I used to live in reality, and then I met you at dorm room 501’s door.
For a moment, I thought the sun blinded my eyes and mind.
Because from then on, you brought me into the fairy tales.
How did that come about? The bright glow was seeping in from everywhere, and you were standing in my line of sight.
An Ziyan! I called your name, then what should be done? I love your words so much, what should I say first?
— Mai Ding
For countless times, malicious words were used to describe time. It could be aloof and indifferent, and with the continuous flow of contempt for human insignificance, it just needed to pass by your grace. It was changing. It was really terrible. Only children would want time to go faster. Mai Ding, who was no longer a child, knitted his eyebrows while pondering over this problem. He tapped his fingers on the desk, looking deep in thought. The student next to Mai Ding, who was considered to be beyond redemption, was lying on the table sleeping. In the morning, Mai Ding woke him up with great difficulty, and he fell asleep again in the classroom.
“An Ziyan, don’t you have any shame?!” Mai Ding finally could not help but scold An Ziyan for not conforming with the healthy and positive image of the flowers of the motherland. Even if the two had been together for some time, there were still no terms of endearment or anything like that.
“But I only said one sentence, and you think it’s noisy? It’s gonna be the internship soon. You must feel a little nervous!”
“Feeling nervous is what a moron like you requires.”
Mai Ding was not convinced. He crossed his hands and said, “I’m serious about the employment problem. With an honest and diligent person like me, in the future, maybe a lot of companies would even compete for me. I’m very worried about you. Don’t be discouraged and become a delinquent youth.” Mai Ding, as if he could predict the future, looked at An Ziyan with sympathetic eyes.
An Ziyan looked up, holding his face with his hands: “Competing for you? If it wasn’t for me who accepted you reluctantly, you would have been taken away by the worn-out collection .”
“I’m not rubbish!!”
“Who says you’re rubbish.”
“That’s the same.”
“I obviously said you’re worn-out.”
( An Ziyan used 破烂 which could also mean “rubbish.”)
“You…” His eloquence, no matter how much he improved, he could not outspeak An Ziyan. Mai Ding could not reconcile. There was no way he could reconcile. He returned to the topic: “What are you planning to do?” It was only a matter of seconds when this question was raised. He continued speaking: “Don’t be a writer. You see those ghost films. A lot of writers are looking for inspiration in deserted places. As a result, you mustn’t get schizophrenic or mustn’t die in a tragic death.”
“Thank you for your valuable suggestion,” An Ziyan ridiculed.
“Don’t mention it. Helping you on your way to life’s also the right thing for me to do.” Mai Ding was not able to make sense that what he heard was ridicule. He continued speaking: “I’ve been hoping to do some contribution to the motherland.”
“Your disappearance from the motherland is the greatest contribution to the motherland.”
“Seriously, I used to want to be a policeman when I was little.” He recalled his childhood composition.
An Ziyan’s face was expressionless as he squinted at Mai Ding: “Don’t drag down the national detection rate.”
“Don’t drag down the country’s technological progress.”
“Don’t drag down the national education level.”
“Do I still have a little bit of value in your eyes?”
An Ziyan looked away, making Mai Ding even more furious: “You, why don’t you answer me!?”
They were already fourth-year university students, yet An Ziyan still did not know how to change, and the same goes for Mai Ding.
Back home from school, Mai Ding impatiently rushed toward the computer. They could already start their internship during the second half of their fourth year. Because it was mentioned in class today to find a place of work for their internship, Mai Ding also followed the urgency. He browsed through recruitment sites, and the more that he looked, the more that he lost hope. The better companies were almost always hiring those with work experience and a high degree. Who would hire a novice intern? He was discouraged as he went to the living room. He went straight ahead toward An Ziyan, who was reading while lying on the couch, then said: “My future’s gloomy ah.”
“Why are you saying what I already know?”
“You cursed me every day to make me like this.” Mai Ding put the blame on An Ziyan.
“I was kind enough to make you realize it.”
I can’t afford your kindness.” Mai Ding sat beside An Ziyan and continued with his own depression. From time to time, he would look at An Ziyan with grievances. He really envied his leisurely attitude. Was he not afraid to starve and die of poverty? He must not be afraid. His rich parents were in the back waiting for him to chew it, shameful. This was absolutely Mai Ding’s jealousy mentality, but he then thought, he and An Ziyan were married; therefore, his rich parents were also his own rich parents. He was, indeed, a good student.
Lost in his thoughts, Mai Ding began thinking about his employment again. An Ziyan moved the book away from his face and saw Mai Ding’s depressed face. He sat up, with the book covering his face: “How about this, I’ll pay you a yuan a day, then you’ll help me with my work?”
“I’ll pay you two yuan, how about you singing praises to me every day?!” Mai Ding retorted.
An Ziyan did not continue to ridicule: “What kind of work do you want to do?”
“Any job will do, as long as it would make me shine.”
An Ziyan really did not want to talk with him anymore, but he said: “Be specific.”
“What can an intern choose nowadays? I want to take advantage of accumulating work experience before graduating, to see what it’s like to enter the society, and then find a stable job after graduation. But now, the student interns don’t seem to have much work practice.”
“Do you think work is like takeaways?” Do you need it delivered at your doorstep today?” Mai Ding also understood what An Ziyan meant by his words. He was too anxious. He was afraid to find work. He was thinking a lot for his future. He could not see life as carefree as An Ziyan, because for Mai Ding, life was a serious matter. The difference of characters always existed, which was taken for granted. Some people look forward to meeting someone very similar to themselves, but this kind of thinking throws away the small probability aside. The same people staying together is a boring and tedious thing. The two of the same thing is still equal to one.
“But what if I can’t find a job in the future? What are you going to do?” Mai Ding’s tone was not small, because he could not judge what An Ziyan’s casually childish character could do. He could only rely on his own support in this family.
An Ziyan patted Mai Ding’s face, not the intimate action between lovers, but it was like the interaction between the top people and the bottom people in a mafia movie: “Are you thinking highly of yourself? You want to provide for me? Do you know my worth?” Mai Ding wanted to refute An Ziyan’s shameless words. He looked up at his appearance. Perhaps he should read the dictionary more. Mai Ding has exhausted all of the vocabularies in his own body to describe his attractiveness. His curled lips — he could not see whether it was in a chuckle or up to mischief. Mai Ding could not help but raise his hands, clinging to An Ziyan without warning. Love could easily make people yield. He said: “Well, you’re very expensive.”
“What are you doing? Let me go,” An Ziyan scolded.