Author: Dong Mi
Translator: chiangyushien, Renkun27
No matter the joys and sorrows of the world, the rise and fall, success or failure, the moon would always shine fairly upon everyone.
Haiqing was lying on the bed. He was gazing at the moon outside the window, and he slowly felt that being immersed into it was no different than the past.
It was so annoying.
Haiqing had been feeling uneasy since he came home. Although his tears had stopped, his mood could not recover. He screamed loudly at Pinjun, cried and ran away from the campus, and locked himself up in his room after he went home without saying a word. All kinds of derailed behaviors made Haiqing feel powerless.
It seemed that everything was out of control today.
He was like a derailed train, unable to reverse a desperate situation. When he lost control of his life, he tried hard to turn the tide around, but he made things worse… Haiqing was very disgusted with his own behavior. On the contrary, he was more surprised at the enormous negative emotion that he did not spit out.
He was so tired.
He closed his eyes and slowly calmed down under the quiet and gentle moonlight. His body’s exhaustion finally forced his panic down, and his consciousness briefly fleeted under the embrace of the moon’s halo.
Haiqing slowly sat up and the frustration in his eyes became clear and bright.
He moved the easel from his studio into his room and the moonlight flowed in again after he closed the door. During the time when his consciousness fleeted away, a touch of beautiful and sad dark blue fell into his dream, and the excitement that filled his chest made him want to record it while the feeling was still deep.
He did not add pencil outlines anymore. Haiqing directly used paint on the canvas. He did not rely on the specifications of the outlines anymore. He painted the rouse inside his heart, reflecting the dark blue and the black that appeared intertwining in the depths of his eyes alternately, and finally mixing together.
Pinjun felt his phone vibrating in his pocket. He looked at the dining area and after he saw that there were no guests. He took his phone out of his pocket and looked at it. I’m going to take the exam tomorrow. Would you like to come and cheer me on? I’m waiting for you at the shaved ice shop.
Just a few brief words had made Pinjun finally let go of the big stone in his heart. He looked at the time and there was still five minutes before his shift ends. He looked at the store manager and glanced at the dining area. Finally, he could not help but run to the store manager and said that he had an urgent matter so he wanted to leave work five minutes early. He would make it up tomorrow. The store manager had always been taking care of Pinjun as his younger brother. A trivial matter like this five minutes was certainly something that could be approved right away.
“Thank you, Store Manager!” Shouted Pinjun while rushing to the lounge. In less than a minute, he took off his uniform, grabbed his bag and jacket then ran out. His speed was so quick that it dumbfounded the store manager.
“What’s so urgent?” The store manager wryly smiled and ridiculed him.
Pinjun rode on his scooter to the shaved ice shop. The afternoon sun was a lot weaker than it was during the day so his eyesight was relatively unaffected. Thanks to this, Pinjun only spent half the time reaching the shaved ice shop. He parked his scooter carefully and took his helmet off. After Pinjun took a few deep breaths, he walked neither too fast nor too slow into the store. Pinjun noticed that Haiqing suddenly stood up and it took all his strength to suppress the feelings of longing for this moment.
“One bowl of mixed shaved ice, thank you.”
The shop owner was very fast. He immediately made a bowl of shaved ice, poured condensed milk on it, and added various ingredients on top of the brown sugar shaved ice, then handed it over to Pinjun.
Pinjun took the shaved ice bowl and went to Haiqing’s table then asked, “Can I share the table with you?”
“All the tables here are empty.” Haiqing answered with a hoarse voice. His tone seemed that he still was somewhat peeved.
“Okay! Then I’ll go and sit at another table.”
When Haiqing saw that, after Pinjun finished his sentence, he really turned around and was going to sit at the other table, Haiqing could not help but shout “Hey” and offensively stare at him from bottom to top. This made Pinjun smile. He should have known earlier that Haiqing was such a person. He was stubborn and did not admit defeat, yet he needed more care than others.
“So, you can’t eat my pudding.” Pinjun laughed hard. He deliberately swayed the bowl down and swayed it left and right, letting the pudding tremble at the top.
