The He Nuo who had just started his holiday didn’t have time to relax, he had a new job – to babysit. His eldest brother’s son was already three years old. Usually, he would be sent to a nursery, but since He Nuo was having his holidays, his nephew was sent back home for He Nuo to babysit in order to save a month’s worth of nursery fees. They can’t help it, his eldest brother and eldest sister-in-law didn’t have very high incomes, so they had to scrimp and save whenever they could.
Luckily, He Nuo didn’t think of babysitting as a ch.o.r.e, his nephew was extremely fond of him because this uncle of his would tell him many stories and was never fierce towards him. A child’s innocent heart is actually the most sensitive, they had no complex emotions, so they could clearly discern people’s true and hypocritical faces. Every morning, He Nuo would go to his eldest brother’s house to bring him to his house, then fetch him back home after dinner.
The Shi Yan who had gone with his father to Hai Nan to play for awhile had returned. He had bathed enough in the sea and his body was glowing like the sun. He had just gotten home when he received a call from those sworn brothers of his, they invited him out for a gathering the next day. Shi Yan opened his luggage, inside his luggage laid a pile of local specialties from Hai Nan. There were all kinds of food and toys as he rummaged through them. He carefully took out a bag that was wrapped up tightly, then unwrapped the layers of protective bubble wrap around it, and what appeared before his eyes was a beautiful, flawless conch sh.e.l.l.
The conch sh.e.l.l was about the size of Shi Yan’s hand. Underneath the light, it shone with a pearl-like l.u.s.tre. The entire conch was pure white, and its body was covered in wavy ripples that were formed from the continuous bombardment of the ocean waves. The moment Shi Yan saw this thousand layer buddha’s hand conch1, he immediately thought of one person, and thought that that person was very compatible with the conch. Shi Yan opened the conch sh.e.l.l, then picked out some coconut sweets, coconut chips and coconut silk to place in the conch.
This conch sh.e.l.l had already been placed on the table for a few days, and Shi Yan was currently looking at it with a headache as he thought of how he could send it out. Go and find him directly? Shi Yan wasn’t an idiot, He Nuo isn’t like the others who think of being friends with himself as an honour, that guy doesn’t even want to have any form of contact with him. The way He Nuo treats him couldn’t even be thought of as a calm friendship between gentlemen2. But in a spur of the moment, he bought it in Hai Nan without considering whether or not the other party would accept it. Shi Yan rarely took the initiative to give other people presents, usually he was on the receiving end. If he was the one giving the present, others would even fight over it; but he wasn’t confident when it came to He Nuo, that guy could actually reject him blatantly in the face with no room for discussion.
Shi Yan jumped out of bed, grabbed the conch sh.e.l.l and left. f.u.c.k it, Laozi isn’t so cheap, I have better things to do. Shi Yan indignantly hopped on his bicycle and planned to go find the girl who had recently been “hara.s.sing” him frequently over the phone. But as he cycled and cycled, he turned into another street. When he reached that row of single-storey houses, he got off his bike and was about to knock when he lifted his head and saw that person walking over.
He Nuo had sent his nephew back and was on his way home, he was also surprised to see Shi Yan in front of his house.
“You came to find me?”
“You don’t say? Take this!” Shi Yan tried to use his rough att.i.tude to cover up his discomfort as he handed the present in his hands over.
“What’s this?” He Nuo didn’t take it and asked Shi Yan a question instead.
“I brought it back from Hai Nan.”
“Thank you, I don’t want it.”
This was exactly what Shi Yan had expected, or rather what he had known would happen. Shi Yan didn’t really feel like flaring up. He shrugged as the edges of his mouth twitched, “Up to you, if you don’t like it then throw it away.” He stuffed his present into He Nuo’s arms, got on his bike and left.
He Nuo didn’t understand what was up with Shi Yan? Why would he give him a present?!
He didn’t know where Shi Yan lived either, so he carefully set aside his nicely packaged present, and thought that he would return it to Shi Yan when the new school term starts.
During the weekend, He Nuo’s whole family (his brothers who were studying in university had also returned) took turns to bathe, He Nuo was at the end of the queue. The gas tank was empty, so he took half of his bath with hot water, and the other half with cold water. As a result, it hadn’t even been two hours when he had to make several trips to the toilet while sneezing non-stop – his symptoms of frequent urination and blood urine had appeared again. In the hot summer, He Nuo’s tears and snot was wreaking havoc on him together, he had actually come down with a cold and fever.
He Nuo ate some flu medication he found in his home, and even took out the Yunnan Baiyao and other anti-inflammatory medicine that Shi Yan had given him in the middle of the night. In any case, he had just eaten any medicine that he thought could help. He knew that medicine was also partly poisonous, but when he was faced with the kind of pain that made him wish he were dead, he couldn’t care about anything else anymore. As long as he didn’t have to endure the pain in his urethra or the heat of his 40 degree fever, he was even willing to align himself with the revolutionary martyrs.
A night of torment pa.s.sed, He Nuo had been drenched in cold sweat throughout. But luckily, even though he still had to go to the toilet non-stop, his urine was no longer red in colour, so the acute pain that he had felt would dull. For the He Nuo who was used to tolerance, this kind of pain was nothing to him.
In the morning, he still went to fetch his nephew, then brought his nephew back after dinner. He had just left his house when he saw Shi Yan. Originally, Shi Yan wanted to see if He Nuo liked his thousand layer buddha’s hand conch gift. However, what he saw was a He Nuo whose face was slightly flushed and was sneezing relentlessly. When he saw that He Nuo still wanted to send the kid back, Shi Yan carried the kid onto his bike and accompanied He Nuo to his destination.
He Nuo barely got a wink of sleep the night before, and today he had to take care of his little nephew. Right now, he really felt weak, his whole body felt like collapsing and his legs were unstable. So he could only follow along at a side, he didn’t have the energy to play with his nephew. On the other hand, Shi Yan actually managed a conversation with the little guy the whole way, and often teased the little one into giggling. Meanwhile, He Nuo constantly blew his nose and sneezed at the back. Shi Yan would turn around once in awhile and look at He Nuo with a frown.
1. Buddha’s hand: The author had provided a picture of the conch sh.e.l.l somewhere…but I can’t find it ;-;?
2. Ok so this was a Chinese phrase that described the friendship between two gentlemen whom didn’t need much talk with each other to know that they were friends. Imagine two scholarly-looking guys with friendship that was as “calm as a lake”, like they didn’t need to interact much to be considered friends. But to Shi Yan right now their friendship couldn’t even be compared to that LOL He Nuo’s just like not talking to him cuz he doesn’t even wanna be friends :’)))?