wait until the day the computer reads aloud.

       I want to laugh when I think about the scene where the Google girl’s unemotional mechanical voice asks ‘Would you like to?’1 in the audience.

       I laughed and said, Are you out of your mind?

       He said, There are 15 missing ones. When you put them together, you can write Lin Chu.

       I said, Love words don’t work for me.

       He honestly said, Think about it. The love rival came to me as a wedding witness, it is also too good, right?

       The computer really pissed him off.

       I said, If there is a next life, I will choose your rival.

       He said, Heartless man.

       Every member of the bustle in the city has an ordinary daily life that gives him ease and happiness, daily noise, laughter, unintentional jokes, and the mood at a certain time and place.

       No one would worry about what was wrong with any one frame of the daily routine, and what was the historical significance of any one paragraph. It was a question that an extraordinary or providential person would think of.

       I thought I was the same way.

       I never thought that the sentence ‘if there is a next life’ was the last sentence I said to him before my death.


       The doctor seemed to say that I had a chance to be rescued, but the driver who caused the accident deliberately injured me twice.

       Because the amount of money he would have paid out if I had died outright would have been less than the possible follow-up costs after I had been seriously injured.

       I didn’t understand this stuff either, but it seemed to be the case. It was something I heard when my soul was still a little painfully connected to my physical body.

       I didn’t know how much time passed before my ear nerves were dying to transmit the familiar ringtone of my mobile phone.

       Until it went out.


       I didn’t expect us to meet again in this way.

       The cold light of the operating room was cast over his unconscious flesh.

       Beside him were expressionless doctors who were desperately trying to save him.

       Outside the door stood his mother, who had arrived on the news, his friends, and the young driver who was in a panic.

       With great effort, the doctor said “We’ll try our best” and then closed the door.

       The light inside had been on for who knows how long.

       As he stood in front of the operating bed and slowly opened his eyes, the doctors continued to resuscitate his weak, flaming pulse.

       We both looked at each other.

       He looked at me for a long time, until tears filled his eyes, and trembled, Chu.

       I looked exactly like him, and I said, You bastard.

       Behind him, the doctor was sweating and said, Tell the family to get ready, his vital signs are so faint we may ……

       He said, I know, you’ve always been there for me, always, right?

       With tears on my cheeks, I went up and yanked him by the collar and said, You fvcking…… What the fvck have you done?! Get your ass back in your body and stay there!

       When I saw him looking at the oncoming car, there was no surprise in his eyes.

       I’m not stupid enough to not see that he had done it on purpose.

       I didn’t even expect him to be so stupid as to commit suicide.

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Chapter 7

       One day earlier, Xie Chenmin called all his relatives and friends, including his relatives, friends, colleagues and classmates, and of course the three outstanding roommates.

       The ‘Anti-Xie Chenmin Federation’ group chat was still there. It was just that there were fewer chat days and they were not frequently in contact.

       They didn’t know I’m dead yet.

       He had the loudspeaker on, and the volume was turned up to maximum. He moved Zhaocai’s small bowl of dog food to his feet to attract the big dog to him, and as he talked, Xie Chenmin would pet its white head.

       It was like he was about to share the blessings on the other side of these phones with someone.

       Zhao Cai didn’t mind him picking its food for his poor sake.

       I heard each one of them.

       He said, Lin Chu and I are getting married.

       They said.

       It’s amazing, Xie Chenmin, how did you get Lin ge to agree? Have you recorded it? Hurry up and send it to me so I can listen to it.

       If it was legal to throw those who did PDA in the future, would I still be able to live in the future?

       Hope you get a child soon and long and prosperous life for Min ge and Lin ge.

       Xie Chenmin rubbed Zhaocai’s head and said, Thank you guys.

       I heard an uncharacteristic silence on the other side of each call for a while. It was not just a coincidence, but a four-year tacit understanding. Then they all asked, Min ge, what’s the matter with you?

       The former Xie Chenmin would rant and tell them one by one to go back, and then make an appointment to have a meal together when he was happy. In short, he was not the type to say thank you.

       They agreed to ‘No words of thanks between great love’, and they would be punished for saying the word ‘thank you’.

       Xie Chenmin said that he was happy, so happy that he was a bit nervous.

       The silence was eased for a while, and they seemed to think that Xie Chenmin’s reaction was a mature reaction after years of hard-working, just like how one understood reading Chinese literature, and the feeling of perseverance under a thousand hardships to get to this point.

       They asked, What about Lin ge?

       He said, He was asleep.

       They said, It’s already bright outside, quick, tell Lin ge to get up and answer the phone.

       Xie Chenmin laughed, How dare I.

       Eventually, they relaxed and said, Aiyo, the years have thinned Min ge’s skin.

       I heard a long silence from his relatives, some of them said to take care of himself, while others just hung up the phone.

       I heard voices from the other side of the phone interspersed with scattered cool rain or awkward, hypocritical pandering.

       But Xie Chenmin was consistent, the first sentence after dialling was that ‘Lin Chu and I were getting married.’

       I didn’t really know what he was making these calls for, I just watched from the sidelines as he finished and stayed in place for a long time.

       Zhaocai licked his fingers.

       He regained his senses, looked at Zhaocai, and dialled the phone again.

       He said to his mother, Mom, please look after Zhaocai for me for a few days.

       His mother didn’t ask any further questions, only said, Okay.

       She added another sentence, Don’t let it be alone for too long, it is smart and it will miss people.

       Xiao Chu has left, it will be good for it to keep you company.

       I saw Xie Chenmin’s black pupils staring outward aimlessly in a daze, then turned to Zhaocai who was at hand.

       Zhaocai looked at him, his tongue twitched and his head tilted.

       He said, Oh.

       Zhaocai does miss people.

       Until now, it still hid the blanket that Jinbao sleeps on his stomach in its bed and wouldn’t let anyone move it.

       After welcoming Xie Chenmin back every day, he would habitually turn his head to the door and wait for a while.

       I remember when he gave it to me, it was still very small. It was so smart that it cowered in fear of being thrown away again in a strange environment.

       Xie Chenmin said, Chu, wait for me for a few years, and I will go to your city.

       When you’re alone, let this little guy keep you company.

       By the way, it is called Lin Zhaocai.

       I think this guy could remember my body heat and smell. On every night when he had nightmares, he always liked to whimper his white dog head into my elbow.

