Author: Dong Mi
Translator: chiangyushien, Renkun27
It was unknown who said that as long as one sincerely prays for something, the whole universe would help him.
After the test, Haiqing spent a few days with fear and trepidation. During those past few days, Pinjun would come and accompany him as long as he had no class and work. As a result of his frequent visits to Haiqing’s house, he was perfectly integrated into the family. Grandpa even thought that he originally had two grandchildren.
Haiqing’s father, Shichen, was the only one who seemed to be lost in thought about Haiqing’s application for the art school.
What do you study in the art department? Aren’t you afraid of starving to death?
The tuition fee and other fees are very expensive. Have you ever considered how to pay for it?
After you graduate, what are you planning to do? Can you rely on this to support yourself in Taiwan?
He was afraid that Haiqing was only confused by the satisfaction and accomplishment brought about by painting, and that he forgot to consider the difficulties in the real life. Taking the university entrance exam was only the first step, and the days ahead were still very long and incredibly hard.
Shichen was a person who had suffered in the old days. It was easy to hope for his son to succeed in life, so he was unavoidably worried that his only son’s aspiration was actually art, which was an option that relied on talent to eat.
However, looking at the notice letters of admission in his hand, it proved that Haiqing’s hard work in preparing for the exams had been fulfilled in the end. As a father, he was unable to hide his pride for his son. However, he chose to put on the same face as before. These thoughts, fears, and happiness – he would not let Haiqing find out about them, including the fact that he had carefully pinched the application of passing the exam for several consecutive nights, as he laughed and drunk while celebrating; however, when he was in front of others, he was still the strict father.
One day, when it was almost Grandpa’s birthday, Haiqing and Pinjun booked a table in a restaurant for celebrating Grandpa’s birthday. In such a cheerful atmosphere, Shichen was no longer very reserved. After a few cups of millet wine, he exposed his smile from time to time.
Grandpa seemed to be completely liberated in a cheerful atmosphere and livened things up with karaoke. Not only did he sing a song on the stage, he even danced with Pinjun and Haiqing’s encouragement. The atmosphere seemed to be affected by the light’s reflection, and Haiqing certainly felt as if he saw the enthusiastic Grandpa when Grandpa was still young.
Haiqing was very happy.
However, Haiqing also regretted hosting this family reunion to celebrate his Grandpa’s birthday.
Compared with the previous few days, Haiqing was overjoyed to hear that he passed the university entrance exam; now, he was nothing but a walking corpse.
Although there were many things that were kept neatly and tidily, the living room was now an extreme mess. The beverage cans, snacks, and instant noodles bowls that were all emptied had been thrown randomly on the table and on the floor. If you paid no attention to it, it would be quite easy to accidentally kick them once you lift your foot. If you withdraw your foot back, you would kick another one. Like an abandoned child, Haiqing curled up in the chair where Grandpa often sat. He stretched his clothes until it almost covered his whole body. Only his ankles were exposed to the cold.
On the shrine table, there was a photo that stood out and a lit incense. Grandpa’s smile was as gentle and cheerful as before he passed away.
Haiqing turned and moved restlessly on the recliner, and no matter how he turned, he was not willing to face the shrine table. He did not want to face what had happened. Who would have thought that Grandpa would wander off again in the middle of the family gathering, then die in the park? Haiqing had no tears left to cry. His voice was hoarse, and his throat was sore because of crying; however, his bodily discomforts were far less severe than the emptiness he felt in his heart.
Grandpa was gone and his Dad was also going to leave him behind.
The bad news was like a snowball rolling down the mountain. Just a few days after his Grandpa passed away, his dad, Shichen, pulled him in the middle of the night and told him that the company’s assignment of him to go to the United States was moved to an earlier date. At first, he wanted to wait for a few days to pass before he would share the news to Haiqing; however, something big like this suddenly happened, so Shichen had no other option but to hold it out.
