Our love story
In fact, Zhang Xu and I were indeed childhood friends. We had a good relationship in school. Even though there was no deep love, with the onset of puberty, it was quite natural to have ‘revolutionary’ feelings. With the surge of hormones in puberty, Brother Zhang suddenly started looking very pleasing to the eyes. Now when I think about it, at that time , I was more interested in the idea of falling in love than the actual thing.
Later, things started going south, At the beginning, no one suspected a thing since it was normal for us to be together. However his mother was one weakness that Zhang Xu had. He valued and obeyed his mother even more than the teacher. When the two of us had a slight argument in school, even the teacher scolded us. That didn’t really bother him. But when his mother said the same things, the kid was completely scared. What could I, the little girl do ?
I decided to endure it. Everyone would be free after the college entrance exams .. this is what Brother Zhang had told me. When I heard this, my heart dropped. I thought this was an indication that he would confess his love for me after the exams. How romantic! Unfortunately, in the evening of the exams, I was still waiting for those words.
“ My mom won’t let me be with you, She said that our destinations in life are very different.”
This was a clean rejection. After a few days, my father heard some gossip in Zhang Sanye’s group. The message seemed to be that Zhang Xu’s mother suspected my grades were poor. She wanted her daughter in law to be from the same university as Zhang Xu, and I would not fit the bill.
To sum it all up, I wasn’t good enough for him
I was so upset that I went up to Zhang Xu and asked him if this was true. He stood silent for a long time before utterin one word – sorry.
Not long after that, the headmaster and the village head came with a bunch of people to our house with flowers. If I hadn’t done so well, Zhang Xu would be the best scorer in the county. He managed a place in a university in B city as well, but that was not as famous as ours.
Later, in B city, Brother Zhang contacted me and asked if I would like to hang out with him, but I was enamoured with Lu Zijian at that time and didn’t agree.
I narrated all this to Zhong Yuan and finally said, “ I didn’t expect you to be interested in gossip.”
Zhong Yuan frowned. “ This is not gossip. You keep calling him Brother Zhang, Brother Zhang…why don’t you call me Brother Zhong Yuan?”
I blandly replied, “ I am used to calling him that for the last ten years. I cant change overnight!”
“ You better change “, he replied, “ I am getting a toothache .”
I groaned and said, “ Zhong Yuan, look! I told you all about Zhang Xu and me, why don’t you tell me your love story as well? I am sure you must have a lot of these experiences, so just choose the most important ones so you can remember the names.”
Zhong Yuan pondered for a while and relied, “ I used to like a girl. Her father and mine were good friends and we had been friends since children.”
I nodded, “ Then?”
Zhong Yuan signed heavily, “ Since she broke my arm, I have never thought about her again.”
I was speechless. I wiped the sweat on my forehead and patted his shoulder in sympathy, but my heart was dark. Were where you little girl, when Zhong Yuan was abusing me ? God didn’t even blink!
Zhong Yuan suddenly looked up and smiled at me. “You are actually very happy, right?”
I waved, “ How is that possible? Am I such a person? Don’t talk about such unpleasant memories. Let’s talk about something nice, like your first love? The second spring? The third and fourth time? What about the sixth or seventh?”
Zhong Yuan smiled, “ Do you think I have been so active ?”
“ Ofcourse! Ah..no..I mean.. you are so attractive! Ha ha!”
“ True”, Zhong Yuan raised is eyebrows and smiled widely, “ but I don’t seem to have a first love.”
I gulped incredulously, “ No?”
Zhong Yuan answered, “ Yes. I am not like you.”
Such a person cant even talk about love ? The world was really strange..
Zhong Yuan lived in my house for a few days and he made no attempts to sightsee. I found that strange and asked why. He replied, “ I am just taking a break for a few days. Tomorrow, you can accompany me to watch the sunrise.”
I had really asked for it!
The next morning, when Zhong Yuan knocked on my door, I squinted my eyes to look at the clock. It was only four o’ clock. So I ignored him and went to sleep. Who would have thought that this kid would start shouting, “ If you don’t get out of bed, I will come in and drag you out!”
I grabbed my one inch hair and replied, “ Don’t come in, I sleep without clothes.”
It was hot that summer, so I just slept in the buff at night. It was more comfortable. I quickly grabbed my clothes and dressed quickly, then opened the door.
Zhong Yuan stood at the door and looked stunned. I reached out and shook him, “ What are you thinking of?”
His face turned a dull red and he shifted his eyes from me. “ Nothing..just.. you seem to have put on your clothes wrong.”
I closed and door and calmly readjusted my clothes. It wasn’t as if this was the first embarrassing thing I had done in front of Zhong Yuan. This was hardly a shameful incident.
After washing up, I started complaining that I was hungry. He immediately popped a lollipop in my mouth. I was amazed, how was this guy’s suitcase ever more miraculous than Doraemon’s pocket! But the sweet taste of the lollipop made me happy.
