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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