“You’re so annoying, sit down.” Haiqing pulled the chair next to him. Pinjun happily smiled and sat down, but he did not take the initiative to talk anymore. Both ate their shaved ice silently. Haiqing wanted to speak but he did not know how to start the conversation. He was already used to Pinjun’s gentleness and pampering, but he was not used to taking the initiative to apologize. He could only use his actions to express his hope to be acknowledged, like an awkward child.
Although Pinjun was bowing his head while eating his shaved ice, he did not lose sight of any minute details of Haiqing’s actions, including when his own pudding was being dug away by Haiqing with a spoon. After a burst of laughter, Pinjun was still the first to be soft-hearted.
“You’ve eaten all my pudding,” he said with a smile.
“That’s because you will have to pay it for me! That’s my pudding!” After that, Haiqing went on talking about how he forgot that before when they watched a movie, Pinjun bought pudding to repay him. This kind of forgetfulness only felt as a bit awkwardness in Pinjun’s ears.
The scene on that day flashed through his mind. Obviously, it was the first time they had met each other, but their interaction was as if they had known each other for a long time. It could not make Pinjun angry even when he wanted to. Suddenly, he felt that Haiqing was so childish when he was sulking a few days ago.
“Childish .” He smiled then he scooped the last pudding and gave it to Haiqing.
“I’m a fourth-year student.” Haiqing groaned a few times, and bluntly stuffed the pudding directly into his mouth. The two of them looked and smiled at each other side by side, with only the greatest of care and shyness after the end of the cold war.
( Pinjun called Haiqing「中二」which literally refers to the “eight-grade disease.” This is common amongst 14-year-old boys. This simply means something 8th-grade boys mostly do in order to try to surpass others, but it also means someone who pretends to know how the world works in spite of being a kid, or someone who pretends to be special far from others. Meanwhile, they might get cocky all of a sudden, or ironically look down on adults. In Japan, we call it「中二病」or chūnibyō. Haiqing justified that he was already in his fourth year of high school so this so-called disease shouldn’t apply to him.)
“Have you finished your painting?” Pinjun still remembered how much pressure Haiqing had today.
“Yeah! I already submitted it!” Haiqing answered loudly like a child just like when the teacher asks if the students were obedient or not, and the students answered cutely.
“Did you take a better look at the examination venue? Are there any toilets and have you clearly checked if there’s an emergency route or not?”
“Why the heck should I check on the emergency route?” Haiqing did not take note of the classroom’s setup. He only roughly walked around the campus once. Even the toilet on that floor did not even leave a deep impression on him whether which side it was situated.
Pinjun raised his eyebrow. “In case of an earthquake, if there’d be so many people, you would know where to run.”
Haiqing was amused by his serious expression and could not help but laugh out loud.
“There are so many people. It would be best to run away at that time!” Haiqing frowned as he spoke because the ice in his mouth constantly attacked his teeth and fragile gums. The sharp, icy air rushed into his nose. “Don’t make me laugh all the time. My nose hurts.” He covered his nose then yelled.
“When you eat ice, you should open your mouth and breathe out.” Pinjun laughed and pinched his nose.
Haiqing knitted his eyebrows and revealed a puzzled look.
Pinjun looked at his wooden expression, then he directly opened his mouth to breathe out. “Like this! Breathe out. Do you still feel it? This way, your nose won’t hurt.”
Haiqing dubiously followed him, and found that the coldness of the ice really did not rush into his nose. He could not help but praise him with a surprised look. Pinjun was proud of this. He snorted a few times then confidently said, “Who do you think I am?”
“Have you forgotten who you are?” Haiqing also did not yield to his opponent. He answered Pinjun with clear and logical nonsense, “You’re my grandfather’s other grandson!”
After that, Pinjun laughed first. Haiqing became infected by his laughter so he also laughed with Pinjun. Their laughter made their image return to the day when they ate shaved ice together for the first time—without any disagreement—just happy and splendid laughter.
