He Nuo wandered all the way home before he ate what Qiu Linsong had bought for him. It’s not that he wasn’t hungry; but under the kind of situation where it was difficult to even turn around, if he had taken out his bread in the coach and began to chew on it, there was a high chance of it flying into other people’s mouth. Thus, he could only endure it until he got home, and he didn’t forget to consume the Apollo and Royal Jelly either. He had delivered Shi Yan’s savings to him, but He Nuo continued to consume the nutritional products that he had brought over as usual. Shi Yan had never cut off this supply.
During the past week, He Nuo’s heart had actually been consumed by exhaustion; he tried to stabilise himself mentally, but his body wouldn’t listen. He was really afraid that his hematuria would relapse, but unexpectedly, his body was holding up pretty well and didn’t hinder him. Looks like Shi Yan’s nutritional products were quite effective.
After classes ended on a Monday afternoon, Shi Yan and the rest returned to their dorm, then those getting food split up as they went their separate ways. They weren’t like the other students who would eat in the canteen before going back to their dorms. Instead, 3 or 4 people would go out to get everyone’s meals, then they would sit in their dorms and chat as they ate. Almost everyone had extra vacuum-packed food that their parents had sent over to serve as their side dishes.
Shi Yan walked over to take it. Wang Feng handed it to him, but when he stretched his hand out he quickly retracted it when he saw the name in the middle of the envelope, “It’s Ah Song’s (Qiu Linsong)! He Nuo wrote a letter to Ah Song?!!”
Wang Feng felt puzzled. Although the people in their circle had an okay relationship with He Nuo — especially Qiu Linsong who had been in contact with He Nuo more often because of the infusions, but to be close to the point of exchanging letters? It still seemed a bit off, mainly because He Nuo wasn’t the type to take such an initiative. If you wanted to be friends with He Nuo, it wasn’t enough if you treated him well one-sidedly. He Nuo might look gentle and innocent on the outside, but he had set up a barrier around him; if he doesn’t open up that layer of protective film to accept an outsider, no one would be able to walk into it.
When Shi Yan saw the familiar handwriting on that envelope, he was absolutely certain that He Nuo had written it. He wasn’t the only one who could recognise He Nuo’s handwriting, all of his friends could too, and almost everyone in their high school cohort could recognise it as well — someone who was as gentle and kind as jade possessed a handwriting that looked like it could dominate the world. Many graduates in their year had asked He Nuo to help them copy the preface of their Graduation Message Book, all because his words were too suitable for a student who was about to enter college: “Run unbridledly through the four seas, the eagles are taking to the skies.”
Shi Yan had been curious before, how did he manage to write in such a way without any practice? And why were the words so incompatible with its writer — it was so unlike He Nuo’s personality. He still remembered He Nuo’s answer, “Words don’t come from one’s form, but the heart.” And his explanation to Shi Yan was: your characters have nothing to do with your appearance or personality; if this reason holds, then wouldn’t beautiful people have brushwork as gorgeous as Suzhou’s embroidery, and ugly people have words that look like the marks made by a struggling fly after it fell into a fountain pen’s ink bottle?
He Nuo thought that writing words was like writing your heart down, which was why his characters came from his heart. He had never formally practiced running scripts, regular scripts and the like1, but whenever he saw a word, he would have already thought about how to write it so that it would look its best. Afterwards, he would be able to use his hands to turn his imagination into reality. When your heart and hands are connected, writing your heart down would turn into a pleasurable activity. Because words are first outlined in the heart, so if the heart has a ravine, then your words would have a ravine; if your heart has a sea in it, then your words would also contain the sea.
And it was exactly because of He Nuo’s unique handwriting that Shi Yan and Wang Feng firmly believed that it was his letter without a doubt. Moreover, the address written below was that of their high school alma mater. Wang Feng wondered as he walked upstairs. A guess surfaced in his mind, and he felt that his guess was absolutely correct, so he chased up to Shi Yan with large strides, “San Ge, you’re fighting with He Nuo?”
“What do you mean?”
“He Nuo is asking Ah Song for help?ba.” Wang Feng flicked the letter.