       My coworkers asked me if I was single.

       I said, No.

       They said, How come I haven’t seen you with anyone?

       I said, He is not in this city.

       They laughed and advised me that a long-distance relationship would not last long.

       I said, En.

       He was not in this city, but he was by my side.

       Zhaocai looked miserably like Xie Chenmin. As a eskimo dog, it has the energy to open things apart like a silly and cute husky. Every day when it woke me up with its tail and tongue, I feel like some idiot never left.


       Xie Chenmin hung up the phone and said to Zhaocai, Are you afraid of being alone?

       Zhaocai’s black eyes looked at him in confusion.

       He thought about it and said something else, Are you afraid to be the only dog?

       He didn’t know if Zhaocai understood, but it gave a woof anyway.

       Xie Chenmin stole a piece of dog food from Zhaocai’s bowl to reward it. He stroked the dog’s head and said, Me too.

       I didn’t know how that feels like either. It was like swallowing a glass of ice water on a cold, miserable night, the hysterical coldness stinging my internal organs and freezing my throbbing blood.

       I stretched out my stiff and empty hand in a vain attempt to touch his head.

       Xie Chenmin suddenly stood up and his body passed through my palm, and I probably touched his living heart there.

       He said, Wait here for a moment.

       Zhaocai gave a woof. and his eyes reflected the figure of Xie Chenmin rushing out.


       I remembered working overtime on my birthday that year.

       I was so busy that I didn’t have time to glance at my phone.

       It was not until the city’s heavy traffic circulate the cage of steel1the car… it was a car… normally that I just realized how deep the night was.

       I just remembered that it was my birthday today.

       The evening was a little cold. The tip of my nose was a little red from the cold, and I finally had time to take out my phone, which I had forgotten to charge yesterday and still had a pitiful one-tenth of the battery left.

       Xie Chenmin hadn’t spoken all day.

       I remembered that yesterday he said he had something going on tomorrow and he might not be able to return my messages in time.

       He probably forgot, and with his busy schedule, the significance of the day was not as important as it could have been. I put my phone away, wrapped up my clothes and caught the last subway train.

       The light and shadow outside the window were more beautiful than people’s life, but I couldn’t appreciate these bustling arts. I just felt it was noisy and took a short nap with my head tilted.

       I arrived home as usual and met Xie Chenmin.

       He was sitting on the stairs in front of my rental house. He sat quietly, like a stray dog that had been abandoned.

       He saw me from afar, didn’t speak, kept his eyes on me, and stared sulkily at me as I approached.

       I phrased my words for a moment and said, I thought you had something to do, why are you here?

       He was still sitting on the stairs, and looked up at me.

       I thought I saw some anger in his eyes.

       He shoved the box he was holding into my arms and said coldly, I have two days off today and tomorrow to wish you a happy birthday.

       I said, What’s wrong with you.

       He said, I’m going back.

       I was puzzled, grabbed his wrist, and said, Where are you going? If you have a day off, you can stay here tonight.

       He said, I’m here to break up with you.

       My heart skipped a beat, then choked on my chest, and I could only say, What?

       Xie Chenmin said, Let go of me.

       I held on to him, and asked suspiciously, Can you explain clearly what’s going on?

       He took a deep breath and said, I am very angry with Lin Chu now.

       I had never felt so afraid, and I had never thought about where Xie Chenmin’s anger came from. I just tried to grab the straw that could save me, pretending to be indifferent, Today is my birthday, if you want to break up, don’t do it today, yeah?

       Xie Chenmin turned his head to look at me, and said, Lin Chu, how heartless of you.

       He said, You said it yourself, what did you promise me?

       It’s half past eleven and you just came back.

       Who assured me that he didn’t have night shifts.

       The neighbour’s aunt said that you don’t come home until ten o’clock almost every day.

       You lie to me every day.

       You also know it’s your birthday. Why don’t you come back half an hour later and get the “no return for one night” achievement?

       How appetizing the computer is, you should follow it in your next life, what do you need me for?


       The ellipsis floated in my mind again after many years. Embarrassed, I swallowed a heart that was suspended in midair.

       I said, Xie Chenmin, just say everything you need to say, can you stop the weirdness?

       He said, I’ve been waiting for you since the time you lied to me about getting off work. The more I wait, the more I get angry.

       He got angry himself and calmed down his anger, and complained, What’s with your attitude? You can’t keep me?

       Well, I won’t break up with you today. Tomorrow we will be strangers and we don’t know each other. You will take me to the station the day after tomorrow.

       I couldn’t help but laugh.

       I laughed until some tears came out of my eyes.

       He said, Be serious with me.

       This bastard scared the crap out of me.

       I opened the door and said, Come in, stranger.

       Xie Chenmin came in like a balloon that hadn’t fully deflated and looked at the little Zhaocai who was wagging his tail to greet me and licking my palm. He couldn’t bear it. He said to me awkwardly, I missed you, Chu.

       I said, I miss you too.

       Xie Chenmin’s anger instantly disappeared.

       Then it was time for me to settle my score with this stranger.

       If it wasn’t for this joking tantrum of his, I wouldn’t have known that Xie Chenmin was so important to me.

       The slightest omen of losing him terrified me.

       I looked at him who was unpacking the cake box for me and thought to myself: How can someone be so nice and so stupid?

       His roommate said that he quit gaming and studied hard almost every day. He said he was also a man with a dream now, and it was in another city.

       He ran from there to me, clutching a custom-made handmade cake, and waited at the cold door from 7 pm until 11 pm.

       After he lost his temper, he carefully observed my expression, for fear that I would be angry at his momentary irrationality.

       He never thought to blame me.

       My eyes cooled down a bit, and nothing unusual could be seen under the light of a candle.

       Xie Chenmin sang the birthday song to me with Zhaocai. He sang unexpectedly well, but the man was never a well-behaved guy. He sang and kissed me on the cheek in a mischievous manner.

       He touched a cool line of tears.

       He was a little surprised and said, Chu.

       I said, Don’t you say a word.

       Before the candlelight went out, I made a wish, a wish for a world with him in it.

       I forgot what the cake tasted like, I just remember being a little crazy that day.

       I could hear him leaning down, panting heavily in my ear, saying, Chu, do you want to take a break?

