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Chapter 2: The Forgotten Memory


He brought Xia Mingxiu back to the place that was once our home and pulled him into the bathroom under the dim yellow light. I stood outside, contemplating whether I should head in and watch a live performance.

Both of them were rare beauties so it wasn’t such a big deal to lose a few years of my life to watch their performance.

A god must have known that I had separated this pair of lovers for ten years to satisfy my own selfish desire. This hidden god must be villainously smiling as he punishes me to watch the two of them live their sweet lives.

To a dead person, this was what they would consider as being unable to have a peaceful death.

Forget it. It’s my karma.

After getting out of the bathroom, the two of them rolled on the sofa right before my eyes.

Nevermind this. I will watch since you’re letting me see.

It was magnificent and enchanting as I had expected it to be.

I was shocked by how gently Luo Yuchen treated Xia Mingxiu. It was something that I didn’t dare to expect. I had even wondered if there was any part of Luo Yuchen that was gentle. The scene before me clearly shoved the sour grapes[1] logic into my face. Evidently, Luo Yuchen was able to be very gentle. He could make gentle moves full of love and was able to say sweet words of love.

It was clear that he had only treated me with violence. He was practically relieving all of his resentment and dissatisfaction. He nipped and beat me; He tore and bit me. It was practically an improved version of “A Chinese Torture Chamber Story”.

Looking at Xia Mingxiu now, I felt that I was very worthless again.

I was treated so badly. Why didn’t I learn from my mistakes but instead insisted on taking this painful path?

I had pointlessly spent my life. It was utterly pointless.

The two of them had a warm and romantic time together until noon. Xia Mingxiu got up because he had to work in the afternoon. He broke free from Luo Yuchen’s hold and took out some ingredients from the fridge. Then he started cooking.

Is this fellow stupid? Why did he make eight-treasure rice pudding?

Luo Yuchen doesn’t like sweet food.

After spending ten years with him, I had a clear grasp of his likes and dislikes. I understood his preferences more than anyone else.

However, the reality proved me wrong again.

Luo Yuchen obediently received the bowl and spoon and happily ate with Xia Mingxiu.

Damn it, that’s so unfair!

When I made it, he only ate one mouthful of it before throwing it away.

I had already started cooking when others were attending kindergarten. No matter what, my culinary skills should at least be better than the clumsy Xia Mingxiu who mistook sugar as salt!

Forget it! Perhaps, he would even drink poison if it was prepared by Xia Mingxiu…

I was angry. I paced around Luo Yuchen, wanting to give him a punch.

I couldn’t hit him. Ugh, I’m already dead but I still felt indignant. I might just level up from an earthbound spirit to a vengeful spirit. 

I should probably start reciting scriptures and quickly ascend to heaven to become buddha.

After Xia Mingxiu left, Luo Yuchen threw away the eight-tressure rice pudding and his spoon as I had expected. I felt gleeful. He didn’t like sweet food after all. His taste couldn’t possibly experience a complete change just for Xia Mingxiu.

He had always been someone who could endure. He could endure ten years by my side so how much would a few spoonfuls of eight-treasure rice pudding amount to?

He slowly got up after lazing on the sofa.

He wandered around the large house in boredom before stopping in front of the door to my room. To be exact, the door to the room that was once mine.

When I had finally decided to leave, I thoroughly cleaned the room up. I had packed everything that I could.

He pushed the door open. Standing there, he faced the empty room. He stood there for a very long time, his eyes looking around.

I was just about to deceive myself when logic jumped out to mock me. He was probably here to imagine how his future study room would look like.

Why do I always deceive myself? Actually, even if only 0.01% of his heart thought of me, my life might not have been so worthless after all.

After standing there for a long while, he suddenly turned around and returned to the living room. He found a thick stack of photo albums after crazily searching through the cabinet. 

Then he started flipping through them. Actually, he wasn’t just flipping through the album. He was basically picking out all the photos that we took together and throwing them on the floor.

Do you have to be so cruel? I don’t think I was as evil as the Ten Evils.