Previously, Haiqing had always felt bored watching the morning sports program on TV. Now, he had a strong desire to listen to the sounds of this program. The show’s host looks very young. Is he in his forties? No, maybe he’s already fifty years old. People who shows up on TV look younger than they really are. Grandpa’s the opposite. He looked old and tired.
“Okay, now let’s move to the other arm and make a big circle with me ── 1 2 3 4 ── 2 2 3 4 ──” The cheerful voice of the host in the program reminded Haiqing of how his Grandpa followed this counting, as if it was a serious matter every morning. Haiqing crouched under his clothes and cried as he listened to it. It seemed that the pain and fear of being abandoned and alone by the whole world choked him, and it seemed that he was so weak and struggling hard to choose between his will to live and giving up.
The cold shade of the light emitted by the TV shone on the side of Haiqing’s face, making him look haggard.
It’s so tiring.
It’s so annoying.
Haiqing bit his lower lip and did not let the sound of him crying spread within this space where only he was left. The stationery on the table and the post-it notes all over the house were filled with thoughtful advice. Before going abroad, his Dad tried his best to let Haiqing live a good life without him and his Grandpa, but his efforts never reached Haiqing’s heart.
No one could make Haiqing feel that he was not alone and needed, even Pinjun could not do anything about it.
Between half-dreaming and half-awake, Haiqing’s body restlessly twitched. He did not know how many day and nights it had been, but as long as he was hungry, he would just grab something to eat. When he was tired, he would lie down and sleep. He skipped class after class. When he remembered his Grandpa or he could not sleep, he would turn on the TV, listen to the morning show, or the broadcast of the professional baseball again and again, between half-dreaming and half-awake.
It’s so quiet…
Haiqing clutched on to his clothes and curled up. He looked more like a small kid, who was helpless and pitiful.
It’s so noisy.
Haiqing was awakened by the sudden sound of the doorbell. His muddled mind could not comprehend the changes that took place in the external environment. He could only stay still in his crouching position and wait for his consciousness to wake up and catch up with the speed of his body’s awakening.
The sound of the doorbell made it sound like the one pressing it was getting more and more impatient. Eventually, the one pressing it started pressing it continuously. The soundproofing in the old apartment was very bad. In the past, Haiqing would rush to open the door because he was afraid that the noise would reach to his neighbors; but now, his reaction in the last few days was…
Or was it in the last few weeks? Under his devastation, he had not been nimble enough. By the time he finally responded and ‘wanted to open the door,’ the doorbell stopped ringing.
It’s quiet at last.
Haiqing thought to himself that the other party must have given up, right? Who would come and visit him? He could not think of who was the most likely candidate. Yesterday, Xiao K just walked away in anger. Who else would worry about him and come, then they would just walk away and not contact him anymore? Haiqing revealed a wry smile from torturing himself.
It’s better to continue sleeping…
He found the remote control that was got pressed under his bottom and changed the singing program to the professional baseball channel, then he was shocked to hear the familiar voice of someone shouting “Su Haiqing! I like you!” and he continued to sleep…
Haiqing suddenly opened his eyes and listened attentively to the voice outside. When the second roar of suspected confession to him came into his ear, he subconsciously shouted “What?”
It was not an illusion, there was a real person outside shouting his name.
“Su Haiqing! I like you! Su Haiqing! I like you! ”
Haiqing walked slowly to the window and looked out. Sure enough, he saw Pinjun standing outside right in front of the terrace and shouting. His voice had attracted many people to open their window and look over. It seemed that in any minute, someone would call the police and report this.
“Su Haiqing! I like you!”
He listened to the confession that reverberated for a number of times and it even became louder and clearer. Haiqing silently went to the front intercom and pressed the button to open the door. Like being controlled by a remote control, the shouting immediately stopped. After the door was opened forcefully, there was a sound of someone running upstairs in a rush.
Haiqing did not respond much to this.
He walked back in daze to where he sat before and curled his body again.