       I said, Can you do it or not? If not, I’ll do it instead.

       He said, Give me a break.


       Xie Chenmin bought a cake and came back, and cut two pieces for Zhaocai.

       Zhaocai took one piece back to his bed, put it on the blanket where the kitten used to sleep, panted and ran back, and ate the other piece by himself beside him.

       Xie Chenmin said, Do you know how to sing?

       Zhaocai said, Woof, woof.

       Xie Chenmin sang.

       He looked at the candlelight and said, Happy birthday.

       The candlelight cut out his look, his voice, and reflected on my nothingness as it slowly began to take shape.

       It was past twelve, it was my birthday, my first seventh days of death.

       Although I am the only one who can see myself in my present form.

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Chapter 6

       He had a great mother.

       After her husband passed away when Xie Chenmin was very young, she raised Xie Chenmin while working hard outside the home, and still managed to keep the family prosperous.

       The first time he told me he was going to take me to see his mother, I suddenly felt more nervous than ever.

       I was surprised and said, Your mother approved?

       He said, Our mother.

       I was silent for a long time.

       Since my mother came to our school at that time, rumours whether it was true or false had been flying around and had reached my family, only making their impression on Xie Chenmin more strict.

       I was very upset about my parents.

       I wanted to respect them, but they never seemed to respect my thoughts and wishes.

       What I was unhappy about was why Xie Chenmin had to be that unbearable in their minds.

       I am their son, and they love me, so shouldn’t Xie Chenmin be the child that his parents hold in their hearts?

       I was a bit afraid to face Mother Xie.

       At that time, he was studying in postgraduate school and I was working. My city was closer to his home and I went there by myself by high-speed train.

       But the night before yesterday, I was pulled by a colleague for a BBQ, and I ate some spicy food. Then my throat became inflamed, and my tonsils were so swollen that I couldn’t speak.

       I could feel that Xie Chenmin was about to die of worry through the text on WeChat. I felt like a child who was travelling for the first time and was questioned all the way to the destination.

       I turned on Do Not Disturb when I was annoyed.

       Mother Xie was someone with a few words, so I didn’t know why Xie Chenmin was so talkative.

       Mother Xie just said “Come here” when I arrived.

       Then she poured me a cup of hot water and gave me a few anti-inflammatory pills.

       She said, Chenmin said, your throat is not good.

       I hummed.

       I remembered the first time I visited their home, Mother Xie didn’t say a word to me. She just cooked quietly while I washed the vegetables next to her.

       I thought she didn’t like me and was just forcing a smile in front of Xie Chenmin.

       When it was time to go, she stuffed me with a bottle of medicine and told me to remember to take medicine and to stop eating spicy food.

       I remembered that the dishes on the dinner table were all bland, and Xie Chenmin had taken some trouble to develop some in particular according to my taste, especially for me who didn’t like to eat when I was sick.

       It all tasted exactly the same.

       I went back and lay in bed for a long time until I saw the 99+ and missed calls on my phone and I made a video call to Xie Chenmin.

       His first sentence was, Did you take the medicine?

       I shook my head.

       He said, Hurry up and take your medicine.

       I got up, touch the medicine from Mother Xie from the bedside, unscrewed it, and found a small note in a plastic bag.

       There was a string of numbers and words written on it, ‘Xie Chenmin has no income right now, so use my card if you want to spend money, don’t feel wronged.’

       At the end there was a sentence, ‘I will send you the verification code, don’t tell Xie Chenmin.’

       My phone’s front camera has a high pixel count. After Xie Chenmin forced me to read out the contents of the note, he hung up the video and went to bombard his mother

       He clamoured that it wasn’t fair and that he had never been treated this way.

       Mother Xie always gave him a fixed amount of money on his card every month, and any further requests could only be made through a complicated process like a leadership approval review. As a result, he could only “work and study” in his freshman year.

       Mother Xie, who was bombed, sent me a message, and I could see her helplessness through the text. She said, You child, how can you be so bad at doing things?”

       She had been acting like a spy, but she was discovered by Xie Chenmin.

       I couldn’t help laughing.

       Mother Xie was quiet and cool, but she was a very interesting person.

       She once told me that the money Xie Chenmin gave me to buy a computer was earned from his own part-time job. When she didn’t pass the application for money “approval”, she felt that there was something fishy with Xie Chenmin.

       Xie Chenmin said, Originally, my mother’s attitude was that she neither supported nor opposed, but she said that since I had the courage to talk to her about it, she would try her best and learn to support us.

       I said, Mother is very good to me.

       He said, Well, she said because you were someone else’s child.

       After he said that, Xie Chenmin felt angry again and continued to quarrel with his mother.


       Mother Xie said, Come here.

       Xie Chenmin replied, En.

       She said, If you haven’t eaten, I’ll make something for you.

       She seemed to know what Xie Chenmin did yesterday, so she didn’t say anything and quietly made him hot porridge to warm his stomach.

       He went into the kitchen and wanted to help, but Mother Xie wouldn’t let him and told him to stand aside.

       Mother Xie said, This kitchen cannot stand the blowup.

       He said, I’m not going to blow it up.

       She said, Just rest.

       He looked at her back and said, Mom, I miss you.

       I saw Mother Xie’s movements stop for a while.

       The mother and son had met not long before.

       At my funeral.

       She just hummed and didn’t say another word.

       Xie Chenmin didn’t say anything special, stayed for a while after dinner, and then left.

       Before he left, Mother Xie said, Take good care of yourself.

       Xie Chenmin nodded and said, I’ll go see Dad.


       It was during those late self-study sessions when he was around every day that he told me that his father had left very early.

       His memory still lingered on the tall man who carried him on his shoulders as soon as he got home, and then went to team up to steal food from the kitchen. Or the time he was writing squiggly kindergarten numbers by the window while letting the wind out and saw his mother coming back downstairs, so he shouted to his father who was playing online games secretly.

       Whenever he was away on business, he would call home at a set time every day, whether he had something to do or not. Sometimes Mother Xie would perfunctorily give the phone to little Xie Chenmin.

       He would say, Dad, it’s you again.

       The other side said, Go, go, go, give the phone back to your mother.

       He said, I don’t want to.

       The other side said, We’ll go to McDonald’s on the weekend.

       Then he immediately said, Okay,  and obediently handed the phone back.

