Chapter 6: Turning Point
“Luo Yuchen, get ready!”
Fortunately, the director shouted for Luo Yuchen to go up the stage, so they didn’t get to continue the conversation.
This was the first time I didn’t have the heart to watch Luo Yuchen’s performance.
I kept thinking about what he was going to do.
There were so many things that I couldn’t predict. I was terrified.
The evening party lasted until midnight, and they went to a company banquet afterward. Luo Yuchen finally arrived home when it was dawn.
He fell asleep the moment he laid down and slept until the afternoon.
When he finally woke up, he didn’t eat and headed straight to the study room. This infuriated me, I wanted to pull his ear and shout at him, saying, ‘You have forgotten your past pain once the wound was healed!!’
He sat in front of the black grand piano and started playing softly.
I suddenly remembered that it had been a very long time since I saw him play the piano.
His expression was cold, only the sound of the piano expressed the Luo Yuchen I knew. He was once this gentle and sad. I felt so intoxicated every time I listened to him play. When he found out, he no longer played the piano before me. Whenever he needed to play, he would do it in the company’s piano room, avoiding me at the same time.
He would always do the opposite of what I wanted, he basically bullied me.
The light shone through the translucent chiffon curtain in the study room, gently falling on the side of his face. It looked so tranquil. He seemed lost in thought. At one moment, he would mumble something to himself. At another moment, he would play a few notes on the piano. At another moment, he only placed his hands above the piano and moved his fingers, not pressing the keys. At yet another moment, he would suddenly grab a pencil and write something on paper.
For an instance, he was the only one left in the world. Everything else was far away from him as he was alone in his room. The smile on his face was leisurely yet distant.
When the afternoon sunlight turned into moonlight, he seemed to come back to his senses, and he smiled lightly.
It was a pleased and self-satisfied smile that belonged to the usual, arrogant Luo Yuchen.
Then, he started playing the piano with his slender fingers.
The music was filled with sweetness, innocence, and gentleness and was full of nostalgia. The soft sound of the piano formed a melody that I had never heard before.
He probably hasn’t finished writing the lyrics, as he only sang along to some parts of the song.
“In the summer with blue skies, we held hands and the wind blew over the green paddy.
We flew a kite, but the line got tangled. You cried and said: After cutting it, we will let go of the past.
In April, another year had passed for the windflowers. I smiled and said: Let’s promise to meet again under the eucalyptus.
I’ve always thought that we had a lot of time, that we would have all the sunny days, rainy days, summer days, and autumn days.
I’ve always thought that there were many moments in a year. We would be blind in love and smile brightly.”
The song was filled with nostalgia and the gentleness of the warm midsummer sunlight. Under the silver moonlight, the days of the past resurfaced, but it all seemed far away.
It was supposed to be a remembrance of the sweet memories of the past. However, it sounded to me like it was something no longer obtainable. From now on, even though we were so close, there would only be sorrow from being unable to see each other.
He smiled as he sang, sweetly reminiscing the memories. He didn’t pay attention to any sad ones.
Luo Yuchen, is this your new song?
Who wouldn’t cry if they listened to such a song on Valentine’s day?
Memories. They were something that hurt someone the most.
For all the people that had hurt others, they only remember the sweet memories and would smile at these memories.
However, for the people that were once cruelly hurt, they would remember all their bitter memories, and it would assault their hearts. Even the sweetest memories would appear sad to them.
It really was a beautiful song, but the current me was unable to appreciate it.
I believed that everyone who went through similar sufferings would cry listening to this song.
The once beautiful memories of the past have all changed in the passage of time.
They could never be recovered.
What I was worried about didn’t happen.
Although Luo Yuchen did many things that could easily cause a misunderstanding, his heart had always been with and still was with Xia Mingxiu.
That’s right. How was it possible for someone who never loved me for ten years to suddenly love me?
On the second day after Xia Mingxiu left for Milan, Luo Yuchen started sorting out his photos again and was in the process of choosing one. All the photos were either of him being with his parents or him being with Xia Mingxiu. I didn’t know why he was taking so long to choose.
In the end, he finally picked out a photo he looked happy with.
