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 f/cking 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.

       Sorry.

       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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