       And then Mother Xie would put an end to the endless chatter of the other side by hanging up the phone.

       Little Xie Chenmin looked forward to his father’s business trip every day, his phone call every day, his mother giving him the phone every day, his father’s promise of a weekend every day, and his mum’s smile when she picked him up after hanging up the phone.

       But then one time, his father went on a business trip and never came back.

       Mother Xie has kept that tablet1referring to the memorial tablet of the dead all her life, and would rather choose the most difficult path than marry again.

       He said that our mother has a driver’s license, but she never drove a car again, and she rarely travels by car. Now she basically used bicycles and subways to get around.

       Because his father died in a car accident.



       He laid flowers on his father’s grave.

       He squatted down and cleaned his tombstone, and stared at his photo for a long time.

       He said, I should have chosen this place for the first time, maybe the two of you would have been able to meet.

       My insubstantial heart stung for a moment.

       After he said that, he got up and left. I saw that he bought a train ticket on his mobile phone.

       The sting deepened when I saw the destination there.

       It was my old hometown, where my parents live.


       He said, By the way, do you know where I got my name from?

       He was opening a room with me when he was throwing this serious question.

       I shielded my eyes with my arms and said, I don’t want to know now.

       When I had sex with him, the shame was overflowing. But he just had to talk to me, leaving me half floating and the other half trying to keep my head above water.

       He went on to say, My mother’s surname was Min, a very rare surname.

       I wrapped my arms around his neck and bit my lip.

       He said, I’m going in.

       I said, Okay.

       He had been holding back for days, his movements were wild, almost frenzied, and I was taking pleasure in them.

       It was addicting.

       He said, Chu, you are someone high above, and I am your subject.

       My ears were blushing, partly because his love words hit the mark accurately.

       So much so that I didn’t dare to call him Chenmin anymore, as soon as I called it, I would think of the meaning of that second word.

       He said, You are not a monarch, but I am willing to submit.

       A thought rose in my heart, and I said with a black face, I’m blocking you.

       Then Xie Chenmin, who had not finished the second phase, stayed on the blacklist for one day.


       My parents wouldn’t take a good look at him.

       No matter how far he had travelled to get here, or what his health was like, he would never get a bowl of porridge to warm his stomach.

       When my mother opened the door, the glimmer of life that had come to life inside her haggard eyes withered once more when she saw him.

       She closed the door hard and tried to shut Xie Chenmin out, but Xie Chenmin rebelliously peeled the door open and went inside.

       He apologized to my mother, I’m sorry for the door.

       My mother was shaking with anger and I saw that there were awards and trophies and photos of me since childhood hanging in the room.

       I didn’t let them put these up when I was at home, so they didn’t. I had no idea that while I was away, these things, which I thought they had thrown away long ago, had been kept so nice like it was new.

       There was also a suit being ironed.

       Xie Chenmin didn’t know, but I knew that this suit was the first one I had bought for my father, and I found an excuse to tell him that if he came to our wedding, he should remember to wear this.

       He was looking at the suit in awe, but when he heard the word wedding, he was so angry that he threw it in the trash in front of me.

       I left, and it turned out that he secretly picked it up again.

       Xie Chenmin looked at them and was tongue-tied for a moment.

       My mother’s red and swollen eyes shed tears again and said, You… Return xiao Chu to us…

       My father heard the commotion and hurried out of the inner room. He was startled for a moment when he saw Xie Chenmin, then roared, You get out of here.

       He called out, Dad.

       My father, as if he had been greatly humiliated, trembled and said angrily, Get out of here.

       My dad was a veteran who had served half his life but said he had spent the rest of his life disgraced by me.

       He was still stuck in the mindset that homosexuality was on a par with drugs, cults and crime. He had been stubborn for half his life and I couldn’t change it.

       Xie Chenmin looked at the two elders, bathed in cries and curses, as well as the strange looks from curious heads.

       We lived in the inclusive and friendly light for so long that we forgot that the world has shadows, and that shadows never find the light, and also that no one could dispel the prejudices and rumours that are so deeply rooted there.

       He didn’t move even until my dad picked up the broom.

       When my dad reached him, he knelt down.

       He said, Dad, Mom, it’s my fault, you can hit me, I’m sorry.

       I saw my dad’s movements stop and saw his hands shaking.

       Then I saw a hard swing fall on him.

       I wanted to rush in front of him to block him and tell him, You are not wrong.

       Get your ass up there, and don’t apologize.

       But there was nothing I could do.

       He said, If you feel very disappointed, you can beat me to death. As long as you don’t kill me, I’ll be your son from now on.

       I will come back to see you again, he said insistently.

       I saw my father stop moving and dragged him out.


       I heard my mother cry.

       I felt his heart that already bruised and battered by the play of fate.

       He stood outside the door until all the voices inside had ceased, and then left in gloom.


       Destiny was indeed joking with me and him.

       He had purposely scheduled the wedding on my birthday. On the seventh day after my death, it was my birthday.

Just in case anyone got confused like I was when I was reading the last line (;´∀`)
Lin Chu seemed to die 7 days before their wedding which was explained in the last chapter was arranged on his birthday. So the 7th day of his death was not only his birthday but also his wedding day.

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Chapter 5

       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 fvcking 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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Chapter 4

       We got together.

       When a person had been alone for so long, and that person met another person, they would crave extra warmth inside that was different from their own.

       I didn’t feel it was any different from usual.

       Except for the first few weeks.

       Sometimes he would wake up early the next day, bring soy milk and doughnuts to my dormitory, give me a good morning kiss after staying up late, and say something he thought was romantic.

       Sometimes the two of us would be walking along and unconsciously bump into a glimpse of the sun’s afterglow that rendered the scenery on the horizon, and we would hold hands on a whim as if there was no one else around.

       Sometimes he would bow his head and kiss me at night, in the midst of a starry river of cyclists, under the cover of the darkness where the streetlights could not shine.

       Or we would go out for the weekend and get a room, two young ignorant and impulsive people, tossing and turning in a way that was unprecedentedly pleasurable and exciting.

       For some reason, our top and bottom positions had somehow acquiesced from the start.

       I finally felt strange and asked him why.

       He said that he had read countless bad books and he was ready to graduate. He answered it rhetorically, Senior, do you understand?

       I was silent for a while and said, I don’t understand.

