After Shi Yan hung up on He Nuo, his mind was in a mess. He appeared to be furious throughout the entire weekend. When He Nuo called him, it should have been to express his apologies and his hopes to make up right? But the moment Shi Yan thought of how He Nuo had let him down and deceived him, he would think that he was being truly pathetic this time. Even when his buddies asked him about what had happened out of curiosity, he was too ashamed to tell them the reason. Then he thought again about how he had said to himself before that if he looked for him again, then he would be his f.u.c.king grandson. Shi Yan stood in front of the mirror and told the person inside: you don’t f.u.c.king know who he is! It doesn’t matter if he admits it or not; Shi Yan felt hurt, and this pain had been inflicted on him by his own friend.
During the flag raising ceremony every Monday morning, Shi Yan couldn’t help but look towards the liberal arts cla.s.s. He wasn’t there. He wasn’t on duty during Mondays though, Shi Yan remembers that He Nuo seemed to be on duty on Wednesdays. During the first period, Shi Yan pretended not to care as he walked by the liberal arts cla.s.s a few times. But he never saw that person. When he ensured that he hadn’t even missed a mosquito that flew out of the liberal arts cla.s.s during the second period’s break, he stopped a schoolmate to ask about about He Nuo1. The schoolmate told Shi yan that their form teacher was asking about He Nuo too who neither came to school nor applied for a leave of absence.
Shi Yan couldn’t help but wonder why he didn’t attend school. Someone like He Nuo probably wouldn’t come to school only if he was so sick that he couldn’t climb out of bed. When he returned after going to the toilet, he heard a familiar voice call out to him, and when he turned around he saw that it really was him. Hng, isn’t he alive and kicking? And to even think that I thought he was sick. Can’t believe I was deceived by him again, he can even play truant now. Shi Yan was mad for worrying so unnecessarily.
He Nuo sneaked out of his house after his parents went to work and his younger brothers went to school. When he arrived at school, he waited at the bike shed of Cla.s.s 2 outside the teaching building (each cla.s.s had their own designated bike sheds so that it’s easier to manage). It wasn’t easy for him to finally spot Shi Yan, so He Nuo quickly called out to him. When Shi Yan looked in his direction, he frowned before he turned back to chat with his buddies as they walked away. He Nuo approached him, “Shi Yan.”
Shi Yan turned around and said impatiently as he disdainfully jerked his chin, “Well aren’t you cheap? Why do you keep sucking up to me?!”
“Un, no, your books……” He Nuo suppressed his panic as he felt ashamed of his own shamelessness.
“Do you have no f.u.c.king ears, Laozi doesn’t want……” Shi Yan interrupted He Nuo and had already begun to curse at him, but when he saw his face he stopped abruptly. Just now, he couldn’t bother to look at him properly, but when he stared at him up close he could tell that He Nuo’s face was slightly swollen. Shi Yan narrowed his eyes, then gritted his teeth, “Who did it?”
“?” He Nuo saw that he wasn’t scolding him anymore, so he continued to say, “I have to trouble you to come to my house once when you have the time, those books,” He casted a glance at Shi Yan, “those books are in good condition, they’re still new. After I return them to you, you can read them in your spare time.”
But he only saw Shi Yan stare at him without saying a single word. He Nuo gulped, “It doesn’t have to be today, un, you can just come when you have the time.”
Shi Yan fished out his bike’s keys from his pocket, then bent over to unlock his bike. He turned around and said to his buddies, “I won’t be attending the next two cla.s.ses, help me apply for leave.” He pushed his bike away and when he saw that person stand rooted to the spot even though he had already taken a few steps, he scolded angrily, “Aren’t you gonna f.u.c.king get over here?!”
He Nuo hurried over. Shi Yan got on his bike, and He Nuo sat at the back. After Shi Yan rode his bike out of their campus, he raced towards the field — their usual place. He stomped one foot on the ground, He Nuo dismounted, then Shi Yan threw his bike aside and sat down by the field. The clear skies from that day now looked like a blanket of gold, and wheat had even stacked up in some places. He Nuo walked over to sit down by Shi Yan’s side. He looked out into the distance, and would turn around to look at Shi Yan once in awhile as if he wanted to say something, but would always end up faltering and remain silent.
Shi Yan quietly watched the fruits of the golden autumn season. When he looked at He Nuo again, his expression had already turned serene, “If you want to return the books to me, why didn’t you bring them to school today to return them to me? Why do I have to go to your house?”
“Those books are new and expensive, my parents are afraid that I didn’t borrow them. So……” He Nuo was thinking of how to phrase it.
“So you want me to go there to prove it!”
“Un.” He Nuo nodded.
“What if I don’t go?”
“?” He Nuo seemed to implore, “You don’t need to go today if you don’t want to, but can you go just once in the future? I’ll pa.s.s the books to you and won’t cause you anymore trouble.”
“Will you get beaten if I don’t go?” Shi Yan’s eyes were filled with disdain.
He Nuo hesitated. He knew that Shi Yan could already tell, so he nodded.[email protected]@@@[email protected]@@@@=======
“I won’t go, you can slowly enjoy it.”
“!” He Nuo opened his mouth without making a single sound.
“Why should I testify for you? What’s our relationship? Are we friends?”
“We’re, we’re,” He Nuo did think that Shi Yan was his friend, but he couldn’t impose his own will onto Shi Yan…especially when he was the one who had ruined their friendship. He Nuo’s swollen face turned red, then he stammered, “I’m, I’m sorry, for causing you to skip cla.s.s. Cla.s.ses aren’t over yet, hurry and go back……”
Shi Yan didn’t say anything and just gave him a mocking look. He Nuo couldn’t continue any further, so he said in dismay, “I’ll go off first.”
Shi Yan kept smiling as he looked at his thin, receding figure. It was extremely cathartic for him to watch He Nuo flee in defeat. But the moment He Nuo’s figure disappeared around the corner, his smile disappeared along with it. He jumped onto his bike and rode it to chase He Nuo. When he turned the corner and saw him, he realised that no, he isn’t on his way home, he’s heading in another direction. Shi Yan followed him and saw him enter the People’s Hospital (the largest hospital). After he parked his bike he went in to look for him. He Nuo wasn’t at the registration counter or the pharmacy. Shi Yan walked along the corridor and past the clinic rooms, but he still couldn’t find him. When he pa.s.sed by the laboratory, there weren’t many people at the door and he didn’t see He Nuo at first glance. When he decided to return, he turned around and saw He Nuo sitting on a bench opposite the laboratory with his head hung low. There was no one else at that side, He Nuo was the only one there in the other half of the corridor.
Shi Yan raised his head and saw the huge, bright red letters on the gla.s.s door: Blood Bank. Shi Yan’s heart twisted, and it twisted to the point of asphyxiation. He was just about to walk over when the door opened and a female physician adorned in a white coat walked out. He saw He Nuo call out to the physician and talk to her with a blush that reached his ears. Surprise flashed through the physician’s eyes, then she shook her head to tell He Nuo something before she left. He Nuo hung his head low for a moment, then turned around and recoiled in astonishment when he saw the person who was facing him. He avoided Shi Yan’s gaze, and the blush that had faded flooded his cheeks again.
1. Author’s footnote: Because of the flag raising ceremony on Monday mornings, the morning exercise breaks after second period will be cancelled. So the break after second period is a little longer.?