It was a picture of him and Xia Mingxiu on a carousel. They were both sitting on the same horse, smiling happily.
I still remember that the picture was taken on his birthday during Christmas, though I didn’t remember which year it was.
Anyway, it was one of the years within the ten years.
It was a carnival night that was held annually on Christmas at the amusement park.
To make him happy, I was always very generous on his birthday. Not only did I force Xiao Lu and other friends to join in, Xia Mingxiu was also always invited.
Because of Luo Yuchen, I often brought Xia Mingxiu along. This was also the reason why I was relatively close to Xia Mingxiu.
I wonder if Luo Yuchen knew that I was especially miserable every Christmas.
That was to be expected. Who didn’t wish to spend such a romantic day happily with someone they loved? However, how could I be happy if the person I loved was smiling at someone else, hugging someone else, and treating me like a pest, yet I had to smile and act like I didn’t mind?
I was still alive back then and wasn’t as broad-minded as I was now.
Now that I thought back, I realised just how much mistreatment and misery I received from Luo Yuchen. This might have partly contributed to the decision to cut myself back then.
I’ve also realised that I was able to accept seeing Luo Yuchen and Xia Mingxiu be happy together, but I was still unable to let go of the things in the past.
I still and will always remember the mistreatment I received, the hopelessness I felt, and how I had to put up a big smile.
The misery that I couldn’t vent accumulated in my heart and hid itself in one corner. Whenever it surfaced, I was never resigned to it.
Was this perhaps why I didn’t want to let him go when I was alive?
Because I wasn’t resigned to my misery?
I had thought I had a more noble and sounding reason.
It seemed like I was exactly what Luo Yuchen decribed me to be for the past ten years. I was just a selfish person.
Luo Yuchen held the photo and looked at it for a very long time, his expression a complex mix of yearning and gentleness.
I was really confused by their actions. In front of Xia Mingxiu, he would talk about me unknowingly. But now that Xia Mingxiu wasn’t around, he looked at a photo to reminisce about him.
I believed in the sanity of Luo Yuchen, but I couldn’t comprehend such unimaginable actions.
Xia Mingxiu too. Why was he able to tolerate Luo Yuchen’s yearning for me? Even if ‘no jealousy’ was virtue, such virtue was akin to him letting the hungry me eat a piece of him. It had clearly crossed the bottom line. Or perhaps, did he already know that Luo Yuchen would do something so foolish like stare at his picture in a daze? Was that why he didn’t pay me any attention and utterly pitied me?
If that was the case, I was really pathetic.
Xia Mingxiu came back from Milan three days later, and they continued their ordinary and warm lives as usual.
However, it felt stranger to me now.
They seemed to have a tacit understanding of “to treat each other as an honoured guest” as compared to the past. Ever since the few days before Xia Mingxiu went to L.A, they haven’t had many intimate moments. And after he came back from Milan, I couldn’t feel their happiness from being reunited as a couple. And now, the action of Xia Mingxiu laying on Luo Yuchen and acting spoiled was also gone.
I had been wondering if Xia Mingxiu had already submitted to Xiao Lu.
Let’s not debate whether Xia Mingxiu had two-timed or not. I was surprised neither of them questioned the awkwardness in their relationship. They seemed to be lovers only in name, yet the two of them were able to continue living their lives peacefully.
When it was time to sleep, Luo Yuchen would often sneak out from the bedroom. Then, he would switch on the dim floor lamp in the living room and take out the photo. He would stare at it for a long time in a trance.
I didn’t understand. Xia Mingxiu was right in the room, but Luo Yuchen didn’t touch him. Instead, he sat here and stared at the photo to reminisce the past. Why was he doing this?
I couldn’t understand the two of them anymore.
A month quickly went by. This year’s winter was freezing, and it snowed many times. Early February marked the beginning of the Spring Festival and Valentine’s Day.
All the festivities were packed together.
Luo Yuchen’s new album had finished its final stage of production.
I was lucky to have a chance to enter his recording studio.
I was very satisfied to be able to listen to him sing the very first edition of the song.
He looked very beautiful when he was singing seriously. He was only able to be immersed in the music when he knew that no one was around him, bringing out the mystical and lonely feel that was similar to that of a deep sea.