       As a biological method for reproduction, according to theory, this should be natural to human beings

       My brain might have been assimilated by the computer.

       But I didn’t think I could come to understand it in the end. I couldn’t let go of my moral principle.

       Still, a graduate, was this what the average thick-skinned person would say?


       Later, when the initial novelty wore off, these ridiculous romances petered out.

       Because of too many classes and activities, he really didn’t have time to come to see me. He was teased by his roommates, Is your rut period over, Min ge?


       He said that he still loves me, and tried his best to describe the love he wanted to give me with his poor vocabulary. He said that it was different from the vigorous one he started with, but he wanted a kind of love that was able to love each other through the storms for the rest of his life.

       We spend time together as usual, and sometimes the wild chatter falls off a bit.

       I said, You know how hard this road is.

       He said, I know, as long as you are not afraid.

       I said, It’s you that I’m afraid of.

       Xie Chenmin was so good, and it was precisely because he was so good that I have never met someone like him before. So I was terribly afraid of losing him.

       Xie Chenmin was like a wolf cub with its head upright in a den, and he had yet to see the real boundless and unknown world.

       While I was like a heating straw he found in a cave. When he sees the outside and finds that the straw couldn’t shield him from discrimination, cold eyes and prejudice, he would probably throw it away.

       But what I fear most is not that he will throw me away, but that he will be unable to run away irresponsibly because of some oath he made when he was young and frivolous, and that he would only grow disgusted and bored.

       He said, I won’t.

       I said, Life is long, and you can never be sure how long your no will last.

       He looked at me and said, Chu, believe in me, and I will keep it for as long as you believe in me.

       I said, Okay.

       The stupidest thing was that I added, If you ever get tired of me, feel free to talk to me, and I won’t dwell on it.

       It was only three days later that I regretted that I shouldn’t have said that.

       For the first time since we were together, he and I had a cold war for three days.


       It was said that there was no such thing as a heart in the air, let alone heartache.

       But seeing that Xie Chenmin went looking for a new love on the first day after my funeral, a part of my heart, which I didn’t know what to call it, seemed to be cut by a thousand knives.

       Little by little, it stung.

       I had been separated from him for more than a month before the car accident.

       Before this, I always felt that some stubborn and subtle estrangement gradually formed between us, which we did not know or let each other know.

       Just let the rust, and it would gradually become a hidden problem as it accumulated over the years.

       We’ve been together for more than eight years.

       He told me in the early years that he would marry me within ten years.

       The deadline was coming to an end, and he finally had a good talk with me.

       In the past many months, we always quarrelled with each other when we talked. We thought that we were right and did not apologize, and got along nonchalantly.

       That day, it snowed like it hadn’t in years in the city we were in.

       He had been away on business for four days. I checked the weather forecast on my phone, and it said that the city he was in had long since been blocked by heavy snow.

       My WeChat message history with him was still from four days ago, and I sent him a message saying;

       Is it cold over there? Put on more clothes.

       Don’t turn on the air conditioning too much, it’s easy to get cold when you go out.

       Prepare some medicine, don’t wait until you have a headache and fever to wail around for medicine.

       It was snowing heavily that day, obscuring the roadside lights for a while, and the reflection was like stars in the sky falling bits by bits.

       He didn’t get back to me.

       I waited for a while, turned off my phone screen and went to sleep.

       The next day the world was already wrapped up, the first thing I did when I got up was to open WeChat, and he replied to me.

       He said, Chu, can we get married?

       The message was delivered at one o’clock in the morning.

       I sat up from the bed and stared at the words in a daze, and suddenly felt my eyes burning up.

       My fingers stayed on the keyboard for a long time, and my thoughts travelled to the ends of the earth until the mobile phone alarm sounded at seven o’clock, with the melody I used to look at him through, Head Above Water.

       Only then did my attention return to my phone and I said, Okay.

       When he came back, he said that he had obtained the visa and that he would take me to Norway to get a marriage license by the end of the week.

       When he came back, he was panting and breathing hot air with snow falling on his suit. When he entered the house, the warm air was blown and turned the snow into water stains on his suits.

       It was like that idiot in the tracksuit who ran from East Campus to the front of my dorm.

       He said that he missed the latest subway, and the road was blocked by snow, so he had run back halfway.

       I scolded him, Why are you in a hurry, it won’t take you more than a few minutes to wait for the next one.

       He said he didn’t want to wait at all and was confused.

       He took a small box out of his inside jacket pocket and my heart skipped a bit when I saw the packaging.

       He got down on one knee.

       He said, Chu, I didn’t know what you liked, so I bought the most expensive one with my entire fortune.

       We would probably live on the dirt next month.

       I said, It’s not like I can tell the difference between these things. You could go to the kiosk and buy a 50-cent pair of kids’ toys and they all look the same to me.

       He said, Can you be romantic?

       I said, Is this the first day you met me?

       He said, Well.

       He put the ring on me with his own hands and said, Me and my mom… No, it was our mom, she said she couldn’t stop me and that I could do whatever I wanted. But I’ll have to take you to meet her someday.

       I said, En.

       And added, I’m sorry.

       He said, It’s okay.

       My family had opposed me for eight years and regarded Xie Chenmin as a vicious person.

       My mother was a very gentle person with almost no temper. Unlike my father who has great hopes for his son, she didn’t say anything against me when I switched departments in a fit of anger.

       I still remembered the day she came to our school without telling me, and dragged her rheumatic legs all the way to our school. Before I could call out “Mom” in surprise, she grabbed Xie Chen Min’s wrist and almost knelt down to him, trembling and begging.

       “Please, let xiao Chu go, I have only one son… I beg you.”

       I saw that the expression on Xie Chenmin’s face was a mixture of surprise and bewilderment, so much so that the hand that wanted to help her froze in the air.

       And my father even never looked him in the eye.

       I felt that he was a man with high self-esteem and that he would have to put up with bad words from all sides when he came back with me.

       I owed him an apology for a long time.


       We went to get tailored suits together, and he found an old craftsman who stubbornly refused to keep pace with the rapid progress of the times. We went to the store and felt that time had slowed down.

       He asked us in Norwegian if were partners.

       He said, Well, we’ve been together for almost ten years.

       The old man smiled and said, I wish you happiness.

