I once heard the oath of the youth who did not know the height of the sky.
He said, I will love you for the rest of my life.
I asked, How are you going to love?
He said, If you arrive at Naihe Bridge, don’t rush to drink the soup, wait for me to go over, and stubbornly kiss you in front of Granny Meng1Naihe Bridge is a place where people must pass through reincarnation in Chinese folk mythology. There will be an elderly female deity called Granny Meng by the Naihe Bridge who will give each ghost a bowl of soup to forget the memory of the past life.
That would be a kiss longer than a lifetime.
I said, How do you know I’ll go before you.
He jokingly said, You’ve been staying up late and typing codes all day long. Your liver has probably dried up, you would probably die earlier than me.
Then the brief oath ended when I kicked him off the computer desk.
If he had dared to do so, probably Granny Meng would not have let us both have a good birth, and he would cry if we were reborn as a cat and a dog who have to procreate differently.
The city was a pit of the merciful poisonous pot, allowing the weaker bugs to languish in a small corner, without having to see and participate in the essential natural selection.
I was an ordinary programmer with no talent, and I thought a corner like this would be enough. Not busy, not idle, but I could still smack a little bit of happiness that even ordinary people deserved to have.
I thought I was ordinary enough to be able to meet him for a lifetime, I thought I was ordinary enough to work until I retired, and I thought I was so ordinary that the odds were one in a million that I would be separated from him.
I thought I was so ordinary that death was far away from me.
At least I had gone as far as to plan to hold his hands for a lifetime and watch after all the life I’ve been through left in the memo book afterward.
But I died before our wedding.
I shouldn’t have believed in fictional nonsense.
In fact, death was very painful, although it was only for a very short moment, the pain at that moment was piercing.
The remaining pain was so vivid that I forgot that I was dead.
Until I saw him standing in front of my grave with a black umbrella, silent like he was just another statue.
He didn’t even buy a new set of suits. I personally went with him to the old suit shop where the doorplate was overlaid by the years to get it custom made.
I saw my parents throw their umbrellas and grab onto his collar as if they were losing their minds, and the groom’s Hardanger embroidery2Hardanger embroidery or “Hardangersøm” is a form of embroidery traditionally worked with white thread on white even-weave linen or cloth, using counted thread and drawn thread work techniques. It is sometimes called whitework embroidery. was grasped until it twisted.
My parents never agreed to our marriage from beginning to end, and no one knew how much effort it had taken for me to bring him to meet them.
Now those efforts had gone to waste, and my tombstone erected under the rain. It turned out that I followed to be with him, and I died.
It didn’t make sense at all. I died in a car accident and it had nothing to do with being with him.
But you couldn’t force a parent who had just lost a son to be calm and rational, and it probably took all their strength just to grab the only culprit they had to pour out their grief, anger, and hatred with their thin, bony arms.
Except for me, all the people that were present here were pitiful.
I couldn’t see his expression, only his long and lonely back in the curtain of rain.
I could guess he was saying sorry.
I couldn’t touch anything. The difference between me and the air was probably that I still have some consciousness.
However, the numbness left by the excruciating pain that washed away my nerves didn’t dissipate for days. I couldn’t remember my name and his name.
He stayed at the funeral site under the rain, and by the time the cleaning staff arrived, he had probably already cleaned up everything he could.
The staff called his name, “We are sorry that our lateness has caused you unnecessary trouble, and we are also saddened by the passing of your loved one, so we would exempt you from part of the funeral expenses, Mr. Xie Chenmin.”
My name was Lin Chu, and his name was Xie Chenmin.
I was wearing my Student Council Supervision Departement’s badge and went to clean up the mess of students fighting over a game on an indoor basketball court when I met an enthusiastic student who took the initiative to help clean up the mess.
I said, “Hello, fellow student, thank you for your support for the work of the school’s student council. In order to give you some encouragement, we would like to give a notice of praise at the official online bulletin. What’s your name?”
He smiled and said, “Xie Chenmin, Business Administration Class 1, Year 19.”
