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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