       It was only later that he told me about it. At that time, I raised my head and asked him what the old man was saying. He leaned down and said to me that he praised me that your wife was really beautiful.

       I kicked him in the old-time suit shop in a foreign country.


       Xie Chenmin said to the girl very earnestly, You are very beautiful.

       The girl wrapped her arms around his neck and rubbed his arm with the half-exposed waves of her breasts.

       She said seductively, Thank you handsome guy for the compliment.

       He smiled and said inexplicably, But not as pretty as my wife.

       I saw the girl’s face darken and the corners of her mouth twitched.

       I thought, if I had a face it would be black 80% of the time too.

       The girl asked, What do you mean?

       Xie Chenmin didn’t say anything, leaned forward and said to the driver, Stop in front.

       The luxurious car stopped at a place where the roadside and the lights were dim and desolate. Xie Chenmin got out of the car under the girl’s shocked eyes, walked to the front and told the driver of the car an address.

       It was the girl’s home.

       Send her back, he said, and send me a location confirmation when you arrived.

       The girl must have thought that he was a human trafficker just now. When she recovered from her fear, I saw Xie Chenmin give her a business card and said, My contact details, give me a call when you arrived safely.

       Also, love yourself a little.

       Then he walked along the road by himself.

       The girl took the business card and was stunned for a long time until the driver politely said, Miss, if there is nothing else, I will start driving.

       Only then did the girl come to her senses, and while sitting in the car, she was cursing the psycho while tearing the business card to shreds.


       I felt a sense of desolation.

       I wanted to say sorry, but I hated myself for not being able to speak.

       Xie Chenmin took the earphones and walked back along the road by himself.

       He opened the door, crouched down and tightly hugged Zhaocai who was wagging its tail, then ran to the bathroom and vomited in the dark.

       He was a very poor drinker, and he had not practised for a long time.

       He had probably thrown up all over his belly and while nausea hadn’t passed, he was dry heaving.

       I saw him with a splitting headache and a cold bath on full blast, standing up shakily and holding his hands on the sink.

       I wanted to go up and scold him and kick him.

       Why wasn’t this fvcking bastard taking his health seriously?

       I felt that if I had a body, my tears might not listen to me, but I couldn’t shed them now, and the air and his body were bathed in bitterly cold water. It was as if I’m the one crying.

       Zhaocai probably heard his uncomfortable voice, whimpering and picking at the bathroom door, while at the same time staring at the black silhouette without blinking.

       He came out of the bathroom.

       Aside from looking a little weak, he wiped his wet hair, his expression was as usual as he said hoarsely, What are you screaming for, I will feed you in a moment.

       I couldn’t see his eyes under his thick, dripping fringes.

       No one carried a wedding ring around for fun.

       And no one flaunting a wedding ring would go to a bar either.

       He knew that the soul of the diamond was empty, and he probably needed some more stimulation to let him know that he was holding on tightly so the illusion of the soul was still there.

       What was I doing just now? Doubting him.


       Xie Chenmin.

       I’m the one who left you alone, and I can’t believe I’m still blaming you.

       I really miss you, Xie Chenmin.

       I want to come back.

       I’m sorry, I’m sorry……

       He squatted down, and when he came to pour dog food for Zhaocai, I saw Zhaocai arched up to him and licked the corners of his eyes hidden under his fringes.

       It was somewhat red.

       I tried my best to pass my broken soul to Zhaocai, beyond the roughness of half a lifetime and the numbing shade that clouded his eyes, holding him hard with force.


       How could I forget?

       That day when Xie Chenmin put a ring on my finger.

       He made love to me in a bedroom that hadn’t smelled like two people in a long time, indignantly and carefully, as if he was venting a kind of obsessive grievance.

       When I was exhausted, I thought I heard him whisper in my ear.

       I thought you were tired of me.

       I was scared to death that I didn’t dare talk to you again, and I regretted every word that annoyed you for a long time.

       I thought it’s fine if you don’t want to, I don’t want you to be unhappy with me.

       But I…I can’t.

       I don’t know why, but I can’t do without you.

       He said.

       On the last night of my business trip, I went to the bar and saw that there was a young man at the bar who was very similar to you.

       There was a mole under the middle and lower part of the eye. He has a cold temperament and likes to purse his lips when he smiles.

       I was a little drunk.

       He helped me to the suite and asked me if I wanted to try it with him.

       I almost did something wrong.

       But my phone rang.

       It had snowed so hard here that day, you said, telling me to wear more clothes, to take care of myself and not to get cold.

       I went to the bathroom of the bar to splash myself awake and slapped myself a lot.

       I guess I really was an asshole.

       Why did I forget that it was snowing on your side of the world, that I forgot to tell you to take care of yourself and dress up, that I didn’t even say a word to you?

       I’m sorry.

       I didn’t know you were still thinking about me and I was especially happy.

       I still love you very, very much.

       Even if you annoy me in the future, let me stay by your side.

       I was on the verge of deep sleep and thought these were dreams, so I just responded vaguely.

       It turned out to be real.

       Our hidden problems that had been building up for years were only there because we each thought we would get tired of each other and were afraid that the other one would abandon us.

       We probably need a wedding.

       Only when the two people’s fetters and entanglements were engraved in black and white could we truly feel at ease.

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Chapter 3

       Later, he bought me a notebook1computer notebook.

       At the time, it was one of the best-configured ones.

       I heard that his family was relatively well-off. I was only from a middle-class family, and to buy a computer of that price would have required my parents to save up three or four months’ salary.

       But even if he was the son of the richest man who was in incognito, I couldn’t ask him for such valuable things for nothing. Moreover, he was not the one who should be responsible for the loss of the computer.

       I insisted. He said, Okay, but you can keep the computer first and return the money whenever you want.

       I just remember that I had saved money for a long time, and on the day I saved enough, I gave him the money, and he confessed to me.

       The development of computers changed rapidly, but I used the notebook for the last three years of university and the first two years of my working life.

       Xie Chenmin once asked me abruptly, why I didn’t change it, and if it was because he had given it to me that I couldn’t throw it away.

       I said because it was too expensive.

       After I had squeezed all its worth out of it, the computer sat in my drawer gathering dust.


       Xie Chenmin turned down a pointless dinner party tonight and said he wanted to go home early in the evening.

       The beautiful female colleague joked, What’s the matter? Is there someone waiting at home?