For some reason, I have been feeling sentimental lately. Like dust that had settled after falling on a surface, I was now unperturbed by many things.
I had a premonition that I was going to leave him very soon.
Naturally, I was unwilling. However, my current mentality was very different from my obsession two months ago. God had probably seen enough of me as a joke.
Ever since I touched him previously for the last time and changed back to this form, my spirit hadn’t been as strong as before.
Back then, I only floated around and never felt tired. Yet recently, my body felt heavier than before.
My soul most likely could no longer maintain itself in exchange for the chance to touch him that time. I believed I would disappear soon.
Actually, I shouldn’t be complaining. I should thank god for the short yet unbelievable time I got out of thin air after I died to stay by his side.
Although the time I spent with him had been bitter, it was also sweet. I should have a good time reminiscing.
For the whole month, Luo Yuchen was busy publicizing his new album. As for Xia Mingxiu, he had to go back to his hometown at B City to film a new show. He also decided to stay there with his parents for the Spring Festival. For the entire month, the two of them were both busy with their own schedule, and they were away from each other more than they were together.
It snowed three times in January.
I have actually admired the beautiful, white scenery with Luo Yuchen plenty of times. During winter, it often snowed in S City. When we were young, we often built snowmen together and had snowball fights. Although we always returned home with wet clothes after school, we were very happy.
When we were together later, he wouldn’t bother himself with me no matter how many times I asked him. Thus, I could only build my ugly and lonely snowman alone in my courtyard every year.
However, Luo Yuchen seemed free this year. When it snowed for the third time, he drove to a river levee to enjoy the cold breeze for a long while.
This was the perfect chance for me to fantasize. In any case, I really was beside him. I could delude myself into thinking that we were watching the beautiful, snowy scenery together, watching this white, coloured world for the last time.
New Year’s Eve had always been a big celebration for us. We would always hold a party and wouldn’t return home unless we were drunk
Since I wasn’t around to take the lead this year, everyone seemed to have a tacit understanding to stay quiet.
Even though Xia Mingxiu was far away at B City, he still called back and wished Luo Yuchen a Happy Chinese New Year together with his family.
He said that he would come back on New Year’s Day itself. As expected, he always thought of Luo Yuchen.
I wasn’t sure whether Xia Mingxiu had confessed to his family about his relationship with Luo Yuchen. He probably hadn’t.
The Xia family treated me and Luo Yuchen like noble people who sent them charcoal on a snowing day. Anyway, they treated us very warmly.
They were a family of sincere people.
Xia Mingxiu came from a family with a typical financial background, and he was the only son. For the sake of treating his illness, the family went bankrupt that year. This was the reason why Luo Yuchen begged me to promote Xia Mingxiu. He knew that Xia Mingxiu needed money.
The ten years he spent by my side was all for Xia Mingxiu.
Everytime I remembered this, I felt envious.
Luo Yuchen was willing to make such a sacrifice to help Xia Mingxiu, yet all of my effort and my support for him was unable to move him.
But on second thought, I was also very despicable for making use of this.
Suddenly, another evil thought popped into my head. The Xia family only had one son. Would they let him be with a man and ruin their chances of having any descendants?
Luo Yuchen’s call with Xia Mingxiu ended at around 9pm. After that, Luo Yuchen looked like he was about to head to sleep.
He usually stayed up until 2 to 3am before sleeping until the afternoon. Surprisingly, he behaved differently from normal on such a festive day.
When you sleep early, you will wake up early. Were you preparing yourself so that you could meet Xia Mingxiu, who you haven’t seen for a long time, tomorrow with energy?
This sounded plausible.
Before he slept, he took out his phone again.
I looked over. He called me, but it didn’t go through.
I laughed. You actually thought of me. Thank you.
Since the phone kept ringing and nobody picked up, he steeled his heart and called Fang Xieyi.
Fang Xieyi hung him up three times.
On the fourth call, he finally answered.
Even though people still had things to do at midnight, everyone was immersed in the celebratory mood of the festival. The sound of firecrackers outside were thunderously loud, I couldn’t hear what Fang Xieyi said. Even Luo Yuchen had to shout.