Haiqing’s laughter gradually subsided and his expression slowly became serious. The pointless argument that they had reached a certain peak so that it finally came to a stop.
From Haiqing’s lips, the words “Pinjun” slipped out. With a spoiled tone to curry the other’s favor he continued, “I’m sorry. I was too fierce that day.” He quietly reached out and gently grasped Pinjun’s wrist. “I was under too much pressure, sorry.”
When Haiqing was apologizing, he stared straight at Pinjun. Originally, he expected Pinjun would say “That’s all right” or laugh at him and say, “So this pressure is too much.” He had spent a lot of time preparing himself, so it was okay even if he was scolded. However, Haiqing waited for three seconds, five seconds, and still, Pinjun did not respond.
With doubts, Haiqing frowned, but he noticed that Pinjun’s eyes, which were looking straight at him, became red in an instant.
“What’s wrong? I already said sorry to you. Don’t be angry.” This development had caught Haiqing by surprise. Why did Pinjun cry when he apologized?
It was supposed to be him who should cry. He was the one who did something wrong! “Don’t cry…” Pinjun puckered his mouth and his nose began to turn red.
“No one has ever talked to me like that.” Pinjun frowned and complained to him. “What kind of person would do that? When they are stressed, they vent out their anger on others. It hurt me and made me cry for two classes that afternoon. I also had to ask for some tissue paper from the next room. It’s very embarrassing. Do you know how embarrassing it was?” He grabbed the tissue paper on the table and pressed it on his eyes. His actions looked exaggerated and aggrieved.
Haiqing was really nervous at first. After all, he did something wrong. He was afraid and anxious that Pinjun would not accept his apologies. So, when he saw his eyes become red in an instant, his heart skipped half a beat. However, Pinjun’s voice became louder and louder, and his sobbing did not sound so real. Haiqing’s emotions gradually subsided, and at the same time, another emotion slowly expanded in Haiqing’s chest.
Pinjun was undoubtedly a gentle person. Haiqing knew that he deliberately used this exaggerated performance to make the scene less tense and serious. He even changed to be more selfish. Perhaps, Pinjun was already not angry earlier, but he had no better way to accept it. He had to tease Haiqing to smile. If he smiled, the issue would just die out. Maybe, Haiqing also felt his eyes tingle, taking a deep breath while swallowing hard to hold the tears back.
“I didn’t even dare to call you again. I was afraid that you won’t like it…”
The more Pinjun talked, the more that he was addicted. He even made it more dramatic than before. Haiqing was like a collection of his paintings that he carefully and attentively cherished.
The warmth in his chest gradually warmed up his limbs, and after being cared for and loved by this person, he still felt unsatisfied for a long time, so he picked up a spoon and fished a little portion of the shaved ice and ingredients, then stuffed them directly into Pinjun’s mouth.
“You, why are you like this… Hey, what are you…” In the face of a sudden attack, Pinjun could only bite the spoon by reflex. As for the words that he wanted to utter in the first place, they were now changed into a groan. The melancholy that once shrouded Haiqing’s eyes had vanished. The moment that Haiqing found out what Pinjun was doing, his tenderness and warmth re-occupied the window of his soul.
The old Haiqing came back. Pinjun also smiled and squinted.
“Eat your shaved ice. Don’t say a word anymore.” Haiqing gave out a strong overbearing order. “I said I’m sorry. Hurry up and eat your shaved ice. Don’t make a fuss about it. Accompany me to the exams at seven o’clock tomorrow morning. If you don’t come, I won’t take it. I will call you and rant to you, do you hear me?” After that, he suddenly patted Pinjun’s arm, and his intimacy was accurately conveyed through such short contact. Although tomorrow would be the real crisis, Haiqing felt that the pressure and nightmares that had plagued him for several days seemed to be less scary.
Pinjun swallowed the shaved ice into his belly and kept the spoon in the cheek side of his mouth.
“Childish!” Haiqing swore at him mercilessly.
“I’m already a sophomore in college!”