Before I died, I knew that he absolutely didn’t love me but I would never have expected that he would hate me to such an extent.

I admit that I had coerced him to stay with me and the things that I had done weren’t the best. But for the past ten years, I had taken good care of him and did whatever he wanted me to. I don’t think that I did anything that was especially cruel to him. On the contrary, I was badly abused by him.

In any case, we were once people who had slept together. There was a saying that “a day as husband and wife needs a hundred days of kindness towards each other”; We had spent so much time together but where were your feelings? Did you have to be so cruel?

He actually wanted to erase all traces of my existence. If I knew this was going to happen, I shouldn’t have wasted my efforts to pack up my stuff in order to show him that I had left home. I had packed up so much and had moved to my brother’s villa only to commit suicide. Not only did I dumped a bunch of sundries for my brother to clean up, I even polluted the new house he bought with evil energy.

My brother was so unlucky to have to take care of a brother like me.

I wouldn’t have wasted my efforts to pack up my useless items if I had known that Luo Yuchen hated me so much that he wouldn’t even let a photo off. I should have let him sell my items and our photos as junk. At the very least, he would have to spare his energy to do so and I can relieve some of my anger.

The photos that contained my happy memories were mercilessly dropped onto the floor by his thin hands. Those were the hands that I had once loved.

“You heartless bastard.” I pointed at his nose and scolded him but I felt depressed that he wouldn’t be able to hear me.

Even though our happy memories were fake, I had thought that there would be at least two or three that were real.

I got his disdain after paying my entire life for love; I don’t get it.

Luo Yuchen took out a box. After throwing in all of the photos, he randomly placed it outside the door. Then he went back in and laid down on the sofa.

He was obviously too lazy to even look at it.

I squatted beside the box to cherish my treasure one last time.

I wasn’t able to pick the photos up so I could only look at the top few that were facing up.

In one of the photos, the background was white in colour. He hugged me from behind and there was a pot of ominous chrysanthemum[2] on the table by the side.

It was B city’s central hospital.

It was the day before our Youth Cup match during our first year in highschool. We managed to make it into the finals and the finals were held at the soccer field in B city’s sports complex. We decided to tour around B city for a few days before the match. We were not familiar with the area since it was the first time we were there. We met a group of hooligans on our way back when we went out for supper.

 

We were still young and arrogant back then. We wanted to act like heroes when they had only wanted to rob us. Seeing that we were roughly about the same size, we didn’t think much of the hooligans and started fighting them but someone on their side was carrying a knife.

How could I continue watching when I saw that person launching at Luo Yuchen with that silver object? I stood in front of Luo Yuchen without thinking.

I finally got the knife off of his hand and chased them away but there was a large cut on my left leg. I didn’t take it seriously at that time even though it was very painful. I found that my ligament was wounded after I reached the hospital and was given a checkup; I could no longer run on the green field.

I was stupefied as I listened to the doctor’s words. I didn’t know whether I was shaken or confused.

I was only thinking about one thing: what should I do now that I can’t play soccer? Luo Yuchen was the best forward and Xiao Heng was the best goalkeeper. I didn’t have a deep love for soccer. However, watching Luo Yuchen rushing towards the opposing team’s goal was the meaning to my existence. The ‘Xiao Heng, you’re great’ smile that I would see after blocking the opposing team’s ball was suddenly gone. What should I do?

He mentioned this afterwards but I promise that I wasn’t acting disappointed to make him feel guilty and to force him to feel like he owed me in order to keep him by my side. I wasn’t doing something like that at that point in time.

I didn’t go so far as to use such a method to keep him by my side forever.

Though, I probably used a much more despicable method afterwards.

At that time, Luo Yuchen told me that there was no point in him staying if I wasn’t behind him.

I had to admit that I felt ecstasy from the bottom of my heart after I heard that from him.

I had such an ugly heart.

I wasn’t able to watch the finals. I heard that Luo Yuchen fought really hard but still lost.

Although he lost, Luo Yuchen made a good impression in the Youth Cup competition. The national team’s coach came to have a talk with him but he said that he was actually not interested in soccer and wished to study hard for university.