       He smiled without saying a word, and just waved the ring on his hand.

       I saw that the girl’s smile stiffened a bit. No one told her why Manager Xie had a wedding ring on his hand.

       He said, My spouse is waiting for me.

       But no one was waiting for him at home except a dog, and he didn’t come home.

       He went to the bar.

       I saw him sitting alone in a white shirt, his shadow stretched long by the flashing neon lights, but unable to dye its blackness.

       I saw many people coming and going around him. Everyone here was wearing a smiling mask, and often hiding not a heart but an obvious purpose underneath the false face.

       Xie Chenmin said that he didn’t like this kind of place because he didn’t like such people.

       I watched him chatting and laughing, ordering a 12-year-old Chivas Regal for every beautiful woman that sat next to him, and then watched them leave for various reasons.

       He even allowed someone to hook their arms around his shoulders or said something enticing and sweet.

       I didn’t know what to feel, I seemed to be like a third wheel.

       I was already a third wheel.

       A blob of unnecessary additional conscious air in the world.

       Before the girl took his arm, she glanced at the ring on his hand with a qualm. Perhaps as she thought of what kind of excitement the two were pursuing, the uncomfortable expression turned into a smile.

       Xie Chenmin called for a reserved car and asked the girl where she lived. He let her hold him and got into the car.

       So that’s how it was.

       Why bother, I shouldn’t be more sentimental.

       This man at least made me believe in the dream of holding hands with someone and seeing them for the rest of my life, so I should be satisfied, why bother with reality?

       But why didn’t you tell me?

       I would not say no anyway. It was like agreeing to you a risky and brave beginning without thinking about the consequences.


       His roommate said that Xie Chenmin stayed with me longer than with them. At 11 pm straight, they rushed back calmly with the scolding of the dormitory aunt.

       They blamed me for corrupting their Min ge, and condemned me to treat them to dinner as compensation.

       How could they blame me for that? I didn’t ask him to do it.

       As soon as teacher Cheng gave out homework, almost all my nights after 7 pm were given to the evening study first.

       Sometimes when I didn’t have time to eat, I would give him a call, and after wiring the money to him, I would get an exclusive takeaway meal that didn’t require an errand fee.

       As if the delivery guy didn’t have to study at night, he would not leave after delivering the meal, but would stay next to me and boast about the awesome new computer he had bought me, or look at the code on the screen, and sometimes ask a few questions in a studious manner.

       Sometimes he’d ask me a few questions, like “What’s this thing?” and “What are you doing?”

       I answered him seriously, and he played with his phone seriously.

       I said, You can go ahead if you have something to do.

       He said, I am quite free.

       I said, I am interfering with your open mic game.

       He said, It’s okay, I’ll teach you how to play together.

       I said, Get lost.

       Then he would go and buy a couple of cokes and come back and continue to sit next to me.

       Sometimes we talked endlessly about anything. Or he would tell me stories about him and his mom, and I learned that she was a single parent.

       Occasionally he taught me how to play mobile games, and after I deliberately dragged him down a rank, this situation never happened again.

       He said I was the most rigid senior he had ever met and that my university life was all about studying.


       So it made sense for me to drag on doing my homework until that late.

       Every time I closed my computer, the time was 20:50. All the bicycles outside to grab were all covered, so I asked him from the East Campus if he was okay.

       He said, I’m okay, I’ll send Senior a message when I get back to the dormitory.

       I went back, clicked on the voice with the little red dot, and could usually hear his panting background voice mixed with the scolding of the dormitory aunty.

       I didn’t know why, but I was happy to hear him being scolded.

       I always laughed without realising it.

       A few girls in my class asked me why this handsome little brother was so infatuated.

       I said probably because the unpaid money for the computer was still in my hand.


       I didn’t know exactly when I became dependent on his on-call takeaway.

       Sometimes if he didn’t text me for a day, I would click on that little green icon and take a look.

       He would take a video and send me a voice message if he had nothing to do. He talked with so much fun that it made you couldn’t help but laugh. Then I would click to listen and laugh again.

       He usually filmed the little daily routines in the dorm, and he lived like he was at home everywhere he went. His three very close roommates would greet me when they met me on the road, and said, “Hello, senior”.

       Later, it became “Hello, Lin ge”, they said because Xie Chenmin warned them that he was the only one who could call me Senior.

       They started a group chat without Xie Chenmin and dragged me into it, and then they complained every day that this Min ge was a sick person.

       I couldn’t help laughing all the time—originally, people around me were always teasing me that I couldn’t have this kind of expression.

       I probably just haven’t met such funny people.


       The girl said, What kind of fun does a handsome guy do?

       He laughed, Driving2it’s a dirty joke of sending(driving) your seeds(semen) everywhere. ahead.

       The girl laughed too, Handsome guy, stop acting, you came out to do something novel behind your wife’s back, but you still mind this.

       He spun the diamond ring on his hand and let the girl wrap her arms around his waist as he said, Do you have experience?

       The girl said, Yes, I have.

       He said, Are you not afraid of getting sick?

       The girl froze for a moment as if it was the first time she had heard someone so blatantly lay out the obscure and difficult words, and wondered, Why do you ask that, you don’t have one, do you?

       He shook his head and said faintly, I don’t.

       The girl said, How do you know?

       He said, I checked.

       The girl burst out laughing, and the flashy city lights almost turned into phantoms through the car window, reflected on her pretty face.

       She said, What are you doing checking this out for nothing? Something is fishy.

       Xie Chenmin just laughed.


       His roommate said that he had gone to the pub yesterday and hadn’t come back all night and asked me if I knew where Min ge had gone.

       I was still in class when I glanced at my phone inadvertently and caught a glimpse of this message.

       I was surprised and immediately got back to them.

       I said, I don’t know, yesterday was fine.

       I looked through the message records with him and yesterday ended with him addressing me in one line—Senior.

       Nothing more.

       I was not surprised, he was often like this. When I asked him what was wrong, he was always talking about trivial things like the weather was fine today.

       They told me that Xie Chenmin had a fight with someone yesterday.

       I asked, Why?

       His roommate said that he was listening to a presentation on mental health education for university students yesterday and the main speaker mentioned homosexuality.

       I didn’t know why the eyelids twitch slightly, then I asked, What happened then?

