Chapter 1: Yang Mianmian
When Jing Chu received the call from his mother, he had just been writing his final report on a case. After several sleepless nights, all the team members had gone home to catch up on their sleep, leaving Jing Chu alone in the office of the Criminal Police Brigade.
“That poor girl just became a third year in highschool. She became an orphan before even reaching adulthood.” His mother sighed incessantly, “She happens to be in the same city as you. Since you don’t want to come back, help her out when you can.”
Jing Chu was dispassionate about this, but since she was his mother’s deceased friend’s daughter, he didn’t mind helping her out once in a while: “Sure, give me the address.”
“Help her as much as you can! Who knows what people might do to an orphan girl like her. If she’s having trouble at home, then you will help.” His mother continued to nag at him, “Also, don’t scare her.”
Jing Chu pinched the bridge of his nose and said in amusement, “I know.” He wasn’t a big guy, yet all the girls on the team would tremble in fear once they saw him. They were making a fuss out of nothing.
Because of his mother’s instructions, Jing Chu went to visit the recently orphaned girl after writing his final report. According to the given address, she lived in the Laocheng District.
Nancheng County could be considered one of the more famous metropolises in the world. In recent years, its development speed had simply soared like a rocket as many places were being demolished and rebuilt. But in the eastern area of the city, it was like time had slowed for them. The development there was like a walking pace and retained the atmosphere from a hundred years ago.
As such, Laocheng District could not help being a bit messy with undesirable areas and terrible roads. Jing Chu’s car couldn’t drive into the intersection, so he thought about it, pulled over, and started looking for the place on the address.
The other party lived in a very old neighborhood, where cats and dogs ran free, shitting and peeing everywhere, and walking in the middle of the roads like lords. There was even a husky that puffed at Jing Chu arrogantly.
Jing Chu rarely comes to this area. He followed the address into a corridor, the light inside was very dim. He went to the sixth floor, the highest floor, and knocked on the door.
The inner door was pulled open and he could see her through the old-fashion entrance door. What he saw was a very pretty face, the type that will stop people in their tracks. She was the very meaning of poor but beautiful.
“Come on in.” She unlocked the entrance door to let him in.
Jing Chu remained standing outside the door, “You don’t know who I am yet.” From his pursed eyebrows, he was clearly unhappy with her lax guard.
“You are a policeman.” The girl held a dustpan and broom as she swept the floor, “I saw your picture in a newspaper before.”
So that’s how it was. Jing Chu relaxed and observed the small home. It was roughly fifty to sixty square meters. A box for ashes, memorial tablet and photo was placed on the living room table. A small bedroom, a small kitchen, a small bathroom, but everything was very clean.
With his height of one-eighty centimeters, everything felt small. “You’re Yang Mianmian correct?”
“Yes.” She raised her and looked at him, “Is something the matter?”
She was one-sixty centimeters tall at most, leaving her rather short. She wore a T-shirt and pants that cut off above her shin and left her hair in a ponytail. She was just too pretty that it made people feel worried for her.
Jing Chu mulled over his thoughts and decided to introduce himself first, “I am Jing Chu, my mother was once your mother’s classmate. So I came to see if I can help with anything.”
She glanced back at him from where she was sweeping, “There’s nothing you need to help with.”
“There is something he could help with! The toilet is broken, it’s always leaking water and you never fixed it.” A soft voice spoke to her.
Yang Mianmian rolled her eyes at the voice.
The other did not mind and continued, “The TV also seems to be broken! The screen is always full of static and you never said when you were going to fix it.”
Yang Mianmian simply wanted to roll her eyes some more. That old TV was really heavy, getting it up and down the stairs will take a lot of effort okay?
“Mianmian, leaking water feels terrible.” ~( ＞﹏＜)~
“Jing Chu is really nice, his face may be cold but his heart is warm. He will not refuse~” An unfamiliar voice piped up that was sweet and soft.
Fine. Yang Mianmian held the broom with one hand and seriously spoke, “There is something you can help with.”
Jing Chu listened with full attention.
“My toilet is broken, it’s always leaking water. Can you help fix it?”
Three minutes later, Jing Chu removed his coat and rolled up his sleeves to help her fix the toilet. Yang Mianmian stood next to help to give him tools. He asked, “Your father died, do you not feel sad?”
“I do not.” She calmly answered, “People would die sooner or later.”
Jing Chu could tell she was not lying. It’s just that such an attitude was rather rare, he couldn’t help but look at her some more worriedly. Her eyes did not hold grief, nor was their pain. It was calm as if the one that died wasn’t a close family member. “It’s fixed.”
“My TV is also broken.” She forwent any previous politeness and readily ordered him about.
Jing Chu fixed her toilet and TV and then asked while being torned between amusement and resignation, “Anything else you need help with?”
She seriously thought about it, then replied. “That’s it, thank you.”
“Then I’ll be leaving.” Jing Chu picked up his coat and paused for a moment, before finally speaking to her again. “I will leave you my phone number, if you need something you can call me. You need to be more careful as a girl alone at home, don’t open the door so readily to anyone.”
Yang Mianmian was really too pretty. Laocheng District wasn’t the most lawful place and Jing Chu’s occupational disease flared up as he gave her a couple warnings and asked for her phone number.
She stared blankly at him, “What?”
“Do you not have a cell phone?”