He said, “Please help me tell Xiao Heng that I wish him a Happy Chinese New Year! Please tell him to take care of his body. Also, please help me tell him I said thank you!”
I think he was thanking me for taking care of him that time.
Fang Xieyi probably wouldn’t say anything mean. It was New Year’s Eve after all. Luo Yuchen hung up the phone in satisfaction. He smiled so happily he blushed.
How rare for him to look so cute.
I felt that this was a good ending.
I quietly waited. After 12am, I was still here.
On the night of December 31st, I stared at the clock as it turned to 12am, but I realised that I was still here.
Every new year, the old items would be cleaned out to welcome the new. I had thought that I would be cleaned up as well and disappear in the new year.
I thought it was time for the curtain call, especially after Luo Yuchen said “Happy Chinese New Year” and “thank you”.
I laughed helplessly. In the end, it was just the start of a normal new day.
The most spectacular sight to see during New Year’s was people praying. During the day of Chinese New year, all the major temples in S City were fully packed with people. Both believers and non-believers would come to pray for luck, peace, a happy family, good studies, luck in love and more. Anyway, everyone wished for happy things.
I prayed every year as well. People always said that if you were sincere, your wish would come true. However, people were probably too greedy and wished for far too many things, so the gods only looked at us in disdain. Take me for example. I always prayed sincerely, but none of my wishes came true.
I had either wished for too much or was too obsessed.
Luo Yuchen would definitely not do something so superstitious like pray to god. Whenever I came back refreshed from the various temples, he was usually still asleep.
People always said that one should be hardworking on the first day of a new year so that you would have a good start to the year. However, Luo Yuchen never cared.
But he was different this year. He actually woke up around five in the morning. For the ten years I have been with him, he had never woken up so early unless he had a flight.
No wonder he slept so early yesterday.
I thought that he wanted to pick up Xia Mingxiu at the airport. But in the end, he went to the temple to pray just like the overly greedy me, the devotees, as well as the elders who had nothing to do.
He first went to the church, then the buddhist temple, taoist temple, and mosque. He practically visited all the places which had prayable gods. Regardless of which area of the world the god looked after, he prayed to all of them.
Every time he prayed, he mumbled quietly to himself. I wonder what special wish he had this year that needed him to be so serious and careful.
Nevertheless, I followed him throughout and prayed with him. I prayed that he will be happy and that his wish will come true.
Since I was a spirit, it might have been easier for the gods to hear me.
Just like that, he squeezed around with everyone at every major temple and church for the whole day. When he returned home that night, he was exhausted.
Xia Mingxiu was already back.
Luo Yuchen was stunned when he saw him. Then, he smiled apologetically.
Naturally, Xia Mingxiu didn’t fuss about it since he had a higher tolerance than me.
He didn’t even ask where Luo Yuchen had gone for the whole day. Instead, when Luo Yuchen went to bathe, Xia Mingxiu helped tidy the coat he threw onto the sofa. While he was tidying, a bunch of talismans fell out of the pocket.
I only just realised that they were all protective talismans.
I stared blankly at them. Back when Xia Mingxiu was sick, he seemed to have done something similar as well.
At that time, I followed him from one temple to another and burned many incense.
He never believed in ghosts or gods and was not a devotee. Did he really think it would work if he started now?
Even so, I still felt moved and sorrowful when I saw the talismans.
Xia Mingxiu’s expression looked strange. He stared blankly at the talismans for a good while. Then, he smiled for some time before crying.
I didn’t expect him to cry. For a moment, I didn’t know why he was crying. However, after thinking for a bit, I understood. Although Xia Mingxiu didn’t display his jealousy, it didn’t mean he wasn’t upset when Luo Yuchen thought about me.
Although he appeared unbothered, he still liked Luo Yuchen. He may not be holding onto Luo Yuchen pitifully like I did, but that didn’t mean that his love for Luo Yuchen was any less than mine. He just expressed his love differently from me.
I couldn’t help but be shocked by his endurance and perseverance.
I mocked him. What’s the point of having endurance and perseverance? Luo Yuchen was precisely taking advantage of your endurance and making use of your perseverance. The more you force yourself to smile, the more he would wantonly take advantage of you.