Afterwards, there were many times where I saw him secretly crying as he hugged the soccer ball covered in dust.

He was different from me because he really loved soccer. To me, the meaning of soccer was Luo Yuchen. Soccer was nothing to me without him.

I only wanted to chase after him and watch his figure from the back as he energetically and brightly ran on the soccer field. I played only to hear that one sentence from him: “with Xiao Heng behind me, I felt assured.”

I destroyed his dream and I made use of his guilt. At the time, I wasn’t able to bravely tell him that he should continue, that he could still fly high on a soccer field without me. 

Afterwards, there were countless times where I detested my despicable self.

It was only natural that god wouldn’t let a person like me live a happy life. I quickly received the punishment that I deserved.

If I hadn’t used my injury as an excuse to monopolize Luo Yuchen’s warmth and insisted on staying in the hospital for so long, we wouldn’t have met Xia Mingxiu there.

He was pushing me through the grassfield at the hospital for a walk under the magnificent sun that day

I cawed non-stop like a crow. I bet he wasn’t properly listening to me. He soon came to a stop. I followed his line of sight after feeling his absent mindedness.

Xia Mingxiu was wearing a silly striped patient gown and sleeping on a white chair. He looked otherworldly. The sunlight dyed his hair with a chestnut colour and he was glowing faintly. He looked like an angel when he slept. He looked so pale and transparent, it was as if he would break apart with one touch.

A man’s instinct was also terrifying. The moment I saw Xia Mingxiu, as well as the way Luo Yuchen was looking at him, I could roughly guess the frustrating outcome that I would ultimately experience.

Who would have expected a love cupid to be wandering around the hospital with his bow? He must have laughed so much when he saw me, someone who didn’t deserve to be shot by him. I had instead shot myself on the foot to become their matchmaker.

There were some things that were determined by fate. If it didn’t belong to you, you can’t obtain it.

I looked at another photo. It was taken in the ferris wheel during the night of New Year.

His immature look during his younger days were long gone and he was wearing the silver cross earring. He looked outstanding and handsome, yet cold and intimidating.

His birthday lies on Christmas. He was eighteen that year when he just debuted as a singer. He was novel and unique so his popularity rapidly rose.

He was so handsome. It wasn’t unexpected that he would be scouted when he was out. This was the year that I experienced the most staggering change in my life.

I didn’t have a father and my mother died early. I lived at my uncle’s house and I lived a life that was neither shabby nor happy. I would never expect myself to suddenly become successful in life. However, I suddenly had a brother that year.

After seeing their numerous evidences and hearing numerous explanations, I suddenly became the illegitimate son of the director of a large entertainment company. The director was now dead but he wanted to give half of the company’s shares to me who was a son he had never seen before. What was more unfathomable was that the legitimate son of the legal wife, namely my half brother, didn’t try to fight for the inheritance or try to change the will like those seen in historical dramas. He was actually very kind and treated me especially well.

Just like that, Luo Yuchen became an artist and I became someone who would dictate his life.

He would never beg someone for his own future but he came to beg me. He asked me to promote Xia Mingxiu.

Xia Mingxiu looked very handsome but there were countless good looking people in the world. The company could promote whoever they wanted to and it didn’t have to be him. We were very clear of that fact.

My condition was for him to be with me for ten years. He agreed.

He already knew that I loved him. He was also prepared to sacrifice himself for Xia Mingxiu.

We became lovers for ten years.

I floated by Luo Yuchen’s side for a few days and there were times where I shockingly saw a completely different side of him.

He always had that one look when he worked. He was also like this back when I was still hiding at one corner to look at him. It seemed as though he was standing in another world even though he was in the middle of the crowd. I had no idea what he was looking at and his thoughts seemed even more incomprehensible.

He was always elusive and hard to comprehend.

I thought that he would feel happy after I left but I couldn’t see as many changes in his mood as I had expected.

He used to be a very expressive person. When he was happy, his body seemed to be shining brightly. When he was dejected, a dark cloud could be seen floating above his head.

It was my fault that he was like this now.