I slowly lowered my head and scrolled through the announcements on my phone—it was written on the front side that, according to the students on the scene, the student who deliberately provoked the dispute with words was mainly one person, the captain of the basketball team of Business Administration Class 1, Year 19, Xie Chenmin.
That’s probably how the three words were pronounced, and it was unlikely for this class to coincidentally have two identical names.
After the fight, he actually stayed here calmly and helped the student council clean up the mess in the booth. This was the first time it happened during my two years as an officer.
But what I would remember about him was what he said when he pointed his fingers at me after he had been reprimanded and meekly admitted his mistake—”Don’t forget, you officers are going to give me notice for praise, I took a recording of it.”
I was scolded by the head of the department for this.
All in all, at first sight, he did not leave me with any glimpse of a good impression.
I remembered now.
I tried to call out his name again, but nothing came out.
I was dead. The greatest mercy God could give me was that my soul remained on earth and could still watch over him. There was no reason why I should have the five organ senses and sixth senses of a normal human being.
He returned home. If it could be called home at all.
We raised an american eskimo3 and he named it Lin Zhaocai.
I couldn’t understand why he had to use my surname, and a name in earthy tones4the dog’s name Lin(Wood/Forest), Zhaocai(inviting wealth/success) while the colour of the dog is white, but he had been calling it that way for five years.
Zhaocai hurriedly wagged its tail and came over to meet him. Zhaocai had to climb on his lap to get a pat before it would come down, and then stood there and continued to wag its unflattering tail, looking in the direction of the door.
It was waiting for me.
It thought the only way to welcome the homeowner was to get two pats on the head.
Probably because it hadn’t waited yesterday, or the day before, or the day before that, it was persistent this time. It was tilting its head towards the door and resting its head on its paws as it waited for me.
Xie Chenmin went alone from the living room to the bedroom, the bathroom to the kitchen. The lights in the room were shining alternately in the dark city night, but Zhaocai was still lying there motionless.
He put on his slippers, came over and handed Zhaocai its personal rice bowl, and said, “Zhaocai, stop looking, let’s eat.”
Zhaocai looked up at him, and the light gave its puzzled obsidian eyes a few twinkling stars.
It whimpered miserably.
It seemed to be asking him—what about the other person, why did he disappear, where did he go, and you pissed him off again, didn’t you?
Xie Chenmin still didn’t say anything, and he didn’t deliberately think deeply about what a barking dog was trying to convey.
Zhaocai was afraid that he would not understand, so he stood up and barked a few more times.
He knew that Zhaocai was afraid of the dark, so he put his hand on the switch of the door light.
He said, “If you don’t eat, I’ll turn off the lights.”
“If you don’t eat, I’ll unplug the power.”
This was one of the most frequent things he said to me in college.
For a coder, facing a pile of unsaved code and a man with his hand on the power plug was a miserable and inhuman nightmare.
Xie Chenmin gave me this nightmare every day.
As I traced the nightmare back to its source, I had to question myself every day, why did I continue to be responsible for Xie Chenmin’s follow-up affairs in order to atone for my past sins?
He told me that he didn’t do it on purpose, but that the opposite party was always playing dirty tricks and injuring their teammates by playing fouls that somehow still followed the rules, so he was angry.
Only the devil would believe his bullshit.
Business Administration was a famous major in our university. Countless top students had smashed their heads and squeezed to get admitted here.
Following my parents’ compulsive wishes, I entered this promising major and then transferred to the department with the first rank in the major.
There was a ‘phoenix tail5meaning that the major is not the worst, may better than nothing, but is not wanted by majority‘ major that every prestigious school has.
For our university, it was Computer Science.
My father was so angry that he bought a plane ticket and came over that day.
He, the handsome guy who was flashing his shiny management department ID was still haunting me who was one year older and in a different department from him.
He said he admired me as a senior.
I was munching on the meal he had brought for me and was thinking that his taste was too heavy.
He said that he had no ideals, and thought that people with ideals were amazing. So he thought my story of bravely changing departments was really awesome.
I chewed down meals that were salty enough to separate the walls of my body.
I couldn’t tell him that I didn’t really have any aspirations and that I had actually switched departments to let my parents know how amazing I am.
And that I could also decide on my own life.