When Qiu Linsong took the letter after he returned, he wasn’t in a hurry to open it. He merely smiled as he praised, “He Nuo’s words look really confident and strong, how did he get a hand like that? The moment I saw his words, I thought of the Hukou Waterfall.” (another beneficiary of travels done at public expense)
Wang Feng scolded, “Just hurry up and eat, do you think you’re the only one who’s seen his words?”
Shi Yan has always been mindful of Qiu Linsong. He wondered in his heart:?why doesn’t Ah Song think it’s strange to receive He Nuo’s letter, and he isn’t even surprised either? According to the date on the letter, it should’ve been mailed on Saturday morning. Did He Nuo tell him about the letter yesterday? And according to what Wang Feng said, if He Nuo intended to look for Ah Song to assist him in our reconciliation, then he wouldn’t have returned all the money back to me yesterday??Shi Yan had counted the money; there wasn’t a single cent missing from the 1000 yuan that he had passed to He Nuo before.
While he carried all these doubts in his heart, Shi Yan always consciously or unconsciously noticed Ah Song’s actions. When it was time for their afternoon lessons, Qiu Linsong then brought his unopened letter from He Nuo to class. He was in the same department as Shi Yan, but they had different majors, so they didn’t take lessons together in the afternoon. Before dinner, Qiu Linsong took an envelope out and placed a stamp on it. Shi Yan walked by the table to take a cup and saw that the envelope had He Nuo’s name on it. After Qiu Linsong finished pasting the stamp, he went out to mail it.
At night, Shi Yan refused Bei Gege’s invitation and didn’t go out, but he didn’t stay in the dorm to play poker with the rest. He was waiting — waiting for Qiu Linsong. If He Nuo had asked Qiu Linsong for help, then Ah Song would definitely try to persuade him. But what made Shi Yan dizzy was how Ah Song actually happily played poker with the rest . When he intentionally stood next to him to look at his cards, Qiu Linsong actually pulled him down to ask him to act as his consultant.
After the lights went out, Shi Yan couldn’t figure out the contents of He Nuo’s letter to Ah Song. Apart from him, what other link could they share? Was there anything else they needed to communicate? All sorts of ridiculous ideas appeared after that, but the most normal one still had to do with him. But he had personally come over to sever ties before, so it was impossible for him to ask Ah Song for help? Or did Ah Song get overly excited from playing that he had forgotten He Nuo’s request? That bastard actually only remembered how to play!
On Tuesday, Shi Yan planned to sit next to Ah Song for lunch. But it was mere wishful thinking on his part — he had just sat down when Wang Feng walked in with a letter as he shouted, “Ah Song, your Hukou Waterfall!”
“You’re the fucking Huangguoshu2……”
“Hehe, weren’t you the one who said this guy reminds you of Hukou Waterfall?”
Shi Yan stared as Ah Song took the letter and didn’t open it up again, and instead placed it within his files. After their classes ended, Ah Song stuck a stamp on yet another envelope. Shi Yan stood by the window as he watched him drop the letter into a mailbox outside their college.
On Wednesday, the same plot repeated. Shi Yan counted — this letter should have been mailed out a week ago. Since He Nuo had already severed all ties with him, why would he still write letters to his friend? And one letter per day? Even when he was his lover, He Nuo would only write him one letter every two weeks, what right did “Songzi” (he had demoted Ah Song to Songzi) have to receive his letter everyday? What kind of relationship could they have for him to write to him everyday? It’s not like they’re together!
No, a loud boom exploded in Shi Yan’s head. “Not like they’re together?!” Then what if they are? Shi Yan broke out in cold sweat. A voice told him that such a ridiculous matter was impossible, while another voice questioned him, if they weren’t dating, then who would have the motivation to write letters every single day? When he saw Songzi’s mail again, Shi Yan angrily went out with the Bei Gege who had come to look for him. He didn’t have a very restful sleep tonight. When he woke up in the morning, he left without telling the Bei Gege who was sleeping on the sofa.
On Thursday noon, Shi Yan strode back after his class and collected the letters for his dorm, and he did find that damn handwriting on the letter that was addressed to that damn Songzi. Shi Yan tore the letter open, yanked the letter paper out and unfolded it. If Shi Yan had horns, then right now they must be as sharp as sharp can be; his teeth shattered, his eyes cracked, and the fire in Shi Yan’s eyes raged as it burned furiously!