Xia Mingxiu started packing up and moving in. His items were slowly increasing in this house.

When he saw the box of photos Luo Yuchen had prepared to dispose of outside the door, this busybody brought it in front of Luo Yuchen.

He seemed to enjoy stepping on Luo Yuchen’s landmines. Holding his head high, he asked, “Luo Yuchen, you can’t even keep these?”

I knew that Xia Mingxiu wasn’t detonating a landmine this time, it was a torpedo.

Xia Mingxiu might be a muddle head but he wasn’t stupid. He would know if he was stepping on a landmine. If he dared to step in, he must have had a way out. He wasn’t like me who had to act lowly before Luo Yuchen in order to avoid provoking his sharp anger.

His anger was so sharp that it would cause pain when it was directed at a person. Luo Yuchen must have known that Xia Mingxiu’s skin was much more tender than mine so he didn’t dare to point it at him.

Luo Yuchen’s face darkened as I had expected and a sharp expression froze on his face.

Unlike me, Xia Mingxiu wasn’t fearful of this sight. He spoke louder, “Just what did Xiao Heng do that you wouldn’t forgive him to such an extent?”

I clapped loudly. He asked a question that I wished to know the most. Just what did I do for you to hate me so much?

“Can you stop mentioning him?” Luo Yuchen continued angrily, “I don’t want to hear his name again.”

Xia Mingxiu held the box and stood there blankly for quite a while.

I was disappointed. Xia Mingxiu finally asked the question but I didn’t get to hear the answer.

“Luo Yuchen, did he do something… I’m unaware of?” Xia Mingxiu sat down and gently hugged Luo Yuchen.

Luo Yuchen didn’t break away from him.

What? What’s this? I stared at him futilely.

Is this a silent acknowledgement?

I feel so wronged.

I really don’t get it. Just what did I do? Was it the ten evils?

Luo Yuchen was so capable. His silence made the righteous Xia Mingxiu who came to help the weak me become a person sympathetic of the victim and angry at me, the enemy.

For the next few hours, I thought hard about the most terrible thing I had done to Luo Yuchen.

I wonder which one was more unforgivable, indirectly causing him to give up soccer or forcing him to be with me?

Was there anything else that was worse than these? It can’t be. I, Xiao Heng, had always been kind by nature. I don’t remember doing anything worse.

Even if it was regarding soccer or staying together, would I have had any influence on Luo Yuchen if he had actually persevered against me?

It had already been ten years. I served him like a full time mother every day. I helped him find success in his career. I secretly eliminated anyone that was harmful to him. I tried my best to please him, not daring to slack off in any matter. Every day, I would never fail to smile. In the end, I was still not worth his attention.

The only thing that changed from the me of ten years ago to now, was that our pure friendship was no longer ‘pure’. Otherwise, there was nothing different at all.

I tried my very best to make up to him even though I wasn’t able to make him smile in those ten years.

I had also managed to give him his freedom in the end.

Let’s say he despised me for wasting his youth. However, he was now 27 years old, the most outstanding age of one’s life. His youth couldn’t be counted as being completely wasted by me.

Although I felt that I was wrong to do that, I had also tried my very best.

Human heart is made of flesh. It has been ten years. No matter how much I didn’t match him, even one would have some feelings for a stray dog after ten years.

Let’s say that he was unhappy that I broke up his relationship with Xia Mingxiu. Although I felt sorry for Xia Mingxiu, the two of them weren’t actually broken up in the past ten years. Whether I was there or not didn’t really matter. Even if I wasn’t there to break them apart, were they allowed to date openly as celebrities?

After absentmindedly accompanying Luo Yuchen at work for an entire day, I met someone I felt most ashamed of meeting at the carpark.

I missed him a lot after I first gained awareness after I died.

I personally felt that Luo Yuchen didn’t really like him and that he seemed somewhat afraid of him. Luo Yuchen would feel uneasy every time he saw him in the past. Today, his face stiffened as usual when he saw him. That person would usually show Luo Yuchen a pleasant expression for my sake but his expression today was terrible.