Luo Yuchen had always been like this, and I always knew.
However, I was also impressed by how great Xia Mingxiu was.
My feelings for Luo Yuchen were definitely not less than Xia Mingxiu’s. However, Xia Mingxiu had many things I didn’t have.
It was so hard to let go of the person you love. Just how was Xia Mingxiu able to do it? I was not able to make such sacrifices. It had already been ten years. I tried all that I could to let go of Luo Yuchen, but I never succeeded.
I wasn’t sure if Xia Mingxiu’s love was the so called “selfless love”, but I knew that I could never achieve it. I couldn’t let go. A pleasant way to explain my suicide would be to let Luo Yuchen be happy. However, to say it bluntly, I was just unable to let him go, so I chose that method to end it once and for all.
Xia Mingxiu clearly didn’t understand Luo Yuchen well enough. Either that, or he was just foolish like me, choosing to endure everything. Before Luo Yuchen came out, he wiped away his tears and acted like nothing ever happened.
Holding a bunch of protective talismans in his hand, he focused on the awkward-looking Luo Yuchen who came out of the bathroom, mockery filling his gaze.
He asked, “Have you finally figured out the question I asked you before I moved in?”
Figured out what?
I wasn’t sure what question Xia Mingxiu asked, but Luo Yuchen was clearly angered. However, it seemed like he was just faking it. He sat beside Xia Mingxiu and stared at him, an ugly expression etched onto his face for a while, before he sighed and smiled in relief.
He then asked curiously, “How did you know back then?”
“Please, it was so obvious!” Xia Mingxiu clicked his tongue without care. Smiling proudly, he said, “You clearly didn’t know when you fell for him. You were unable to put down your pride, and you were not willing to admit it, so you changed to another method. You bullied him and felt happy seeing him sad. What kind of moral is that!”
This “him” couldn’t possibly be me right?
“…In this world, only Xiao Heng would be so obstinate.” Xia Mingxiu heaved a heavy sigh and continued, “He stayed so devoted even though he was so badly abused by you. The two of you really are a perfect match.”
If it was Xiao Heng, then that would be me.
Not only did Luo Yuchen not rebuke, he even smiled approvingly in embarrassment.
Xia Mingxiu said with a smile that Luo Yuchen liked me. Luo Yuchen smiled in agreement.
Looking at them, I felt like I was in a dream and nothing was real.
I was having a very absurd and ridiculous dream and was very close to laughing myself awake.
What was this? Luo Yuchen had come to like me so easily?
The infinite number of prayers and wishes I made when I was alive finally came true, but why did it come true this way?
I didn’t understand. Three months ago, he had forced me to move away so coldly and unkindly and was so close to Xia Mingxiu in front of me. Two months ago, he also forbade Xia Mingxiu from bringing me up. He loathed me so much he burnt all my photos. Now, he was suddenly saying that he liked me?
What was “like”? What kind of “like” was that? Your definition of like was to force me onto the path of no return?
Luo Yuchen could hate me, loathe me, despise me, and look at me in disdain. Although I didn’t sin greatly, I did force him to like me. I was the one who wronged him first. However, he cannot like me. If he actually returned even a tiny fraction of my feelings for him, he was the Ten Evils.
God knew how much I suffered during the ten years I was by his side.
God knew how much mistreatment and pain I endured. Every day, I was tortured by him both physically and mentally. Every day, I humbly begged for that little scrap of his pity and attention.
For ten years, I lived quietly by his side and slowly died in the silence. During our final days together, I was anxious every day. Almost every morning when I woke up, the first thought I had was that I wanted to die.
Now that I thought back, I wonder if I had depression.
Anyway, I was held captive by something called Luo Yuchen. He was like a swamp, invading me with despair in the darkness, slowly drowning me.
He could neither see nor hear me no matter how much I cried and begged for his help and forgiveness.
He had no idea how much bitterness and despair I had to endure.
After all of that cruelty, he had no right to say that he loved me.
He could not say that he loved me now.
Sending charcoal on a snowing day – Charcoal can be burnt to provide warmth. This means to help in one’s hour of need.