“I do not.” She went looking for a notepad and had him leave his name and phone number.
When he walked out, Jing Chu couldn’t help but think, was he already old? He really didn’t understand how young girls these days think. Or was it that Yang Mianmian sounded like a soft name while she was in fact, a rebel girl?
Yang Mianmian who was unaware of what Jing Chu thought of her tossed her broom aside and went to get water from the kitchen. She didn’t even need to turn the faucet on for water to start pouring out and filled the kettle until it was eighty-percent full. She plugged in the electric kettle and continued to sweep the floor.
“Mianmian, are you not happy?” The toilet flushed once and asked worriedly, “I’m not leaking anymore.”
Yang Mianmian did not even look up, “Don’t flush as you wish, the water bill is quite high. After father died, I don’t have child support payments anymore.”
The toilet: Σ(°△ °|||) “I’m sorry Mianmian!”
“Mianmian, if you have no money, just sell me.” The outdated TV did its best to comfort her, “There is always someone downstairs taking scraps. I should be worth a couple hundred at least.”
Yang Mianmian rubbed her forehead, “I won’t sell you guys. You’re fixed now right? Put on a drama or something.”
The TV clicked and turned on, it automatically flipped through a couple channels and landed on the recent most popular palace drama. Yang Mianmian was not in the mood to watch so she continued to sweep.
After finally being done with the floor, the fridge spoke up, “Mianmian, you don’t have anything to eat. Go buy something from the supermarket to eat okay?”
She pulled open the fridge door and as expected, all she had left was a couple eggs and milk. “Let’s get takeout, I don’t want to cook.”
Dinner was rice noodles from the neighborhood entrance, it was very salty and disgusting. Yang Mianmian stabbed the noodles in her takeout box, “I can’t eat anymore, why is it so disgusting today?”
The white foam box quietly answered her, “The boss had a mistress and the lady boss found out. She was really unhappy. They had a fight today and spilled the salt.”
“……” Yang Mianmian thought back to that fat boss, “Even someone like that can have a mistress?”
“I know right?” The lunch box sighed, a bit sad, “They’ve been married for over twenty years, their children are in school now and an affair like this happens.”
Yang Mianmian shook her head and cleaned up. The box reminded her, “Remember to throw me in the trash can, don’t toss me out at random. If you can, don’t fold me, it will hurt me.”
“I know.” Yang Mianmian used the plastic bag and neatly packed away the box, she even made a butterfly knot.
The lunch box was a bit happy, “Thank you.”
The lifespan of foam lunch boxes are short, after being used they would be buried as trash, ending it’s short life.
Everything in this world has a life and death. Many things have a lifespan far shorter than humans, like this box. An uncountable number of foam lunch boxes are born each day, and an uncountable number of them are used and then die. The one she used today was a lot more lively and was willing to talk a bit with her. But who knows how many lunchboxes died quietly and never spoke a single word in their life.
From Yang Mianmian’s point of view, she would go through such meetings and farewells many times a day. The small chat she had with the lunchbox today would be the last with it. After so many life and death partings, how could she be capable of feeling any grief for the man that was her father when they barely ever met?
After eating dinner, the street lights outside the window started to light up. Yang Mianmian sat at a desk doing her homework. The desklamp that had aged quite a bit did its best to be brighter by even just a bit, so she wouldn’t have to strain her eyes as much.
Everyone remained extremely quiet as to not disturb her from her homework.
“Mianmian.” The eraser called out to her.
Yang Mianmian raised her head from her dense stack of homework and asked, “What is it?”
(┳＿┳) “Mianmian, I am too small now, I can’t help you anymore.” The originally pretty and white erase had just a bit remained. Using it to erase anything took quite some effort.
Yang Mianmian placed down her pencil and picked it up, “Only this much is left now.”
“Yes.” It rubbed against her finger, “Place me together with everyone else. I’m sorry, I can’t help you anymore.”
Yang Mianmian pulled open her drawer. Iron pencil cases lined up neatly within it. She placed the remaining eraser in the pencil case closest to the drawer opening. Inside it was erasers, pencil heads and empty white-out boxes lined up neatly.
She said to it, that white eraser did its best to squeeze out a smile, “Goodbye, Mianmian. Goodbye.” o(*￣▽￣*)o
It was another parting.
No one spoke and no one cried. The room was very quiet, as if everyone was using silence to bid their farewell to an old friend.
They were indeed not sad, because for an erase, it had greatly fulfilled its responsibilities. It had honorably and gloriously retired. This was something to be happy about.
From their point of view, an eraser being used up, a pencil being used until it was just a head, white-out doing its best to correct one last word. That kind of ending was worth being proud of.
This kind of death was a sacred one.
Yang Mianmian opened up her laptop and logged into her bank account. The mug by her hand had been with her for over a year and had a lively nature. It broke the silence of the room and curiously asked, “Mianmian, what are you doing?”
“Earning money.” Yang Mianmian raised the mug and took a sip of water. “My father’s money had all gone to that woman, she will definitely not give me anything. From today on, we have to earn money ourselves.”
The mug nodded without really understanding, “Oh. Although I don’t get it, stocks and so on seem really hard to do.”
SnowTime: Anyone else suddenly feel guilty about something they threw away barely used? *cough* I know I thrown away a lot of erasers before in good condition.