He was actually being very nice by just showing a terrible expression. I had thought that he would launch at Luo Yuchen and beat him up.

For some unfathomable reason, he was the person who treated me especially well when I was brought back at the age of 17. He is the son of my father’s legal wife and he is my brother, Fang Xieyi.

It felt mushy calling him brother since we only began to know each other when I was 17 so I would usually call him by his name.

When I looked at Fang Xieyi at a closer distance, I realised that his complexion was bad and that he has gotten thinner.

It’s understandable because I had given him a lot of trouble. He was a manager but he was too lazy to care about the company and was always missing. The whole company was now his. Without any prior notice, I dumped all the important and miscellaneous tasks to him and he also had to handle my aftermath.

I honestly felt very guilty towards him. He treated me well but I must have hurt him.

Since I wasn’t around, Fang Xieyi had no reason to bother himself with this bigshot singer under him. He walked towards his silver Mercedes.

“Mr Fang.” I don’t know what happened to Luo Yuchen but he actually called out to him.

Fang Xieyi elegantly opened his car door. He stopped but he didn’t turn his head around. He was a bigger bigshot than the celebrity Luo Yuchen.

“May I know if you… are able to contact Xiao Heng?”

I was very surprised.

I had invisibly floated about by his side for almost a week. This was the first time he brought me up on his own initiative.

However, I wasn’t happy. Based on my understanding, it was probably not for something good.

“May I ask why Mr. Luo is looking for Xiao Heng?” It was then that I noticed that Fang Xieyi was in a black heritage trench coat. He slowly turned around as he leaned on his silver sports car. I was so close to giving him a round of applause because he was so stylish and elegant. However, not finding it sufficient enough, he even leisurely lit a cigarette.

If our general manager Fang had acted in a drama, he would probably earn more than Xia Mingxiu.

“He… some of his items are still with me. I would like to return the items to him.”

My guess was right.

Was it the box of photos that irked him just by looking at it? I started sneering at Luo Yuchen. You can just burn it by yourself. What’s the point of spending so much effort? Are you trying to take the chance to learn about my whereabouts?

In my will, I had specifically told Fang Xieyi not to tell Luo Yuchen about me.

I’m kind by nature as I had mentioned before. I didn’t want Luo Yuchen to feel guilty about my death and end up not being together with Xia Mingxiu.

It seems to me that I was too conceited. I had thought that a small speck of dust like me would have some sort of impact in Luo Yuchen’s life.

My failure was a result of my overconfidence. I really despise myself.

Fang Xieyi looked very charming as he sucked in a breath of cigarette. Then he said coldly, “No need. Just handle it the way you think you should. Xiao Heng has no need for those items anymore.”

What he was saying was the truth.

Luo Yuchen naturally felt targeted and was unhappy. He dared to act arrogantly as well since he was also a bigshot. He gave manager Fang a cold glance before turning around to leave.

I looked back and saw that Fang Xieyi strongly nipped the cigarette. He crushed it after throwing it on the floor.

I said ‘I’m sorry’ in my heart three thousand times to Fang Xieyi.

Luo Yuchen drove as if he was in a car race when he went home afterwards. His anger from being offended by manager Fang was evident even though he was suppressing it.

He quickly ran upstairs after parking the car. I knew just what he was planning to do since I understood him very well. He resentfully retrieved the box of photos. Rushing to the incinerator downstairs, he threw everything in without the slightest hesitation.

For someone like Luo Yuchen who only had a single nerve of patience, this course of action was already very tamed.

The fire shone brightly and floated about with the black residues.

Not bad. The sound of the fire burning the photos had a nice ring to it.

I stood on one side and calmly watched as my memories slowly turned into ashes. I was actually able to appreciate the sight. Luo Yuchen, you were so cruel. You didn’t give me even the slightest pity.

If I could have been as cool as I was now when I was alive, perhaps I wouldn’t look so lowly in Luo Yuchen’s eyes.


Footnotes:

[1]Sour grape – pretended disdain for something one does not or cannot have (dictionary.com)

[2]Chrysanthemums are offerings given during a funeral.


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