I walked down the field with Zhong Yuan. The morning air was fresh and all kinds of birds were chirping. Dew drops shone like crystal on the leaves of plants , and when I touched them, the drops slid down. The narrow path we followed was dotted with small wildflowers of various colors, making a pretty picture.
Zhong Yuan breathed deeply and said with satisfaction, “ Great!”
“ Of course it is!” I looked up proudly. It wasn’t easy to win Zhong Yuan’s praise.
Just at that moment, our village beauty Xioaman was passing by in a bicycle. She held the handle with one hand, while smoothing her hair with another, apparently getting ready to work in the fields. Xioaman had always been a hardworking girl. My father often praised her. He said whoever married her would be a very lucky gentleman.
I looked at Xiaoman’s back and said to Zhong Yuan, “ She is the village beauty. What do you think?”
Zhong Zhuang looked at her and nodded, “ Yes, she’s more handsome than I.”
I looked at him in astonishment and said, “ You don’t understand normal beauty. You are poisoned with modern , artificial aesthetic.”
Xiaoman was really tall. In our village, people were healthy and beautiful. Once, even my name had been included in the list of candidates for viallge beauty, but had been eliminated because I was too thin.
When Zhong Yuan heard my sarcastic comments, surprisingly, he didn’t refute the fact. Instead he said, “ My aesthetic senses have undergone a metamorphosis, otherwise I would not…”
“ Would not what ?” I asked .
“ Forget it”, he replied. Then he smiled , “ I recall now that you like Lu Zijian. Is he healthy and a natural beauty too?”
I hesitated, then nodded. Although I was not used to discussing heart related matters with others, I didn’t feel uneasy discussing anything with Zhong Yuan. Anyway, we had both recited our respective love stories.
Zhong Yuan continued, “ Now that he belongs to someone else, are you sad?”
I shook my head. Then I said, “ I was a bit sad at first, but when I thought about it, I realised that my feelings for Lu Zijin were not really love. At most, it was an adulation, like he was my idol. Normal people would want intimate contact with their idols, but if they didn’t get it, they would not be disappointed. I haven’t heard of anyone who was heartbroken just because they could not get close to their idols. That’s what it was. Anyway, Lu Zijian is now Miss Fourth’s , and the fertiliser didn’t flow outside the field.”
Zhong Yuan took in a long breath and said , “ I see that my fears were unwarranted.”
I looked at him and smiled, “ What were you worried about ?”
Zhong Yuan smiled faintly, “ I was worried that you’d end up doing something stupid.”
I shook my head and said, “ Do you think I’m stupid?
Zhong Yuan replied, “You do stupid things every day.” I was speechless.
We were sitting on a high mound. Behind it was a field of sweet potatoes, and in the front, some other crops were planted. At the end of the field, a red sun started rising. I remember , when I was young, my Chinese Teachers would often ask us to describe the scenery of a sunrise. I would always write that the sun looked like the yolk of a salted duck egg…
The clouds around the sun were painted with a touch of gold. They had strange shapes. I was gazing at the peaceful sunrise in front of me, but my heart was roiling with emotions. Finally, I could no longer resist the urge and asked Zhong Yuan, “ You have been in my home for so many days.Why did you not ask about my mother ? “
Zhong Yuan’s looked at me quietly for a while, then bowed his head and said, “ Uncle told me.”
I muttered , “ My dad really doesn’t treat you as an outsider.”
Zhong Yuan raised his head and smiled, “ Yes.”
So we continued to watch the sunrise. Zhong Yuan gently patted my shoulder but said nothing. I pursed my lips and kept quiet. In fact, as far as I was concerned, I had suffered no loss just because I had no mother. I had a great father.
That day, our school classmates had arranged a reunion. I asked Zhong Yuan to stay at home and I went out alone. At the bus station,unfortunately, I met Zhang Xu brother. Well, there was only one bus every hour from my village to the county , so it was quite normal for all of us to sit in the same bus. So we sat happily together and gossiped all the way.
You would expect me to treat Zhang Xu like an enemy. But I was not feeling uncomfortable with him. It was he who looked like a miserable wife. This really surprised me. What had blinded me that I had been unable to see his true persona? Now , I felt like my eyes were opened. He was not even as good as Zhong Yuan. Although Zhong Yuan, that kid was bad, but he also had something simple and refreshing about him ( Miumiu – Aha! Some feelings arising in our FL ?)
So there was good in everyone.Look at Zhong Yuan, he had some shortcomings, but also a few good points..
Strangely, as I thought of him, there were some inexplicable feelings in my mind. Was I suffering from Stockholm syndrome?
The class reunion was nothing but eating and drinking. I was sick during the winter gathering, so I hadn’t come. This was the first time I had met my classmates after graduating. Some of our high school teachers were also invited. Zhang Xu and other successful students were seated on the same table as the teachers. Of course, after my exceptional results in the university examination, I was also among the successful students.
The place where we gathered was a large hall with no private rooms. As I bit into my chicken wings, I looked up and saw a familiar figure not far away from me. Suddenly, I broke out in a cold sweat. This devilish smile, this cool look…..
I sighed and looked at Zhong Yuan, still stunned…