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.”

       “Okay.”

       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 f/cking 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 f/ck 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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