       The teacher holds a neutral attitude and advises students with this tendency to protect themselves.

       The teacher was very open-minded and objective, but such a sensitive subject was bound to attract some sharp comments.

       His roommate said that a few boys were whispering underneath, that homosexuals were perverts and that men and men were a disgusting sorry of an excuse for their parents and so on, and let Xie Chenmin hear them.

       I had six dots inside me3his heart felt like ……

       I was the kind of person who was very slow to the eyes and opinions of the outside world. Even if others pointed at my nose and called me stupid, as long as I knew who I am in my heart, I wouldn’t care for even a second.

       His roommate said that he felt that Min ge had that tendency.

       I could not laugh or cry, and asked, How do you feel about it?

       They said Min ge was being too good to me. Only those who lived in the same dormitory knew that Min ge hung up the words “Senior Lin Chu” on his lips every day and even bought back a bunch of tutorials on C, JAVA and Python that he couldn’t understand, telling them that he would definitely get them a sister-in-law who knew programming and that people who knew this stuff were really great.

       They also joked that then Min ge would be alone for life.

       They didn’t think anything of it at first, but the boys in the class were whispering that they were embarrassed by Xie Chenmin’s bland words, and they mentioned me.

       They said, Come on Xie Chenmin, why pretend to be an objective passerby? It’s not like we don’t know that you’re gay with that guy from the computer science department.

       Then afterwards Xie Chenmin was on fire.

       They said it wasn’t that they were being unrighteous and bad-mouthing their brother, but they really thought that Xie Chenmin was interested in me.

       I didn’t know what I felt in my heart, it was a bit like I was choked when swallowing my heartbeat, and a piece of flesh and blood jumped up and down in my throat.

       I was not surprised, but inexplicably felt very nervous.

       I said, Okay, I’ll go and find him.

       I found a valid reason and sent a message.

       Xie Chenmin, come to the third floor of restaurant number four, I’ll pay you back for the computer.

       After three minutes, he said, OK.

       When I arrived he was buying milk tea. Two large cups with ice.

       Restaurant number four was almost empty around ten in the morning, so we went to the lounge bar in the corner to sit.

       It was the most luxuriously decorated of all the restaurants on campus, so it wasn’t a bad place for a young couple to go out on a date.

       He handed me a cup of milk tea, sat opposite, plugged in a straw, and said, Is transferring money directly from WeChat to Alipay no good?

       I said, What were you doing at the bar yesterday?

       The pearls in his milk tea were stuck in the straw.

       He was silent for a moment and continued to finish the sip and said, Going to play.

       I said, You told me you didn’t like that kind of place.

       He said, I just went to see and drink some wine, and I didn’t chat with anyone. Besides, bars are not synonymous with illegal places. It’s okay for young people to relax there. You, a backward veteran cadre, need to reform your thinking.

       I asked why.

       He said, I said I was just going to have a look and a drink.

       The ice and pearls in the milk tea were moving because of me, and I asked directly, Are you interested in me?

       Xie Chenmin said, Senior, you are going to die of narcissism.

       I looked at him with his head bowed as he absently shook the milk tea with a straw and said, Can you look at others when you talk?

       He said, I’m listening, I’m just a little suspicious that she put fewer pearls for me.

       I interrupted him, Xie Chenmin.

       He said, En.

       I didn’t continue to say anything, I took out a large amount of cash, which was rarely seen nowadays from my schoolbag, pushed it to him, and said, I’m still used to paying in cash for large amounts of money, I’m really sorry, I thought I should really reform my thinking.

       He looked at the pile of money and stopped shaking the straw.

       I said, I’ll send the remainder to your Alipay, all right, I’m good with it.

       I got up and threw down the words, I’m leaving.

       He called out to me, as he usually does, and called me back with a ‘Senior’.

       I said, The weather is fine today. What else can I do for you?

       Xie Chenmin said, I really just went to have a drink, nothing else.

       I sat down angrily, rested my hands on the sides of the table and said, You really don’t know what I’m asking you?

       Xie Chenmin said, I know.

       Before I could say anything else, he confessed himself and said, I dreamt that I gave myself away to you Senior, and I woke up feeling it.

       The six dots I had in my mind were multiplied by two.

       He said, I thought it was a little weird because I had a girlfriend in high school.

       I said, Then you might be a bi.

       He said, I’m not kidding, Senior.

       Both of us fell silent as I put in my milk tea straw and started to drink slowly.

       He broke the silence and said abruptly, I like you Lin Chu, do you want to try it with me?

       I didn’t answer and just continued drinking milk tea.

       After not getting an actual answer for a long time, his heart seemed to grey out inch by inch. He smiled and sighed, and said, Oh my, why should I say it.

       I also suddenly said, How can I say yes if you don’t say anything.

       He widened his eyes and looked at me in amazement.

       I said, In the future, if there is anything to say to me, just tell me directly. No need to cover it up, have I rejected you for anything?

       He said, You said no to my computer.

       I said, Get lost.


       That day, we kissed on the third floor of restaurant number four and we were so focused that we spilt the milk tea on the table. We impulsively and youthfully practised the first attempt countless times.

       The next day he told me, Let’s do it, Senior. I went to the hospital specifically to check, I do not have a sexually transmitted disease, and will not infect you.

       And thinking he was romantic, he went on to add principally, I’ll sleep with you alone from now on, donate blood to a regular hospital, no tattoos or tattoos, and take care of myself.

       My heart went from six dots multiplied by three.

       Could it be that this guy was a fool?

       He told their roommates about being with me that day, and the three of them were supportive, except for the fact that they thought Min ge was a little too fast.

       They had planned to form a group to go out for kebabs that day.

       Everyone in the group posted a cheer for the seniors and Lin ge loves kidneys plus some facial emojis packs.

       Me, six dots by four.

       This was not a bunch of fools.

       These were really birds of a feather flocking together.


       We were in his dorm starting at 9 pm and tossing and turning for more than an hour. I was in so much pain the first time that I shed a few tears midway through and let him block the corners of my eyes and kiss away the tears.

       Still young and inexhaustible, we made his sheets and bedding wrinkled and dirty.

       He stayed in my body and won’t go. When he fell down and came to rest, he said to me, Senior, don’t just try this, let’s be together also, okay?

       I said, I have never rejected you.

       And added a sentence, Except for the computer.

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